Easter is a time of new beginnings, and we are certainly celebrating the new beginning we have in our brand new building. At the time of writing we are still not certain of our opening date, but work is in progress on the interior fit out of our new family centre.

Many of you have followed our progress over a great many years, and some have just joined our journey, not even knowing the old building existed, but I think we can all be grateful for this new beginning in the life of the Ivy Street Family Centre as we look forward to welcoming families back into our permanent home at 54 Ivy Street.

Over the course of the last two years we have all been through so much, and it feels like Ivy Street has been hidden away, online, in various community spaces and in our homes, of course. Throughout the pandemic we have worked tirelessly to maintain relationships with our families in any way we could. We were so keenly aware of the isolation of the lockdowns in 2020 and kept up regular online coffee mornings, which were noisy, chaotic, fun and poignant - very much like any other Ivy Street session!

As soon as were able to open up in person sessions we did, meeting in the chilly marquee in the gardens of St Johns Hoxton. Lockdown Babies started and, for some parents, it was the first time they had been able to meet up with other new parents and start to socialise their babies. It was a very strange time for us, as the sessions were certainly far from ideal, but it reinforced the importance of community and a space to socialise for new families. We have maintained in person sessions ever since and now meet in two local venues whilst we await the completion of our centre.

An outdoor music session at our covid safe sessions in the church gardens.

During this time, Claire and Angela have been working from home, and, away from the distractions of cute babies and Mums who need a chat, we have had time to reflect, learn and develop. We have been able to re-assess the operations of the charity and, along with our wonderful Trustees, we feel that we have done some important work in preparing for the future.

Angela has been working hard on learning how to run our marketing and fundraising side. Claire has undertaken training is Safeguarding and Mental Health First Aid and Chloe has been developing as our Play Leader as she runs and manages the service from a variety of venues. None of this has been easy for any of us, but the pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for us to retreat and grow in hiding.

At Easter, as we meditate on new beginnings, we are confident that, as Ivy Street emerges from both the pandemic and our exile from our homes, we are stronger, more resilient and better prepared for the future.

We hope that you find comfort in the new beginnings all around us at Easter and we look forward to welcoming you to our new building very soon.

We are very grateful for the continued support of all our donors, and send a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to both the building fund and our running costs.

With love from Angela, Claire, Chloe and Victoria.

Happy Easter to all our supporters.