Winter Newsletter
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Dear Friends & Supporters

Welcome to our Autumn/Winter Newsletter 

30th Anniversary Celebrations

We celebrated our 30th Anniversary on World Mental Health Day, Friday 10th October 2014 with an inspiring evening of energy, emotion, entertainment and thought, culminating in a renewed determination to support women to overcome the impact of abuse, for as long as it takes!

The vibrant Freeword Centre and the The Literary Consultancy sponsored the evening and guest performances included:

Poetry from Indigo Williams, who has performed across the UK and Europe. Winner of 2012 Generation Slam.  Indigo also co-founded i-shape beauty, which helps women through discussion, specifically aiming to encourage women to reclaim, define and own their power through workshops and artistic projects.

Author Jill Dawson, has written 8 novels, two of which touch on the topic of  domestic violence. As well as reading an extract from her book entitled ‘Lucky Bunny’, Jill spoke about some of the myths surrounding domestic violence and also highlighted the need for perpetrators of domestic violence to 'talk to enable change'.

The second half of the evening was dedicated to our very  first ‘Talk Enables Change’ Debate. It was chaired by Femi Otitoju, and guest panel members included a cross section of women who campaign and support women’s rights within their field: Hoda Ali; Vera Baird QCNatalie Bennett MPLouise Howard; and Deana Puccio

Please visit our blog to read more about the evening.

The Maya Centre would like to thank everyone for attending our Talk Enables Change debate and celebrating our 30th Anniversary with us.
With special thanks to:
Chair, Femi Otitoju and panel members; Prof Louise Howard; Hoda Ali; Deana Puccio; Natalie Bennett and Vera Baird. Poet Indigo Williams and our new Patron Jill Dawson. Our sponsors 'The Freeword Center' and 'The Literary Consultancy'


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New Chair ~ Rebecca Harrington

The Maya Centre has elected Rebecca Harrington from amongst its trustees to take on the role of Chair from January 2015. Rebecca has extensive experience in senior leadership roles in social care and health services, and has been a trustee since 2013. Sue Kon and Claire McElwee have been sharing the role for the past year, and Sue, an experienced psychotherapist, will continue as deputy chair with a lead role in the clinical leadership of the Centre's work.

Rebecca says: ' I've been really impressed by the high quality of the services provided by The Maya Centre. There is tremendous commitment amongst the counsellors, support staff, management, trustees and patrons who together make it possible for some of the most vulnerable women in North London to benefit from good quality psychological support. Its not an easy time for small voluntary sector organisations, but The Maya Centre has been here for 30 years and is developing and adapting to meet our clients' needs efficiently and effectively. There is a great team here. I'm delighted to be asked to Chair the organisation, and will do whatever I can to support our work to help abused and deprived women to take back control in their lives and to thrive.'

New Patron ~ Jill Dawson
We are delighted to announce that Jill Dawson will be joining Jeremy Corbyn MP and Melissa Benn as our new Patron.

Jill Dawson is an award-winning poet and novelist, author of eight novels including Fred and Edie (which was short-listed for the Orange and Whitbread prizes) and The Great Lover, about the poet Rupert Brooke.
She is an Advisory Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. Two of her novels have themes of relationship violence (Trick of the Light and Lucky Bunny). These draw on her own experiences as a young mother in her twenties; living in squats and council flats in London she found herself trapped in a terrifying relationship for five years until - with the help of friends and the insightful comments of a therapist - she managed to leave.
She knows first-hand how hard it is to escape from abuse when you have no money or job and when despair and fear have set in. But she also learned the importance of psychotherapy in healing, both for herself and her son.  Now living in Cambridgeshire, married and with a second son and foster daughter, (both teenagers) Jill is delighted to be able to be an advocate and champion of the Maya Centre in its unique and vital work, offering  first-class therapy to women who need help and cannot afford it. 

