As part of our ongoing mission to improve women’s mental health, The Maya Centre has created a Women’s Hub: Community Wellbeing Project, with the launch event on Saturday 30th July 2022, 11AM-3PM, at Hargrave Hall, Hargrave Rd, Archway, London N19 5SP.
The Women’s Hub is a grassroots scheme for women in Islington to co-design wellbeing workshops through peer support groups focused on different specialisms and their needs. This launch event is a chance for women in the local area to meet the team, find out what’s going on, sign up for free workshops and activities and try some complementary therapies, such as yoga or reflexology. There will be a free crèche and food available.
All women can take part, but they will be prioritising disabled & neurodivergent women, young women, asylum-seeking and refugee women, LGBTQ+ women and Black women. There will be a chance to speak to and learn from each of our four community navigators who work in different specialisms, along with Michalina Popiolek, the project leader.
Amber Nyankson, a Community Navigator focusing on women with neurodiversity, women with learning disabilities and women with experience in the Criminal Justice System, says, “Women in these groups have high levels of passion, drive, and creative thinking and are deserving of the same respect and opportunities that others receive, without their worth being attached to their skills or their perceived usefulness to society.
“Furthermore, these kinds of women often suffer more negative experiences when using government services like health, housing, education, transport, justice, immigration & childcare than the local population.
“This is why a project of this nature is necessary. We need to support mental health and address all areas of emotional and physical wellbeing for the women of Islington.”
Edna Samuel, another Women’s Hub Community Navigator, works with Black women, women with physical disabilities and long-term health conditions, and women on low incomes. She comments, “Being a woman is hard work generally and adding the title BLACK WOMAN makes it more difficult because some people define you by your ethnicity, not your character. This puts many barriers to accessing services that give women the opportunity to be treated equally. The Women’s Hub initiative creates a safe and nurturing platform for women from different ethnic communities and social backgrounds, where we can come together, socialise and understand one another better without prejudices.
“The Community Navigator’s goal is to make sure that women have a voice to express themselves without being judged and to support women in becoming the best version of themselves, whatever that looks like to an individual. We want to empower women personally, physically, emotionally, professionally, and mentally in their abilities and themselves.”
Rose Namabgo, a Community Navigator, supports women from refugee and asylum seeker contexts. She shares, “I am passionate about women’s wellbeing due to my lived experience, which helps me understand and relate to the severity of mental health difficulties faced by women asylum seeker, refugee and migrant backgrounds.”
She also touches on the need to support female translators and interpreters, saying, “Translating traumatic narratives is extremely difficult. Women translators frequently experience vicarious trauma and mental health issues due to their work.”
Hinda Hashi, our fourth and final Community Navigator, specialises in Somali women, parents and carers. She states, “The language barrier is a significant obstacle preventing Somali women from engaging with the wider community. The Women’s Hub will provide interpreters to bridge the gap between the two. The women’s hub, therefore, provides a platform for Somali women to express their feelings and be heard.
“We will also be running health and wellbeing workshops where we will be empowering Somali women to run the workshop themselves. This trains them to learn to voice their concerns and become group leaders.”
These are the primary issues that the Maya Centre’s Women’s Hub will be addressing through peer support groups and one-on-one support from practitioners.
Emma Brech, Maya Centre CEO credits out sponsor, “We are grateful to the National Lottery for funding our new Women’s Hub and will really take this chance to reach out into our community and listen to women, particularly those we may not have heard from before.
“Women in Islington have been saying to us for a long time that they would like to see more holistic, flexible and accessible wellbeing support tailored to their needs — really getting the chance to decide for themselves what good mental health looks like before they reach crisis point.”
Come and talk to us, get involved and help us make The Maya Centre the go-to women-for-women sanctuary in Islington. See you there!