To discuss holding your wedding or any event at The Monastery, contact Kate or Fran to arrange a personal welcome tour.

Call 0161 223 3211 or email Kate or Fran now.

We would love you to visit us at The Monastery! You’ll be sure of a warm welcome, and we know you’ll enjoy the time you spend with us.

For more information, click here.

Keep up to date with the amazing array of events we hold all year around.

**The Monastery is open to the public Sunday-Thursday, 10am-4pm each week. Free entry & free parking. All are welcome! **

Free Counselling & Training

At Manchester Monastery

Free counselling in Manchester 

At the Sanctuary of Peace and Healing we offer free counselling and free listening sessions with qualified practitioners.

Counselling Service

If you need time to explore the nature of your difficulties and receive warm and compassionate support, you may feel that you would benefit from person centred counselling.

We have a team of dedicated, newly qualified counsellors completing their placement hours with us.  They are all trained to diploma or degree level, have personal insurance, are DBS checked, and have regular supervision.

All our counsellors adhere to the ethical framework and guidelines of the British Association of Counselling Psychotherapists (BABCP).

We offer up to 8 sessions of free counselling with our counsellors, who are available at different times through the week.

Click here to find out more information about person centred counselling from the British Association of Counselling Psychotherapists

In order for us to allocate you the most appropriate counsellor, it is necessary for you to complete a short assessment process. This is involves the completion of a short form and a brief telephone assessment interview.

If you’d like to book with us, please read through the terms and conditions of the counselling relationship here.

If you agree to these terms, please complete the booking form.


If you’d like to speak to somebody first then please email Kasia Johnson on

Listening Service

At the Listening Service we are committed to providing a safe, warm and loving space for people to have the opportunity to be unconditionally heard. We really understand and value the importance of this and know how essential it is to help us as a society, remain balanced and connected.  

If you wish to book an appointment with one of our listeners then please click on this link.  Appointments are available at 11am and 1pm each day Sunday to Thursday. You will receive an email confirmation and our terms and conditions upon booking.

What is the Listening Service at Manchester Monastery?

The Listening Service, part of The Monastery’s groundbreaking community programmewill be the home of specially trained volunteers who can bring a non-judgemental, respectful and generous ear to other people’s stories and truths.

How often do we try to share our stories or concerns with friends of families only to be told things like ‘pull yourself together’, or to be talked over by the other person & their problems? People already weighed down by their own difficulties, and finding nowhere to share these problems can make it really difficult to actually hear another persons’ plight. People we know may also have their own opinions or judgements about us or the situation we want to talk about. Therefore often, we are offered advice rather than support.   

In such a situation, we are not given the space or time needed to really process our emotions, nor to work through and come to terms with the event.  

That is where the Listening Service comes in.

The importance of being heard

Human connection and contact is essential for our emotional health and wellbeing. We all feel deep within us the instinctive and powerful need to be part of our communities and environment.

Biological need for connection

Nowhere else is this more acutely understood than in the needs of children and their biological need to be seen, valued and understood. Whether these deep needs are met or not in our childhoods, the biological impulse evolves into adulthood as we continue to seek out relationships and meaningful purpose in our environments. Research shows us that people who feel connected enjoy a better sense of self and health and are more likely to make valuable contributions to relationships & to the wider society.  (*)

Fear of rejection

For some people, these needs are not met in childhood and instead patterns of disappointment and low expectation lead to life-times of poor quality relationships and difficulty being seen. This can deepen a sense of loneliness and abandonment with fear of further rejection restricting our attempts to find a place to connect. 

Covid-19 & social isolation

In addition to the difficulties we already faced within our fast paced and wary society, the COVID-19 lockdown has forced many people into involuntary exile. Spending long periods of time alone and in isolation can for some lead to intense triggers of fear and disconnection and many people have been left in unprecedented circumstances of solitary confinement.  When we share in the presence of an attentive witness, we process our experiences.  

If you wish to book an appointment with one of our listeners then please click on this link.  Appointments are available at 11am and 1pm each day Sunday to Thursday.  You will receive an email confirmation and our terms and conditions upon booking.

