Islington suicide centre plans to expand

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From the Maytree Centre website

A respite centre for the suicidal in Finsbury Park is launching a new fundraising initiative to expand and raise awareness in the area.

Maytree Centre allows those who are at risk of committing suicide to stay for a maximum of five days, offering a safe space and time to talk to sympathetic volunteers.

Natalie Howarth, Manager of the future South London centre, said: “It’s a very simple idea; we support people, and we listen to them, and we give them the time and the space to talk about their thoughts, their feelings, their problems and their issues.”

Jo Vavasour, Head of Development, explains why the new centre is vital to Maytree: “We’re at a transitional point now where we need to evolve and we need to go forward. It’s very much Maytree’s vision to replicate this service.”

Plans to acquire a second centre have been in discussion for several years, originally aiming to open in April of this year, but were delayed. Ms Howarth says: “Because of the recession and because of funding problems we had to slow it right down,” now Maytree is “financially stable,” they can take the next step to helping suicidal people across London.

The campaign will revolve around both community and corporate outreach programmes, with the support of local NHS organisations. These programmes include creating links with local businesses for donations, and providing support for community hubs such as churches or schools, to allow them to help those with suicidal thoughts.

Recent research by Tavistock Clinic and Portman Centre NHS Foundation, has shown that Maytree has a lasting positive effect on over 90 per cent of those who stay at the centre.

Ms Howarth makes it clear that “one Maytree isn’t enough,” with Ms Vavasour adding: “It’s the one thing that unifies everybody. When someone feels like that it doesn’t matter what job you’ve got, doesn’t matter what your life is like.”