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Room to Heal Winter Newsletter

Newsletter 18 January 2019

January 2019


Since starting at Room to Heal in September, I’ve been struck by the power of community. When things are tough or in happier times, our members, staff and volunteers really are here for each other. Room to Heal is a special place.

My focus this year is on making sure that we continue the work of the community that Mark, Chloe and everyone here have worked hard to create. We have a highly talented and dedicated team. In 2019 I look forward to working together to ensure all our members, new and old, are supported through our therapeutic activities, casework, kindness and human connection.

Elli Free, Director

As a new year’s resolution, please consider starting a monthly donation to Room to Heal.


The UN has awarded Room to Heal its first training grant to share our model internationally. Over the next year our founder Mark Fish and a co-facilitator will train organisations working with refugees in two countries in Africa.


Shopping on retreat!

“Being away from London and being in the fresh air and lovely sceneries relaxed my mind. I’m feeling better in myself.”

At our week-long therapeutic trip in south Devon, our therapists ran daily support groups and mindful movement sessions.

“It was a great opportunity to be together in one place, sharing cooking and helping each other like one team. I learnt a lot about every friend in the group. I can now have confidence to speak and express myself more openly.”

In the autumn members also visited Tate Modern and Kew Gardens.


“The garden is like paradise for us – when I came here I was very depressed and without hope. It was winter and now for me it’s spring. When I’m working in the garden my mind goes quiet and I’m peaceful for a while.”

We recently harvested peanuts, tomatoes, grapes, purple sprouting broccoli and Jerusalem artichokes in our garden. With the arrival of winter, we’re focusing on weeding, manuring, planting bulbs and tending our winter crop of garlic and salad leaves.


100% of members who completed our annual survey said their mental health had improved because of being part of Room to Heal.  One member said:

“Engaging in different tasks and getting involved in several activities – whether group support, Tuesday lunches, Friday garden cooking – it was all a great help to me. It helped me enjoy little things and feel good after all.”

 A huge thanks to everyone who took part in our annual member and partner survey. The evaluation will be out soon.


Mark Fish, founder director, is focusing on our international training programme (see above). Mark remains very much part of the Room to Heal family, but his new work means he’ll be around here much less.

Chloe Davis, is leaving after 8 years. In that time, Chloe has worked as a therapist, fundraiser and Deputy Director. Her creativity, commitment and support have been outstanding. From everyone at Room to Heal, our heartfelt thanks. We wish you all the best.

Jane Matthews started as our new Fundraiser in December. Jane has 17 years’ fundraising experience in the charity sector. Welcome, Jane.

One of new therapy rooms

We’ve moved! If you’ve ever visited Room to Heal, you will know what a beautiful environment our office has. We’ve now moved downstairs which gives us more space and allows us to run both therapy groups here.


Volunteers are at the heart of Room to Heal – from IT and payroll to cooking and gardening, and from casework, admin and fundraising to listening and talking. A huge thank you to Paul, Jo, Lewis, Carey, Kate, Mary, Mariko, Jane, Sally and Andy. Read Andy’s blog on our website about volunteering at Room to Heal.

A particular thank you to Bullet Creative for designing our new website and donating their time. Also to Paul, Lewis and all the members who have helped ensure our office move went smoothly and we have a lovely new home.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your great support for the Room to Heal community. We couldn’t do it without you.

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