Spring Newsletter 2015
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Spring 2015 Newsletter 



Jo Ansell, served as the Director of the Maya Centre, since January 2013. Jo has done excellent work to bring energy and activity into the Maya Centre during her leadership, which has enabled the Maya Centre to experience growth.

Jo was responsible for securing funding to continue our work in existing projects and to introduce new counselling services and partnerships such as; Dahila for survivors of FGM; Trio Homelessness; Collaboration with Chance UK and Bethany House to offer counselling to women facing multiple and complex barriers to progression in  their personal and working lives; Psychoeducational workshops, Art workshop, dance and movement therapy and series of complementary therapies.
Jo felt passionate about client experience and clients’ involvement in running of the centre and also secured funding for the development of Service Users led services.  
Thanks to her commitment to service users the number of clients receiving counselling at the Maya centre has raised sharply, while at the same time the waiting time for the counselling was drastically reduced. Jo has been an energetic, motivating and person centred leader, who was able to bring the best out in her staff and people around her. We are sorry to see her go and wish her all the best in starting the new, exciting chapter of her life. 

We are also saying farewell to Angelina, who has worked at the Maya Centre for two and a half years. During her time with us, she was also the Senior Counsellor/Psychotherapist for the Irish Women's service. She will be missed and we wish her all the best.


We would like to welcome our new Director Jitka Markova. Jitka is an experienced senior manager/director and change maker with over 18 years of experience in human rights and community regeneration work; both in developing countries in the Global South, and an EU environment. She has worked both as a service provider of innovative programmes for marginalised and under-represented communities facing multi-faceted social-economic discrimination, and also as a lobbyist for migrant women’s rights at an EU level. She has a wealth of experience in leading charities and community based organisations.

We are also pleased to welcome, Stephanie Siu, who initially joined us as an admin volunteer, and now takes up her new position of Clinical Administrator.
Warm welcome to two new therapists Agnieszka Mazur and Marie Teresa Lyon enabling us to fulfil the need for our clients whose 1st language is Polish and Spanish.

New Community support position filled

After spending two and a half years coordinating clinical services at the Maya Centre, Michalina has been appointed as our Community Support Worker.
You'll find more details below and a message from Michalina on her new position, under our 'Community News Focus' section, which is news specifically for clients who attend the Maya Centre.


Urgent Appeal
Big thank you to all our supporters & friends who've donated to our urgent fundraising appeal at the beginning of February.
A lot of the donations have been given anonymously, so we have been unable to thank people individually. So far you have helped us to raise £3,346.25
If you or anyone you know, would still like to donate to our urgent fundraising appeal it's not too late.
Please read more about our appeal and if you're able to donate you can do so online via justgiving Thank you.

Pierene Press
Thank you to Peirene Press and their customers who supported us in 2014 by donating £3,712. Fifty pence from the sale of each copy of Peirene's  ‘Coming of Age’ series was donated to the Maya Centre.

In 2015 Peirene Press will continue to support us with their Chance Encounter series.
To purchase and find out more about Peirene Press novellas please visit their website

UCLU Women's Hockey Club

UCL women's hockey Club hosted their pop-up charity shop fundraiser on Monday 2nd March. The Maya Centre and our Dahlia project were among three other small charities who were nominated to receive a donation from the sale clothing, which was kindly donated by students’. They raised just under £700 in the day, and brought a lot of colour and fun to the Cloisters of the University!
A big thank you to UCL's women's hockey club.


International Women's Day

International Women's Day is a Global celebration of women marking respect, appreciation and love towards women. It’s also a celebration for women’s economic, political, and social achievements, past, present and future.
One of The Maya Centre’s core aims is to raise awareness of women’s mental health issues, and International Women’s Day provided a great opportunity to be part of the wider celebrations of women’s contributions and to hear from other organisations and individuals. Communication and partnerships are crucial to our development, so we look forward to an active year ahead.

On the 9th March, in celebration of International Women's Day, the Maya Centre was invited to City Hall for ‘Women Who Inspire’. Chaired by Emma Bennett (women’s editor of The Telegraph), we heard inspiring stories from the very women who have been helped and supported by the following charities: Refuge, Smart Works, Katie Piper Foundation, Forward and the Foundation for Life.

Million Women Rise March

Here’s our new Community Support Worker - ‘walking the walk’!

On the Saturday 7th March we raised our banner amongst the shoppers of Oxford Street on the  Million Women Rise March to raise awareness of the persistence of male violence against women and girls - a million women around the globe!  At the Maya Centre our counsellors every day hear about the devastating effects of violence on women. Many of our clients are survivors of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, rape, trafficking for sexual exploitation, honour crimes, female genital mutilation and violence in armed conflicts.

The Maya Centre provides a safe space for survivors to be heard by a skilled professional, and supported to come to terms with their experiences and rebuild their life. Beyond that we want to make our clients’ voices heard, so we join with the many worldwide who fight against these crimes.

