Derbyshire Dales counsellor retires after 25 years of leading vital mental health services

A counsellor who has cared for the mental health of hundreds children, young people and adults in the Derbyshire Dales has retired after a quarter of a century of service.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 3:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 3:15 pm

Menna Yarwood joined Derwent Rural Counselling Service (DRCS) in 1996 and, as clinical lead in later years, has helped it become the county’s largest provider of counselling with short waiting times and recovery rates above the national average.

She intends to spend her retirement with husband Jack on trips to her native Wales, and is planning to spend more time with extended family and her garden.

Menna, who lives in Sheffield, said: “What I have enjoyed most is seeing DRCS grow as a charity and organisation, and helping people access support, who genuinely had nowhere else to go. We have learned not to be risk adverse and to drive the organisation forward all the time.”

Menna Yarwood, centre, with colleagues Kim Heappey, left, and Janette Smeeton.

She added: “I have received many lovely farewell messages from so many people. It has been overwhelming in many ways.

“I have always tried to help and do what I can for DRCS because I wanted to. I am very proud of DRCS and have great hopes for the future.”

Among her many valued contributions, Menna’s role was particularly significant in local delivery of the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

She was also crucial to a county-wide partnership which created a placement scheme offering counsellors the chance to gain valuable experience in the sector, which continue to this day at DRCS.

Janette Smeeton, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Menna has contributed more than 25 years of experience to DRCS, and her achievements will not be forgotten.

“She has an exceptional warmth for people which has provided invaluable support and care to many. We all wish her the best in her retirement.”

Chair of trustees Mark Serby added: “Menna has become a well-loved and appreciated member of the senior management team at DRCS. Her input, skills and care will be greatly missed.”

DRCS operates from bases across Derbyshire, including Bakewell and Matlock.

For more information about its services, go to

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