An Islington-based charity which supports some of the most marginalised women in society will be able to offer over 2,000 extra counselling sessions thanks to new funding.
The Maya Centre, based in Archway, offers free counselling to women who have experienced trauma resulting from domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, war or conflict.
The charity is launching a new project aimed at women from black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee (BAMER) backgrounds whose mental health has suffered as a result of gender-based violence.
The scheme, open to women from Islington and neighbouring boroughs, has been made possible by a £134,700 grant from City Bridge Trust.
Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “Women from BAMER backgrounds often face all kinds of obstacles such as language and cultural barriers which may prevent them getting the help they need.
“This funding will enable The Maya Centre to build on its many years of experience to deliver targeted, specialised, life-changing support to women who would otherwise fall by the wayside.”
Most women targeted by the scheme are living in poverty and many have often faced trauma such as domestic or sexual abuse, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence or female genital mutilation.
The City Bridge Trust funding will enable 700 extra counselling sessions a year over three years, helping 105 women, who can also access wellbeing and resilience workshops and complementary therapies such as holistic massage, yoga and reiki.
Emma Brech, The Maya Centre Chief Executive Officer, said: “The women we work with often find themselves marginalized due to a range of factors including poverty, stigma and discrimination – so that the true nature of their trauma can remain hidden for a long time.
“They need a trusting women-only environment where tailored support can be offered, reflected in the diverse language and cultural backgrounds of our specialist staff.
“It may be some time before a woman feels able to disclose experiences of abuse or exploitation and it’s important that we are able to provide a safe, collaborative and nurturing space.
“Often simply being able to talk about what has happened to them and realising they deserve better can have a profound effect – we see women’s lives transformed when they come here.”