Talk Enables Change 30th Anniversary debate
Video clips now on the website!

On 10th October 2014 many of you celebrated The Maya Centre 30th Anniversary in the Free Word Centre, to debate:

“Why does the abuse of women persist in the 21st century?”
“How can we break the cycle of violence against women?”

A panel of exceptional women joined us to share their experiences in fighting gender inequality across cultures and organisations. If you missed the event or want to be reinspired, see their individual clips and a 6 minute synopsis on our YouTube Channel >



Protecting against Female Genital Mutilation & Caring for Survivors 

On the 26th February 2015 the Maya Centre took part in one of the nine national annual conferences, hosted by Department of Health, NHS England, and the Home Office, on the National FGM Prevention Programme, following on from the 2014 Girls Summit. Held at Ealing Town Hall, the event was part of a roadshow series throughout England to provide local clinicians, service providers, commissioners, local authorities and third sector agencies with the information they need to tackle FGM locally.

The Government FGM Unit, The Department of Health, the Police and many grass roots organisations and FGM advocates presented their data, work and a future strategy for tackling the female genital mutilation and caring for survivors. 

Female Genital Mutilation FGM comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons” (World Health Organisation, Fact Sheet 241, May 2008)

It is estimated that approx:
103,000 women aged 15-49 and 23,000 women age 50+ are living with consequences of FGM in England and Wales.
The Maya centre works in the partnership with the
Manor Gardens Health Advocacy Centre to deliver Dahlia project - a support group for women who’ve undergone FGM. We also provide long term individual counselling to women survivors of the practice.
Our stand at the event attracted a lot of interest from the local community, practitioners as well as activists, who wanted to learn more about our service and the Dahlia project.

Psychoeducation Workshop

The Psychoeducational Workshop is now in its fourth round and growing in content and popularity.
The  workshop is made up of 8 weekly  group sessions. September’s workshop was attended by nine women.  The teaching combines mind-body learning and processing, and covers weekly themes such as the Unconscious, Trauma and Assertiveness. 

We’ve had lots of positive evaluation feedback from September’s workshop exemplified here with client quotes: 
’'I thought it was very helpful and it made me aware of my feelings because the gate was opened by intellect.’’ ‘’This workshop was informative, clarifying, beautiful and supportive’’


Complementary Therapies Pilot at the Maya Centre

The 12 week complementary therapy pilot started at the beginning of February 
and some of our clients have been able to experience a range of holistic healing services, 
which will include:

  • Holistic massage
  • Reflexology
  • Raiki
  • Weekly meditation and relaxation class 

The Maya Centre is continuing to evaluate the uptake, engagement and client satisfaction outcomes. 

The Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services (APPTS) is a new national programme approved by the national body for psychological therapies and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.   Membership is open to all services in the UK whose primary function is to provide adult psychological therapies in the community. This includes services managed by the NHS, voluntary sector and private sector.

As well as identifying and acknowledging services that have high standards, the accreditation programme encourages and supports quality improvement.  It is a voluntary scheme, so we don’t have to apply, but we have confidence in the quality of our service and hope to continue to improve and learn from the experience of others.
As part of putting our service forward for accreditation,  we need to hear the views of the people who use our services, so we are asking clients to complete a simple questionnaire about how they have experienced their contact with The Maya Centre.


         ~ Community News Focus ~            

Message from Michalina

I’m delighted to have been appointed a Community Support Worker. My role is to provide support and information for women who are using the Maya Centre so that they can make the most of their counselling and to develop Service Users-led services. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in a different capacity and to meeting and working with our clients.

How to contact me?
Face-to-face drop in sessions are held every Tuesday 1-3pm, except last Tuesdays of the month when legal advice takes place

Telephone advice session is held every Thursday 11am-1pm -you may call me on 0207 272 0995 (please leave the message with your name and number if I’m unavailable and I will call you back) 
Email me on


~ Service Users Forum ~

Maya Centre’s Service Users Forum has been launched! 

The Service Users Forum is a chance for all our clients to have their say about how the Maya Centre is run and to keep in touch with us. It is also a chance for clients to be able to give back to their community, to support other women and to gain experience in running a community based service.
At the Maya Centre we believe that every woman, no matter what her circumstances, has abilities, skills and a wealth of experience from which we can all learn and benefit. Many of our current and ex-clients clients have already shared their experiences and ideas at the 1st service users group, which was held on the 3rd March 2015.

~ Your Voice Counts ~

Service Users Group, met on the 3rd of March, if you would still like to join it’s not too late. Our next meeting is on the Wednesday 1st April at 1pm

Participants have all been very keen to provide us with invaluable feedback. We are thrilled to say that the group felt very passionate about the Maya Centre and its counselling services and came up with many interesting ideas, which we hope to be able to implement in the near future - Please watch this space!


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.
Spring Newsletter

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

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