Pollution of the mind

When difficult things happen to us, we often can’t make sense of it in the moment of its occurrence. Any dangerous or out of the ordinary experience becomes ‘stuck’ within the psyche and the memory becomes repressed in an unprocessed format. While lying in exile, the memory emits a fearful frequency accompanied by worrying thoughts.  This creates a sense of pollution of the mind (*) and becomes a distraction from happiness and wellbeing.   

An attentive witness

Being able to talk in the presence of an attentive witness provides the space that we need in order for the memory to become free again and for the content to be processed and resolved. If we don’t get the opportunity to do this, our memory banks become overwhelmed – and so do we. 

The most essential quality needed within this healing dynamic is non-judgemental connection from another person who can give you the time and space for you to explore your own account, feelings and beliefs. 

Manchester Counselling Training Centre affiliated 

In order to develop the highest quality of training and care, we have collaborated with Manchester Counselling Training Centre and are funding 45 training opportunities for volunteers to become Effective Listeners for our community. 

Accredited & approved training

This is a CPCAB accredited and BACP approved counselling module training delivered as a comprehensive course spanning 9 weeks.

Our next training programme beginning on 15 January 2022 is now full.

The next cohort will start in the summer of 2022.

Becoming a volunteer listener 

Please note: The January intake for new volunteers is now full. We’ll advertise again in autumn 2022 for the next round of training. Thank you!

At the Sanctuary we understand that the most fundamental need as a human is connection with others and that being witnessed is key to any healing process.  We recognise that for many people finding the right space to do this can be very difficult.  Often friends and family don’t really listen, and more importantly, might not receive the information with loving kindness and care.  Fear of judgement and difficulties with trust can be a huge obstacle to connection and healing.  We want to do all we can to provide safe, connective spaces for all our visitors and fill our Sanctuary space with trained, caring people who can be on hand to help.  

You do not need any prior experience as a counsellor or therapist.  We do not evaluate applicants on qualifications, although this role does require our volunteers to have the following qualities and traits. Applicants must be:

  • Wanting to make a difference to the world 
  • Feel naturally drawn to helping others 
  • Have a compassionate and non-judgemental attitude towards everyone 
  • Be forgiving in nature
  • Be willing to evaluate their own role and personal responsibility within all interactive dynamics 
  • Be willing to expand their own consciousness 
  • Be able to be part of a loving and supportive team of volunteers within the Sanctuary 
  • Have courage to hold space for people in distress and need 
  • Maintain high levels of confidentiality.

You will also be required to:

  • Complete DBS process (please ensure you have the correct documentation) 
  • Purchase your own insurance policy approx. £60  (some funding or part funding is available for unemployed or low waged applicants)
  • Commit to 50 hours voluntary work – attending 2 hours per week at the Sanctuary
  • Commit to additional training and supervision sessions over the proceeding year following completion of the training
  • Be committed to our extensive training programme and attend 95% of the content 
  • Be prepared to help out with additional support roles as required 
  • Be willing to adhere to the ethical framework of the BACP as set out in our volunteer policy handbook. 

The training involves an 8 week (2-hour) course provided by Alicia Mike at Manchester College Training Centre in the CAPCB approved module in Effective Listening.  Students receive a certificate on completion in effective listening and will have credits to attribute towards the diploma programme with MCTC as a personal option (self-funded).

Please note: The January intake for new volunteers is now full. We’ll advertise again in autumn 2022 for the next round of training. Thank you!

Sessions will run from 11.00am until 1pm each Saturday either at the Monastery or on-line via zoom and will last for 8 weeks. 

We have additional tutorial sessions starting Tuesday 18th January 7pm until 8pm on Zoom.  

You will also be required to attend an additional safeguarding training session (2 hours), risk assessment training (2 hours) and a one day workshop on skills based interventions – all these dates are to be confirmed.  

Get in touch

If you feel you have the right qualities and the time to commit to this amazing project, then please complete our application form.  We will contact you in approximately two weeks time to arrange a telephone interview.