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Autumn Newsletter

News 11 November 2019

Dear Friends

Welcome to our autumn Newsletter.

Thank you to all of you who have supported us this year.  Your generous donations and volunteering have continued to provide therapy and practical support for survivors of torture and trafficking in London: on their behalf, thank you!

And thank you too to everyone who made our annual party in September.  It was a fantastic celebration of our community – with live music, performances and the launch of a new Room to Heal song!

As always, it’s been a busy period, with our twice weekly community gatherings, group therapy, gardening and harvesting, and the ongoing casework that comes with the many challenges that our members face.

We’ve also been thinking about what we want to do in the next 5 years.  We had a valuable meeting with members to find out what they think Room to Heal should focus on in the future.

Read on to find out more…

Elli Free, Director

Music, dancing and laughter

In early September we celebrated our community at our annual party at Culpeper Community Garden in north London.  Thank you to all the members who took part and to Psyche_Delight Theatre Company who pulled it all together. Members performed a series of hilarious skits about life in our community, followed by everyone singing our new Room to Heal song!

We then danced the evening away to the ‘sunshine music’ of Kasai Masai, a wonderful group of musicians from Congo: thank you Kasai Masai!

As well as a time for fun and celebration, our summer party also brings much-needed funds to help keep Room to Heal going.  If you couldn’t make the party but would still like to contribute, we now have a text donation facility – see below.

Text to donate to Room to Heal – now available

We have a new and easy way to donate to us – by text.  To make a one-off text donation, just text ROOMTOHEAL to 70460 and it will automatically donate £5 to Room to Heal.  If you want to donate £10, text ROOMTOHEAL 10 to 70460 (you can pledge any whole number between £1 and £20).

If you would like to donate monthly, text ROOMTOHEALMONTHLY followed by the amount you wish to donate to 70470. For example, to donate £3 every month text ROOMTOHEALMONTHLY 3 to 70470. (Donations can be paused or stopped at any time.) Regular monthly gifts are always especially welcome as they help us plan our services for the coming months and years.

Breakfasts, bonding and culture: on retreat in Devon

“It was best choice to come on retreat.  It was absolutely great.  Enjoyed the company of others.  Got to know them more.  It gave me relaxation.  I needed to get away from London.”

After a long drive through London’s traffic jams and wailing sirens, the rolling hills of Devon brought welcome relief.  Good weather meant that morning activities – gentle exercises and mindfulness – could take place outside, with birdsong in the background.  After breakfast two of our therapists, Emily and Theresa, led our group therapy sessions. Much of this retreat was spent outdoors enjoying the beauty of natural surroundings, with trips to Dartmoor and the beach, where some members enjoyed a dip in the sea.

The retreats allow for deeper bonding, and shared living is an opportunity for members to find out more about each other, to learn about each other’s different cultures and values, and to appreciate differences.  That includes different styles of cooking: breakfast one morning was Cameroonian-style eggs and sardines, and on another morning an Iranian mix of eggs, tomatoes, yoghurt, dill and homemade bread.

Meet our two new therapists

“Joining Room to Heal is like a dream come true.  I can see every day how the therapeutic community not only helps break the isolation of trauma survivors but also how supportive the staff are of each other.”

Two new therapists, Hannaa and Bert-Jan, started at Room to Heal this summer and have settled in so well.  Find out more here.

Garden to heal

We now have a herb garden at our office in Mildmay Community Centre. Here and at Culpeper Garden it’s been time to harvest our delicious vegetables and salads.  Beni, our gardener, has started to run gardening workshops.  The latest was a seed bomb workshop teaching members how to sow wildflowers wherever they’re needed.  See more on seed bombs here.

New beginnings

Anna and Suzie, our caseworkers, continue to support our members in their day-to-day lives. Recently they’ve helped ten members enrol onto courses as diverse as floristry, vehicle maintenance, business, foundation access to university, interpreting and beauty therapy.

Will you Cook to Heal?

After launching our Cook to Heal fundraising campaign this summer, we’re a third of the way towards meeting our target of £1,000.  Will you help us reach our goal?

Cook to Heal is fun and friendly.  Invite friends and family to a meal cooked by you on a budget of just £3 per person. And in return for a delicious meal and good company, ask your guests to make a donation to Room to Heal. For our starter pack, with a sample recipe and handy tips, email info@roomtoheal.org or click here.

What’s next?

We’re looking at what Room to Heal wants to do over the next five years.  Have our members’ needs changed? Do we need to change? Do we want to expand?  Should we share our proven model of community and group therapy more widely? We’ve talked to members of our community, carried out research into trends and needs, and met with lots of other organisations, including Helen Bamber Foundation, Mind, Refugee Council, Waterloo Community Counselling, Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Centre, Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS), and Refugee Action.  Some interesting partnership ideas have come up.  Now it’s time to make decisions about what we plan to do over the next five years.  We’ll update you soon.

Room for you!

Are you interested in volunteering, doing pro bono work or fundraising with Room to Heal?  There’s so much more we can do with your help and we’d love to hear from you!  Contact us at info@roomtoheal.org and one of our friendly team will get back to you.

Thank YOU!

A huge thank you to all our friends, supporters, volunteers and members.  Your support means our Room to Heal community for survivors of torture and trafficking can continue to thrive.  Thank you for all you do.

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