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Mary’s story 7                                                                                          September 2015

The people behind Mary’s

We’ve shared lots of things about the work we do and the groups and organisations that use us as their base, but we haven’t yet introduced the people behind Mary’s – those who do the work that keeps us going.  In fact, our team of 20 staff members is relatively small but, fortunately, we also have volunteers who work with us to enable Mary’s to make a positive difference to the thousands who come through our doors.  Over the next few months, we’re going to take the opportunity to introduce some of them.  Please say hello when you next see them!

If you see a black-leather-clad biker parking his motorbike outside Mary’s, that will be Balazs Csernus, our Chief Executive

It may be unusual for the Chief Executive of a charity to ride a motorbike, but it means that I can make the journey from home to work in double-quick speed.  It’s too frustrating to be sitting in traffic jams when there’s so much to do at Mary’s.  Having worked at St Mary’s for a number of years, supporting the many different community projects, there was always a lot going on – but, since Mary’s was set up as an independent charity in 2008 and I was made Chief Exec, our ambitions are even higher, so we’ve no time to waste.  Fortunately, I do enjoy the ride! Fortunately as well, I’m a keen DIYer and happy to get my hands dirty.  Since we’re a small team, whenever we have a challenge, we all roll our sleeves up – so when we had a problem with our wifi, I was to be seen scrabbling around with the wires.  And when one of the rooms used by our Youth Club members needed brightening up, some of our team came in at the weekend, armed with paintbrushes.

Otherwise, I’m completely occupied with making sure we deliver the services we have promised to children, young people and community groups in Islington and planning how to improve and develop new offerings.

The only way I switch off is with my family.  I’m originally from Hungary but have studied and worked in the UK for over 20 years so – with a British wife and 2 young daughters – I’m thoroughly rooted here.  And what we do is walk!  In the past, I’ve been able to enjoy long walks in the Himalayas, the Alps and the French Pyrenees through dramatic landscapes – and now I’m starting to introduce my own girls to walks closer to home…in the Lake District, the Peak District and North Wales.  Together, we enjoy the challenge.

A determination to meet a challenge is important for me with my family and also at Mary’s where I do feel privileged to have a great team of dedicated people.  Together, we can get there!’

A #summerversity of fun

Interested in a course in Driving Theory?  Or First Aid?  Or how about a Masterclass in Hip-Hop?  Or a workshop on how to create your own enterprise? These were just some of the courses on offer from our Youth Club over the summer break, thanks to our partnership with Islington Summerversity.
Most of the courses were fully booked – with lots of young people signing up from lots of different backgrounds.  We were delighted that we were able to provide them with a range of new skills they will be able to use in the future, whether in their personal lives or on the work front.
And the good news for anyone who missed the summer sessions is that we’re going to repeat some and offer a range of new courses.  So that we can decide on the best ones to roll out, we’re asking our young readers to fill in a survey.  It’s only 10 questions and should take 2 minutes max.  All entries go into a draw for 3 Westfield vouchers .  Don’t miss out!

I’ll take it!
Missed any of our previous newsletters? Fear not – we now have an archive! Show me.
Thinking about our October half-term Play Scheme?

Then you’ll be interested in some of the feedback we got from the parents of the children who joined us for the summer Play Scheme.

‘My kids told me how much fun they had and they made lots of new friends’

‘My children wanted to go and were annoyed that I didn’t book them in for more days.  This really has been the best Play Scheme that they’ve ever been to – and they’ve been to many!’

‘My daughter is very happy whilst attending the Play Scheme and never wants to come home.  She’s also safe and it’s great value for money’

‘I’m able to go to work knowing that my daughter is in safe hands – and she loves it’
We’re taking on board a couple of suggestions you gave us in your feedback forms – so the October Play Scheme should be even better.  We’ll soon be taking bookings but, in the meantime, to register your interest in a place, just drop us an email or call Alison on 020 7704 1895.

Are you on Twitter?

We have actively started updating our Twitter account @Marysforgood and @MarysYouthClub with all the latest information about us. Please follow us. We don’t bite, promise!