Winter Round-Up Newsletter 2015
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    Winter News Round-up 2015

As the days get shorter and the nights colder, The Maya Centre has made some really exciting progress – starting with the Big Lottery’s decision to extend its support for a further three years. While this still leaves us some way off our annual funding requirement, it is a huge step forward and a ringing endorsement of support for the work we do.

Our annual fundraiser at The Literary Consultancy was a great success, where we show cased the work of Simone de Beauvoir. We have also been working with Jude Habib from Sound Delivery to bring the stories of Maya’s clients to life, giving donors a chance to see the work we do, up close for the first time. The Maya Centre is selected ‘local charity of the Year’ by Sainsbury's and will be collecting funds for us at the till, throughout 2016. This provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of us locally and may encourage vulnerable women to make contact when they need us.

In this newsletter you will find out about our new Interim Director, the recruitment of two new supervisors, three trainees and three volunteers – all of whom will help boost the Maya team.
Finally, we will provide information about our latest projects and workshops.

In this final newsletter before the New Year, we want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of Maya’s Friends and Supporters – none of this would be possible without you!



We welcome Tahera Aanchawan, Interim Director, who joined the Maya Centre in October 2015. As a senior management professional working with NGOs for over 20 years, Tahera has extensive experience in the voluntary sector  with a focus on equalities, human rights and social justice for women. She is also Chair of the Evelyn Oldfield Unit, Transform Africa and a Board member of the Ethical Property Foundation. 

In addition to welcoming two new supervisors, Ros Massil and Jaleh Gitiforozm, we’re also really pleased to bring Mary Heffernan on board to help enhance Maya’s counselling service for our Irish clients.
In our last newsletter we reported on the success of our trainees completing their two year placements. We’ve now recruited three new trainees, Anastasia Foulouli, Leticia Prieto Seyffert and Soraya Mohammad. We are delighted to provide them with the opportunity to work alongside our experienced counsellors and wish them every success.
We’ve also recruited three new volunteers: Krystal, Nora and Rosie who will be assisting our clinical coordinator and other staff members with administration and events.
Another thought provoking event from the Maya Centre!

On the 1st of December 2015 The Maya Centre was proud to host a special showing followed by an illustrious panel discussion of  Daughters of de Beauvoir,  a documentary film looking at the influence the French writer Simone de Beauvoir ‘s work and unconventional lifestyle have had on women throughout the world.
Her life story, with all its conflicting emotion and experience, is told in parallel with the stories of the women appearing in the film, all of whom cite Simone de Beauvoir as a major force in their lives, in the year that marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of her best-known book, The Second Sex.

Melissa Benn, author, campaigner and long standing Patron of the Maya Centre led a sparkling discussion of the film, the ideas, and the lasting impact of de Beauvoir’s writing and life with the film maker, Imogen Sutton, the Professor and Founder-Director of the Social Science Research Unit at the Institute of Education Ann Oakley, who had been interviewed in the film, one of our new Patrons, best-selling author Jill Dawson, and distinguished author Dame Margaret Drabble.

Much-thumbed copies of de Beauvoir’s works were produced by panel members, who shared their experiences of the impact of this ground-breaking writer on their own lives and work. Simone de Beauvoir broke taboos, in the conventional middle class Paris of the 1950s writing about sex and menstruation, living openly with her lover Jean-Paul Sartre, and later talking openly about her illegal abortion. She was brilliant, articulate and honest in her writing about women’s position in society and her own life in a series of autobiographical writings which still resonate now.  

Left to right: Imogen Sutton, Jill Dawson, Melissa Benn, Ann Oakley, Margaret Drabble
Photographer: Leif Sutton-Williams (c) 2015 

Panel members ranged over the mother-daughter relationship, French culture and icons, the controversy of the relationship between de Beauvoir and Sartre and whether, despite her deep feminist thinking even she did not find a relationship of true equality. Her writing about ageing and death sparked much discussion as well, though acknowledging that it can be hard to face the realities about which she writes so unflinchingly.

‘Talk enables change’ is The Maya Centre strap line, and this evening’s talk has done just that.
The evening raised £3,500 and the Maya Centre’s heartfelt thanks goes to the Free Word Centre and The Literary Consultancy for a great venue and all the support in the planning and on the night;

  • the wonderful panel members Imogen Sutton, Jill Dawson, Ann Oakley, Margaret Drabble and chair Melissa Benn
  • Sainsbury’s for donating the refreshments for the evening
  • staff, volunteers, trustees and users of The Maya Centre
  • and especially to our kind supporters - this small charity cannot survive without donations and regular standing orders give us stability. If a hundred people regularly contribute the cost of two cups of coffee a week, with the occasional muffin to add it up to a nice round £25 a month,  we would bridge the budget gap and make sure we can carry on to help those women on our waiting list who have not yet found their voices.
    So please donate via BT mydonate, where you can set up a regular donation.

