New Changes and Achievements at The Maya Centre Following Our 2023 AGM
Diverse women in a business meeting

As 2023 comes to an end, The Maya Centre looks back on what’s been achieved this funding year, including exciting additions to the team. 

14 December 2023 

By Hannah Uguru 

On 28 November 2023, The Maya Centre held its annual general meeting (AGM) at its Archway headquarters, reflecting on achievements of the past year and welcoming new members to its fold.  

At the meeting, we said goodbye to Nishma Jethwa as a trustee and hello to Gabriele Duesberg, Liberty Simpson and Tabia Salam, with Rochelle Burgess and Monique Velani also staying with us as trustees. Rumina Taylor, Cherrill Greenidge-Hutchinson and Dr Su Yin Yap also joined us as clinical trustees following the departure of Jennie Robertson. Meera Nair and Ayan Man remained as Chair and Vice Chair, with Dr Jessica Walker moving from Clinical Trustee to Co-Chair of our Clinical Governance Group. Each woman brings unique knowledge and skills to our women-for-women charity that will shape our clinical and operational activities for the following year.  

Our reach 

Thinking about The Maya Centre’s results from April 2022 to March 2023, we were delighted to celebrate our reach of 491 women through our psychodynamic services and the Women’s Hub community wellbeing project, with 77% coming from Global Majority and/or migrant backgrounds. We made a significant impact in the Islington area, with the majority of our service users being based here, and we’re proud to have served exclusively low-income women. Since its July 2022 launch, the Women’s Hub has gone from strength to strength, engaging 163 women in a range of wellbeing support activities such as Qi Gong, Song Club and Relaxation. Focusing on ‘lived experience’, we recruited four community navigators to engage in outreach and advocacy among Black women, Somali women, neurodivergent women, and refugee and asylum-seeking women. All community navigators represent at least one of these groups of women and use their shared understanding of these identities to build trust, resilience and voice among the women they help, supporting recovery from diverse traumas and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.  

Our impact 

CoreNet is the CRM system we use to facilitate online monitoring via forms our clients complete throughout their sessions. CoreNet data from 237 women who have engaged in our psychodynamic services demonstrates the effectiveness of our work:    

  • 98% of women showed an improvement in their ability to express how they were feeling.   
  • 93% of women showed an improvement in personal insight.   
  • 96% of women showed an improvement in their coping strategies.   
  • 94% of women showed an improvement in their subjective wellbeing.    
  • 93% of women showed an improvement in day-to-day functioning.    
  • 89% of women showed an improvement in their decision-making   
  • 97% of women showed an improvement in personal relationships.   

Additionally, feedback from women who’ve attended services and activities like the Irish Women’s Service, the Black Women’s Project and art therapy convey more personal success stories that we’re also happy to share: 

Client A (Women’s Hub) 

“I have learned to listen to others, to communicate and express gratitude in life.” 

Client B (Women’s Hub) 

“I feel like I have become more aware of self-hate and the best strategy to use for me to enhance the self-love that I deserve.” 

Client C (Art Therapy Group) 

“The group allowed me to reflect on my self-critical behaviours and begin to overcome them. It also allowed me to bring out my creativity/ inner child and just go with the flow, which was a wonderful experience.” E (Irish Women’s Project) 

Client D (Irish Women’s Service) 

“I feel calmer and in control of my life in a way that not only had a positive effect on me but also had a knock-on effect on the people who are closest to me in my life.” 

Client E (Black Women’s Project) 

“The sessions helped me explore my cultural identity. I now have the confidence to access cultural groups I have previously felt excluded from.” 

Last but not least… 

At our AGM, we also formally ushered in our new Chief Executive Officer, Gona Saed, who brings over 15 years of experience in charity leadership and management, organisational development, fundraising, and project management. As an Iraqi Kurdish political refugee, she came to the UK in 1998 to start a new life, crediting the generosity of the women she’s encountered throughout her journey as an inspiration to give back. 

Gona Saed
Gona Saed

On her new appointment, she shares, “The Maya Centre is like a small international community where women from all walks of life come together to make a difference. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to lead such a dynamic organisation and represent diverse women among our staff and clientele. I am excited for what the future holds for our community.” 

Looking to the future, we aim to increase our reach to 500 women and have many exciting projects in the pipeline to target underserved communities such as young mothers, women with chronic and long-term health conditions, and Black women experiencing loss and grief. 

As always, we thank our funders and donors for their ongoing flexibility and support. Without them, we would not be able to deliver this important work.