Happy Christmas to all our friends and neighbours. Thank you for your support over this past year. Our hope is that we will continue to provide you with a warm welcome and meet your needs over the coming year. With all good wishes for 2019 with love from Mary’s staff and trustees.

Mary’s Pre-school

Childcare Service Manager Sharon Ellis writes…

‘A really busy start to the autumn term saw 20 new children join the Pre-school. It has been a full and vibrant pre-school year so far.’

What have the children been doing?

This month the children have been creating their Christmas wish lists by creating collages. This has led them to write letters to Santa and make a post box to post Christmas cards for their friends. We were able to extend this experience by visiting the Postal Museum in Clerkenwell. The children absolutely loved it! Here the children were able to learn how to sort parcels and letters using pulleys and slides, to drive a postal van around the town to post letters and use role play to help customers weigh their packages. Eighteen parents joined us on the trip.

For the remainder of the Christmas season the children have been practising Christmas songs that they will perform during our service in the church with staff and Reverend Caroline Shuttleworth, to parents and family members; in addition to a short performance with the stroke club after their Christmas lunch. This is an exciting time to put the smiles on others faces and share the joy of sharing and giving to others.

Raising funds for the Pre-school

Did you know that while shopping you could be raising funds for us? There are 1000’s of retailers now on #easyfundraising – if you think a retailer might be on there, they probably are! JD Sports, TK Maxx, Majestic Wines, Waterstones, Boots, Screwfix, Boden, Topshop, Halfords, Carphone Warehouse, iTunes etc. Perfect for all your Christmas gift shopping! St Mary’s Preschool Islington London gets a donation from every purchase you make! To find out more, visit: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/stmarysislington/

Volunteer time in the Pre-school

We are very grateful for the help of volunteer parent and science teacher Miss Kelly who has been giving science lessons every Thursday. The children have been learning about different reactions, causes and effects and have really enjoyed doing experiments such as ‘Rainbow Milk’, ‘diffusion’ and ‘gravity’. A big thank you goes out to her. 

She shares a bit of her story with us below.

St. Mary’s Pre-school has been an amazing choice for both my daughter and son. We moved to London from The States for a new career; and having no friends or family living in the UK, we were searching for the right school that would help our kids find a community of friends while getting a great experience in a classroom. The staff at St. Mary’s Pre-school are wonderful, and provided my children with amazing role models who excel at providing a nurturing environment for a growing brain. 

They especially helped my daughter mature emotionally over the year she was enrolled. Before St. Mary’s her emotional state went from calm to crying when faced with difficult situations that caused sadness or frustration. Sinita, her key teacher, really helped Heidi learn to get calm quickly, and over time Heidi has learned to control her feelings in a way that’s is more appropriate to each situation. Even I have learned some great techniques from the staff that has helped me become a better parent. 

Since St. Mary’s Pre-school is located in the neighborhood center we have also developed a great community from our extracurriculars. Some of the things we enjoyed included Sparky Songs music class, North Ballet, Little Kickers football, and Link Chinese Academy children’s Mandarin classes. I have also had the opportunity to have some me time by joining the gym based at Mary’s which I use whilst my children are in the pre-school. St. Mary’s has become one of my favorite things about London. I’m so glad we found St. Mary’s Pre-school, because it has made the UK feel like home for myself and my children.

– Kelly Winther

Mary’s Youth Club

Has continued with a broad range of activities for young people based in the Neighbourhood Centre on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and outreach work in four local schools and outings at other times. Activites include sports, gym, help with applications,

hanging out, cooking, DIY, trips out and projects such as Keeping it Wild focusing on looking after the planet and Active Leaders, a girls lead programme combining sports and volunteering. Winning Voluntary Action Islington’s Volunteer Team of the Year 2018 in November was a big encouragement.