    Thank you - Rebecca Harrington Chair of the Trustees 


Patrons of the Maya Centre

Patrons of charity organisations like the Maya Centre have a special role in raising awareness and using their influence in the interests of the women who need our services.
We really appreciate their commitment to women’s mental health and advocacy for high quality, properly funded support services which help recovery. 

One of our longest standing Patrons, local Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, has spoken out for women’s rights in Parliament, and supported the need for services like the Maya Centre for many years. We are honoured that he continues to do so in his new role as leader of the labour party, and that two members of the House of Lords have recently agreed to become our Patrons.

Baroness Doreen Massey had a distinguished career in teaching and health education in the UK and abroad. She was Chair of the National Treatment Agency for drug and alcohol abuse and since entering the Lords in 1999 she has contributed to work on adoption, child development and mental health services.

Lord Kamlesh Patel entered the Lords in 2006, having been Head of the International School for Communities, Rights and Inclusion at the University of Central Lancashire and Chair of the Mental Health Act Commission. Now associated with University of East London he is active in many fields and continues to speak on mental health and addiction.

Writer and campaigner Melissa Benn has supported the Maya Centre for many years, and was our chair for the lively panel discussion of Imogen Sutton’s film ‘Daughters of de Beauvoir’ at our event of 1 December.  Melissa writes widely on education and women’s issues, and her 2013 book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? The Pleasures and Pressures of Growing Up Female would have informed the question addressed by our Panel of ‘where are we now’ on feminist thinking.

One of our new Patrons, Jill Dawson is the best-selling author of nine novels, ranging widely across many subjects and times. She joined our illustrious panel on 1 December with the film maker, Imogen Sutton, the Professor and Founder-Director of the Social Science Research Unit at the Institute of Education Ann Oakley, who had been interviewed in the film, and distinguished author Dame Margaret Drabble.
The Maya Centre is delighted to welcome as Patron the author and journalist Louise Doughty, whose Romani ancestry  informs her journalism and fiction writing,  and whose seventh novel, Apple Tree Yard, is a thriller set in Parliament
Former Chair of the Maya Centre and our long term supporter Margaret Bluman is welcomed to take on a new role as Patron, and will bring her wide knowledge of the work of the Centre and its importance to the women who use it to gain greater recognition and support for the services to which she has been committed for so long.

By Rebecca Harrington, Chair of the Trustees, December 2015

AGM 30th November 2015

We held our Business AGM on 30th November that was attended by staff and trustees.
The Maya Centre said a regretful and appreciative farewell to Rebecca Swift, who after 10 years is standing down as trustee. We also said farewell to trustees Naheed Mirza, Nikki Bradley and Phillipa Ladbury. We express our huge thanks to you all for your invaluable support and we will miss you.

We are pleased to confirm the appointment of three new trustees Jessica Walker, Pat Lloyd and Rebecca Wilson. Their skills and experience will be a real asset to the Maya Centre's future development. We look forward to working with them.


BIG Lottery Reaching Communities Funding
We are very pleased and excited to announce that the Maya Centre has secured three years funding to work with women facing multiple challenges by providing long-term Psychodynamic counselling. Additionally, this funding will enable us to extend our service by offering counselling on an outreach basis and delivering evening sessions.
With so many women's services being cut, securing this funding was vital to our centre. We would like to thank the Big Lottery for recognising how important our mental health service is to the women we help. We would also like thank all our staff and trustees for their hard work and dedication. 


We're very proud to be Sainsbury's charity of the year (Sainsbury's Local 643-645 Holloway Road) and delighted to have our charity collection boxes placed in prime spots, right next to each register. Thank you to Sainsbury's store Manager, James Haskoll, for supporting our future fundraising activities and providing refreshments for our client workshops and events. 


In the City:Mod & SKA DJ Night
Thank you to In the City, for hosting a Mod & SKA DJ benefit night, especially for our centre. The vinyl DJ club night, kept those who attended (despite the bad weather) rocking to old school Soul, Mod, Ska, Rock-steady and Motown classics. We received donations of £100 from ticket sales.


Thank you to the trust who approved our funding request, but wishes to remain anonymous for awarding the Maya Centre a grant of £500.

Last but not least thank you to all our funders and regular donors for keeping the Maya Centre going in 2015.

