Our History

We are a Camden based registered charity, proud to celebrate over 30 years of service to women who want to change their lives for the better.

 

Women + Health was started in the 1980’s by a group of local women from Somers Town who had decided that they needed an informal environment in which they could learn more about their health,  as well as,  access a range of holistic treatments for their physical, emotional and mental well-being. The concept of setting up the centre came from the results of a  survey in 1983,  which found that local women felt uninformed, un-empowered and needed a greater choice of services within a supportive environment.

Aided by the local authority and the then Greater London Council, the newly constituted charity rented the building in Carol Street, originally a public house serving staff from the glue factory which was situated behind it. LBC granted money to renovate the building and in January 1986 the centre opened its doors to the public - with just one massage therapist, a doctor and a counsellor. There was also a yoga class one evening a week.  A team of enthusiastic volunteers kept the centre going, running reception and doing the cleaning.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Community Fund awarded us a grant to further renovate the building and garden to become environmentally friendly, physically accessible and sustainable. We now have:

• Increased natural light with the addition of light shafts and a glass roof

• Solar electrics and low voltage lighting

• Non-toxic finishes

• Central lift and dual-flush toilets with low water use

• Fully disabled access

• Insulation (thermal and sound) material using recycled newspaper

To this day women have continued to come to the centre to heal, gather their strength, and to find support, information and companionship. Many of them face multiple challenges in their daily lives, including chronic health issues, mental health problems, learning difficulties, extreme poverty, lack of access to good education, bad housing, etc. Many are single parents.

We have crèche facilities at the centre, making it easier for mums with small children to access our  treatments.

In 2017 more than 700 local women collectively received 3,000 complementary and alternative therapy sessions, healthy living information and 3,200 counselling sessions.

In addition to our on site services, we visit housebound women in their own homes offering volunteer befriending and therapies – and we also participate in events held by other organisations and in health information roadshows.

Between May 2013 and May 2018 we ran our BLF funded Phoenix Project for survivors of domestic violence ,rape and for women who spend years caring for a member of their family, a disabled child, partner or an elderly parent – and we are currently seeking funding to continue this work. To find out more, please click here.

In 2017 we launched our new service, Healthworks Camden,  which takes affordable therapies to sites and organisations all over town – to where people work and play. To find out more, please click here.

We offer rooms for hire at affordable rates – to practitioners, counsellors and community organisations. To find out more, please click here.

In 2017 we opened our door to men, providing counselling and complementary therapies to both men and women between 5pm and 9pm on Thursday and Friday evenings.

All our services are offered at affordable rates or free of charge.

In a recent feedback initiative 100 % of women questioned said they would recommend W+H to a friend. And, indeed, many of the women who come to the centre have heard about us from a friend.

Women tell us that they value the opportunity to retreat – even if only for the odd hour – into the calm, restorative space we provide at the centre.

The small team which brought this organisation into life has grown to 11 part-time staff and a wider team of 45 practitioners, trainee counsellors and supervisors. We still rely on a team of trusted volunteers which supports all aspects of our work, including admin/reception support, planting window boxes, befriending housebound women, providing free CAM treatments and helping with outreach. Our trustees (all volunteers) govern the organisation with wisdom and insight.

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