Short History Video

Have you watched our short history film?
The film was premiered as part of our 30th birthday celebration on the 10th October.
Capturing the memories of when our service began as ‘The Islington Women’s Counselling Centre’. The film features some of the founding members and records their experiences. 
Thank you to all past/present staff members, Trustees and especially the producer, Janet Potter for helping to make this film happen!
Watch it here >

Funding News

In October we were delighted to learn that the Lloyds Bank Foundation accepted our grant application. The grant of £24,750 per year, will cover a 3 year period and will be used to provide counselling sessions specifically for clients who have experienced Domestic violence and gender based abuse.


Each year Peirene Press publish a themed series of short works of fiction, novellas.
The series is made up of three titles, forming a cluster in terms of style and/or content, all of which are usually woven with a psychological aspect to the story line.
In 2015 Peirene Press will continue to support us by donating 50p from the sale of each copy of their ‘Chance Encounter Series’ This support is in addition to their existing donation of 50p per copy sold from ‘Turning Point series’, ‘Coming-of-Age series’ and Beside the Sea (Peirene No 1).
Please visit Peirene Press to find out more about their Novellas.

Small Grants & Individual Donors
The Fishmonger Company have donated £1,000 from  to support our educational projects, such as our Psychoeducational workshop. The Morris Charitable Trust have also donated £1,000 towards the work at our centre.

Thank you to our new friends & supporters who have set-up regular standing orders.
If you would like to set-up a regular standing order please visit  our Justgiving Page

Group Workshops

‘Exploring self through creativity’

In July we successfully piloted a 12 week creative workshop for women called ‘Exploring self through creativity’. Ten women took part in the workshop. For the 1st six weeks the women worked with a range of guided creative exercises, using different art materials. They then chose which materials to use for a final piece of individual work. In collaboration with Islington Exhibits, the group exhibited their work on the 30th October at the Maya Centre.
The clients who participated in the workshop were extremely proud of their achievements, particularly as many of the women had no previous art experience.

Mature Women

Our mature women’s group has been running since the 23rd October. This is a weekly group, which will run for one year ending in late October 2015.

This is a therapeutic group, a space in which, once trust is established ,the group members can support each other by sharing their traumatic experiences they have had in the past.
Often older women, after many years of coping and looking after the needs of others, may find difficult to ask for help from others.  
At the moment  services in our community including the health services do not generally aim to assist mature women's age group (50 +), therefore women with specific problems relating to this age group are often overlooked.
Mature and older women group facilitated by Nilay Nagle.

Domestic Violence
The Domestic Violence group meets weekly and has been running from 27th October 2014 and will run for a minimum of 36 weeks. The purpose of the group is to help and support women who have experienced domestic violence. 
The participants will be able to try new things out in a safe place. They will be offered a new perspective on problems and in the long term will be able make changes at a fundamental level.
The group will be facilitated by Diana Brown.
Complimentary Therapies Pilot at the Maya Centre

We will be running a complimentary therapy pilot in the New Year, which will run for 12 weeks.
Our clients will be able to experience a range of holistic healing services that work alongside and compliment the core long term counselling and psychotherapy we offer. Our aim is to enable service users to develop a healthy and empowering relationship with the Maya Centre over a long period (up to 2 years).
We believe that exposure to holistic therapy, which our clients would normally not be able to afford, will build their strength, resilience and ability to self-care, leading to long term, sustainable well-being and health.
There will be 3 sessions per week of individual therapies which will include:
  • Holistic massage
  • Reflexology
  • Raiki
  • Weekly meditation and relaxation class 
The Maya Centre will evaluate uptake, engagement and client satisfaction outcomes with a view to obtaining funding to continue with successful provision. 
Community Support Worker

We have received funding for a new Community Support Worker role at the Maya Centre. This role is part of our ‘Bridging the Gap’ project which aims to increase the numbers of marginalised and highly vulnerable women who are able to achieve successful outcomes from counselling and psycho-education programmes at the Maya Centre.

The role contributes to the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project by providing practical advice, information, signposting and supported referral to all the clients of the Maya Centre who require it on any matter which is presenting a barrier to the client attending or engaging with counselling or psycho-education at the Maya Centre.
We have now short-listed candidates for the role and round two of the interviews will be on 1st Dec 2014

Thank you for your continued support and we wish you an enjoyable festive season!

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Winter Newsletter

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