July 21, 2021No Comments

New additions to the team

In the last six months we have added some exciting new people to our team. Afua Adom joins us as our very first Patron and we have three new Trustees. Bethan Mitchell, who designed this wonderful website and our fancy new logo, Ann-Marie Nye, who works as a press officer for a church network and Anya Sizer, a new local Councillor and community activist. We are thrilled to have them all on board as we look to the future of Ivy Street in our fabulous new building.

This is the press release to the local paper announcing our new Patron:

Award-winning Afua Adom announced as patron of Ivy Street Family Centre

Afua Adom, an award-winning broadcast journalist, has been named Ivy Street Family Centre’s first ever patron.

Afua, presents for African TV channels ARISE News and YANGA! TV and hosted the TV show Sustainable Energy for CNBC, wrote a column for The Voice Newspaper and was Editor-in-Chief for Glam Africa Magazine. She is also regularly seen on BBC, ITV, CNN, Channel 5 as a contributor.

The journalist has been a long-standing supporter of the charity, which has been running 40 years, since she began attending the centre with her daughter Naima, in 2012 to access services the centre provides.

“I was on maternity leave and my daughter was one-years-old when I began attending Ivy Street,” said Afua.

“It felt so nice to go to a place that felt like your own living room, a home away from home. When I started working part-time, we went every Thursday until my daughter was about three or four-years-old. Claire and Angela are just so lovely. At the time, I had lots of things going on. I was a new mum, then became a single parent. The support of other mums was brilliant. First it was just being a mum, then a working mum, a single mum. That building was old and decrepit. The toilets were freezing, but it just felt like home.”

Ivy Street Family Centre is run by three local mums and sits in the heart of Hoxton. It caters for preschool and primary school-aged children and their families. The centre runs drop-in play sessions, lunch clubs and Growbaby, an initiative that works with Hackney’s statutory services to support vulnerable families with baby clothes and equipment. 

It’s current home, an old pub building, is currently being renovated to provide an accessible, affordable and flexible space to support even more families.

On how she feels about being asked to become Ivy Street’s first ever patron, Afua says she feels privileged.

It is such an honour to be a patron,” continued Afua. “I’m so excited to support charity that supports mums, children and families during these times. Post-pandemic, the need for Ivy Street will still be there because people have lost jobs, their income, others are going back to work. There’s so many lockdown babies that have been born. It’s really exciting to be a part of the work that Ivy Street Family Centre does. I can’t wait to cut the ribbon to the new building.”

Angela Large, Executive Director, added: “We’re so pleased to have Afua onboard as our first-ever patron. She is a wonderful champion of diversity and knows what it means to be a Hackney parent; how difficult that can be when you’re alone, and first-hand the great support that Ivy Street provides our families.”

Ritz Steytler, our new Chair of Trustees

We are looking forward to working with Afua as we get into our wonderful new building and we start to expand our work.

In another change, we welcome Ritz Steytler as our new Chair of Trustees, replacing Andrew Large who has safely steered us through the last 13 years, firstly as Senior Pastor of Hoxton Vineyard and then as Chair of Trustees of The Ivy Street Family Centre Trust. We are all very grateful for his dedication and wisdom, and he is staying involved as Treasurer for now. He is glad not be his wife's boss any more!

We hope you stay safe and well and enjoy the summer. We are excited to share the progress of the new building over the coming months, so please keep an eye on the website for updates.

With love from Angela, Claire, Chloe and Victoria.

The team stand socially distanced in the building site of the new building. Angela is taking the selfie and everyone is wearing hard hats with the word Uprise on them. Uprise are the contractors doing the build.
Big smiles as we visit the new building.

December 16, 2020No Comments

Christmas Greetings

Well, what a year this has been for us all! We had to stop our play sessions in March but we stayed connected with our families with online coffee drop-ins and craft packs for home creativity.

Growbaby continued to function from Claire’s spare room! Generous donations via our Amazon Wishlist and funds from the London Community Response Fund have enabled us to support newborn babies and their families throughout the year. We have since moved Growbaby out of Claire's spare room and into the offices of Hoxton Trust, a local Legal Advice charity, another temporary home for us until our building is ready next year.

A small baby sits on a red mat and plays with some small plastic toys. He holds a rattle up with his right hand.

In September we re-opened our sessions in a marquee in St Johns church gardens. Socially distanced play sessions have their challenges, but it was great to be able to offer something for people to do, and our families were so glad to get out and meet others in the same boat.

We were alert to the fact that many people had given birth during lockdown and were missing out on the normal socialisation with other new parents, so we launched Lockdown Babies and gathered together new parents and their babies to meet and share experiences. It was the first time many of the Mums had met anyone else in their situation. What a joy it has been to provide a safe space for these families to meet and find support and friendship.

Alongside all this our building is making amazing progress. The old pub front is still standing, but everything else has come down. We have a new basement and ground floor going in as I write. Please go to Our New Home page for more information and how you might help us achieve a new home for Ivy Street.

A wide shot of the building, the front wall is propped up with scaffolding, but the rest of the building has been demolished. The sun shines on the site which is surrounded by fencing to keep everything safe.

So we head towards 2021 with so much uncertainty, but glimmers of hope, and faith that we will get through this by pulling together. Lockdown Babies will continue in the New Year and we look forward, perhaps, to some more outdoor play and fun as the weather improves.

We wish you a safe and happy Christmas with many moments of joy for you and your families.

The Ivy Street Team x

54 Ivy Street,
London, N1 5JE

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