How Social Action Impacts Young People

Mary’s Social Action is all about young people being truly active citizens by getting involved in issues that affect all of us. It helps young people realise the value of working together to make a difference and brings them closer to the communities they live in. We find that when we help young people to make a small positive contribution, they are far more willing to get involved in a bigger project to bring about change. Over the next few months, our members will be working on two social action programme, one looking at protecting our environment and the other looking at promoting women in sports leadership. 

January 2019 & Beyond

January’s Tuesday Trips

  • 8th January, 2019 – Ice Skating

  • 15th January, 2019 – Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

  • 22nd January, 2019 – Sleeping Beauty Pantomime

  • 29th January, 2019 – Trampolining

February Half Term 18 – 22 February, 2019: there will be a programme of onsite activities and offsite trips, visit our web site for more information.

Volunteer Thank Yous

As the year draws to an end, we would like to thank all of our volunteers and partners for continuing to helping to make Mary’s stronger. Special thanks to The Manna, The Pilion Trust & Euphorium Bakery – 79 Upper Street for their continued support to make volunteering opportunities available for young people, and to our long term volunteers & students Agatha Owusu, Barbara Albers, Maddie Hayden, Alton Brown, Ola Ojikutu-Akintunde, Regina Kaefler, Lucy McVeigh, Will Bright, Peter Olaoye, Aramide Okekunle & Ruth Holtom. It is our pleasure, on behalf of the staff at Mary’s, to formally express our gratitude to all Mary’s volunteers & partners, to give special recognition to you, as you inspire us each day. Thank you! 

Help Raise Funds for Mary’s Youth Work

We were really pleased to received a further three years of funding from BBC Children in Need but with the ending of several of our current funding streams in March 2019 we need more funds to be able to continue and grow the impact of our youth work . We are looking for financial support from individuals committed to the local community with a heart for disadvantaged young people. We would also be keen to hear from anyone that would like to help us with fundraising. Please contact Balazs, CEO at admin@marys.org.uk or simply donate online at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/helpislingtonyoungpeople

Mary’s Meeting Rooms

Refurbishment at the back of the Neighbourhood Centre

Building work has been taking place for the last few weeks at the back of the Neighbourhood Centre where the old changing rooms were. A new office, Youth

Club and staff facilities will be created along with two individual showers. We are particularly happy now, to be able to provide showering facilities for Gym users with one regular shower and one wheelchair accessible shower. We want our local community to enjoy

this great facility to its full. We have a very affordable membership package for community members as well as for Personal Trainers. See our website for information on joining our Gym

What goes on in the Crypt?

As well as being used by the church on a Sunday for childrens’ groups there is a huge range of activities going on through the rest of the week. 19 different anonymous self help groups meet regularly in St Mary’s Crypt plus several different music, dance, exercise and language classes for children and adults, training events and Islington Legal Advice. The self help anonymous groups include several alcohol and drug addiction groups as well as support groups for under earners and business debtors. 

We were interested to learn about the impact on individual lives of the people attending the self help groups that meet here and were delighted to receive 95 responses to our survey conducted by the bookings team during this autumn. Here are some of the headlines: Over 60% of respondents attend meetings here several times each week. 96% reported that attending the meetings improved their quality of life. Over 67% reported that it improved their employment status. Just under 90% said attending the meetings improved their social contentedness. 86% felt it improved their family relationships and 93% felt it improved their mental health. 

We remain committed to supporting these groups as well as exploring new initiatives that can help to address local needs. We have recently piloted two new partnerships: Grandparents Plus, a charity supporting grandparents who are legal guardians for their grand children. We host a monthly brunch meeting to facilitate the development of a peer support group and to introduce them to the services Mary’s has on offer for their grand children. We also supported a new volunteer run art and social group aimed at helping local retired elderly people who might be socially isolated in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. We are also exploring the possibility of a partnership with Islington FoodCycle, a charity that works to reduce food waste whilst serving vulnerable members of the local community with healthy nutritious meals.


Copyright © 2018 St Mary Islington Community Partnership, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
St Mary Neighbourhood Centre
St Mary’s Parish Office
Upper Street, Islington
N1 2TX

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