Sheffield Listening Services is a not-for-profit organisation set up to facilitate exceptional listening initiatives across Sheffield.



The founder of Sheffield Listening Services, Linda Gascoine, has been providing a Listening Service to the patients of a Medical Practice in Sheffield for almost ten years. The range of stories, circumstances and people that come through the Listening Service reveal that effective listening is a much-needed requirement for any healthy, well-functioning community. The vision now is to grow the number of Listening initiatives across the city, provide training in listening skills, and support organisations, including medical and social care, schools, churches and businesses, to set up listening services.  


At our core is the Christian ethos to care holistically for people, demonstrating individuals’ value by creating an empowering listening environment. Effective listening is a way of providing space, security and respect for people’s stories and can help us understand them more fully. Contributing to people’s wellbeing by showing compassion and empathy, listening can provide the opportunity for an individual or group to clarify their thoughts and feelings, help them to process events and issues in a way that empowers them and assist them in their decision making. Alternatively, it can help us know more accurately what kind of assistance to provide.  


Linda Gascoine, Sheffield Listening Services


Listening Services can be set up in Medical Centres, hospitals, schools, businesses, churches: in any and every strand of society, providing support to a wide group or a very focused demographic.  


We have a team of skilled volunteer listeners who are trained and accredited by Acorn as Professional Volunteer Listeners.  They can provide a confidential and supportive listening environment in a range of community settings. In addition, we can provide Chaplaincy listeners, for people who want to be listened to within a faith context.


Alternatively, we will support you in setting up your own service, involving initial meetings, provision of a pack outlining good practice guidelines, introduction of an Approved Listener (or training for your own recruit) and ongoing support.



We can set up a partnership arrangement with you to provide listening for your staff or clients.

We can train and support you in setting up a dedicated Listening Service for your location.

You can refer people for appointments with professional listeners in our own Listening Room.



The aim of our training is to equip organisations, churches and individuals to become highly effective listeners in a range of situations.


Our team of trainers can deliver Acorn Christian Healing Foundation’s Listening Pathway, which introduces learners to a particular model of Active Listening, equipping people not only for highly effective listening day to day but also with the option of becoming a Professional Listener in a formal one to one setting.


Our team also deliver customised training on listening-related subjects to match individual needs.


We deliver training in how to set up Listening Services as well as provide personalised support in establishing such a service.



We can run a customised training event for you and your team.

We can enrol you onto one of our open training events.

We can signpost you to other training opportunities.


“Available evidence suggests that volunteers are increasingly regarded as an essential part of the NHS workforce.”

A recent study carried out by Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Leeds Beckett University & University of Leeds, sponsored by Acorn Christian Healing Foundation, found that whilst “current patient care models do not allow enough time or recognition for listening encounters with patients, healthcare professionals and patients emphasised the positive effect listening can have on patients.”* 


In a GP Centre, a Listening Service complements the provision of additional services such as counselling and IAPT, providing support for patients who do not need that level of intervention but who would benefit from talking things through, whilst sometimes providing a preparatory stage for patients who then access other services available through the NHS.

The listening model used in GP Listening Services is the Acorn’s Active Listening model. It is non-directive and person-centred, recognising that effective listening is a vital element in providing holistic care: physical, emotional, social and spiritual.

*Summary Research Report from ALICE project (Active Listening in Chaplaincy Evaluation).



We can provide assistance in setting up a dedicated Listening Service in your Practice.



“an area of outstanding practice.”
(recent CQC Inspector’s description of a Medical Practice’s Listening Service delivered by one of our volunteers).
“The Listener has been an essential asset over the 10 years I have been at the Practice. Patients have frequently commented to me of the value of being heard and being able to unpack difficult personal problems, situations and relationships. Her skilled listening enables people to feel more able to see their problems more clearly. This intervention has often been helpful to build on with other services available on the NHS.” 
GP Partner.


As a not-for profit organisation, we are grateful for all kinds of financial support, large or small.  If you would like to contribute financially to our work, please get in touch directly



Linda Gascoyne

Tel: 07896 823 749


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