Raise free donations for the Maya Centre when you shop online this Christmas! It’s so simple and it won’t cost you a penny. Sign up to our store account today!

  • If you want to buy a gift from a particular store. Instead of going direct to the stores website, you first go to
  • If you're looking for a specific retailer, use the search box, or choose from the popular store list. Click through to find the store to make your purchase.
  • After you buy your item, the store will give you a cash reward that you can turn into a donation for the Maya Centre. Easyfundraising collect this and send it to us at no extra cost.
We would love for you to sign up to our store account, to help us achieve our target of at least £2,000 this Christmas.  
This video will tell you everything you need to know on how Easy Fundraising works. 

Legacy Fundraising

Tragedy happens to all of us and it's particularly hard to think about other causes when you have lost someone close to you. For that reason, Maya is reaching out gently to all of its supporters, to ask if you know someone who might be interested in supporting us after they have gone. This kind of memorial can do so much good for the women who come to us, helping them to live a more confident and fulfilled life. 
Please visit our website for information on legacy giving.

Projects and workshops

The Maya Centre Psychoeducational Workshop which started in 2013 is gaining an increasingly positive reputation.
Made up of 8 weekly group sessions, the teaching combines mind-body learning and processing, and covers topics such as the Unconscious, Trauma and Assertiveness. Our next one starts on Friday, 15th January. If you’d like to find out more or enrol, click here


My Voice Project

During the October and November our clients took part in our My Voice Project. A series of five storytelling workshops. The project was run in partnership with, Jude Habib, from Sound Delivery, a specialist digital media consultancy with a passion for digital storytelling.
The participants learnt the secrets of good storytelling using variety of tools. The women met in the safe environment of the Maya Centre, and worked together, encouraged and supported each other on their journey to voice their personal stories.
They’ve told their stories, to help with their healing process, to combat stigma, in a quest to allow other women and men to break the cycle of abuse, so that women’s experiences are recognised and their voices heard. The testimony of their experience, their survival and their journey of recovery are now documented and recorded.

All our participants chose to share their stories with a wider audience on the 25th November 2015. All invited guests had an opportunity to hear the recordings of the stories and read the statements of each woman. Following this everyone gathered for the Q&A lead by Abigail Graham and discussion on why it is so important for women to speak up. 

Here is what they said when asked ‘What advice would you give other women?’

'When you not heard your story not told, it feels like its not important……that it doesn’t matter, that the world doesn’t care'

'Shout from the beginning'

'Don't be ashamed to speak out'

'Try and talk, continue to speak'

'Don't underestimate your strength'

and ‘ advice to the service providers’:

'Women are experts of their own stories'

'Service providers: listen'

'Take women seriously'

'Help to make a difference in the world around us'


We would like to warmly thank all women who took part in the project, Jude and Abigail and to all our guests. 

         ~ Community News Focus ~       

It’s been a year since we launched community services at the Maya Centre and what a year it’s been! In this year we developed a directory of local projects, services and workshops that our women can access. I've met with and developed stronger relationships with other women's organisations that our clients may wish to use.  Nearly sixty women have benefited from advice, information and support to access our service.

Every Wednesday afternoon we opened our doors for our clients’ to meet-up with each other socially, take part in service users groups, short workshops and/or projects. It’s wonderful to see our community willing to get involved, tell us what they think, share their ideas and take part in workshops. We organised two focus groups, a Service Users Group, organised a fun open afternoon supported by LUSH Cosmetics and run a successful 'My Voice 'project, in partnership with Sound Delivery.

We need your feedback please!
If you met with Community Support Worker, Michalina, or took part in the Service Users Group, Wednesday meetings or the open afternoon, we’d love to hear from you. Feedback and comments from all our service users is most important.

Please do get in touch with us if you would like to share your experience. You can help shape our community services programme for next year. You can call or email Michalina to provide your feedback.

~ Service Users Group ~

The Service Users Group provides continuous opportunity for all our clients to influence how our organisation is run and to have a say in the provision of tailored services. If you would like to join please contact Michalina on 020 7281 8970.

The next Service Users Group is held on Wednesday 2nd Febuary 2016 at 1.30pm


~ Community Support Worker ~

If you would like to contact the community support worker you may call Michalina.
Monday-Thursday on 020 7281 8970 or email


Our Vision:
The Maya Centre will be a place of change and growth for women 

Thank you for your continued support!

Copyright © 2015 | Maya Centre, All rights reserved.
Newsletter December Round-Up

Our mailing address is: | The Maya Centre, Unit 8, 9-15 Elthorne Road London N10 4AJ

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