20 Mar

Meet a volunteer…

Brian Huckett moved to Brook Green over 20 years ago. At a Christmas party he heard about WLAC and has been a supporter ever since. For the past five years, he has been volunteering as the Treasurer for the Brook Green Events Group.
Why do you support WLAC?
I support WLAC because it is a small, local charity which I feel is doing a worthwhile job with limited resources, efficiently applied. It is very transparent.
Heather (the CEO) and her personal dedication are great motivating factors. She has given a great deal of her life to the charity and its work. She is completely genuine.
And I have great faith in the power of talking therapies. The WLAC case studies show how therapy helps children and families who face the most incredible challenges. I always read the examples in the annual review. Also, I have personal experience of how therapy can help you cope and move forward in the most difficult times.
What do you do as Brook Green Events Group Treasurer?
We are lucky to have an excellent group of fundraisers who are very experienced at running events. I have a project management background so I enjoy helping behind the scenes so that that we know exactly who is attending our events, table allocations etc and of course keeping track of all the donations and ensuring that they reach their intended destination – WLAC’s bank account!
What has been your experience of volunteering for WLAC?
This is my first experience of being closely involved in a charity. It is quite different to the corporate world; there are no apparent power struggles or internal politics. Everyone is completely committed to the cause and pulling in the same direction.
WLAC has a low-cost administrative set-up. I can see that. Sometimes it can be frustrating. But they focus their resources on delivering therapy to clients. And that is where it should be.
What do you wish other people knew about WLAC?
That it exists! WLAC does such tremendous work and it is so important. They deserve to have a higher profile.
I also think that WLAC could encourage more of its supporters to become regular donors. The centenary campaign prompted me to set up a direct debit. Hopefully more supporters will do this so that WLAC can plan ahead and help more families.
28 Feb

Lightning Talks No.4

Thank you to our Trustee Meg Kaufman for organising our fourth Lightning Talks event kindly hosted by Vas and Rupert Ticehurst-James at their Chiswick home on 28th February.

It was another fascinating line-up of quick talks by local experts covering a wide range of topics; Emery Walker, Free Association, Keeping Carnival Safe, Job Satisfaction and How Walking Can Save Your Life.

It was also a chance for Meg to talk about WLAC and raise awareness about our work.

Thank you to everyone who supported the event.

26 Feb

Case Study: Ghosts in the Nursery

“In every nursery there are ghosts.

They are the visitors from the unremembered past of the parents, the uninvited guests at the christening…”

Parent-infant psychotherapist Yvonne Osafo works for WLAC. She presented this case study to the Trustees in February. It illustrates how she is helping one of WLAC’s clients to ‘evict’ ghosts from her nursery.

Collette (not her real name) was plagued by many ghosts from her past. Her own parents had suffered trauma before she was even conceived and Collette and her siblings were all taken into foster care. Whilst in care, Collette ran away many times and engaged in promiscuity. As an adult she was a victim of domestic violence and both of her own children were taken into care.

Collette was referred to WLAC by a domestic violence organisation when she was about 7 months pregnant with her third child. I met with Collette and her social worker. The social worker made it clear that it was his intention to take the baby into care straight after the birth. However, Collette wanted to fight for her baby. She said she was keen to accept every possible help in order to become a good mother. She engaged eagerly and attended regular sessions of parent-infant psychotherapy.

The initial focus of our therapy was to prepare Collette to fall in love with her baby even before she was born. This involved helping her to imagine what baby would be like and to make plans for her, preparing her to greet her baby and capture the first gaze. After the baby’s birth, the aim was to focus on the bond and the parent-infant relationship.

Collette went to court soon after the birth of her baby. The social worker was still making the case that mother and baby should be separated because of what had happened in the past.

I could see enough good evidence that with the right support, Collette could care for her child. I wrote to the court about Collette’s positive engagement in therapy and suggested that mother and baby should remain together with support. In my view this was in the best interests of the baby. The judge listened and ordered that Collette and her baby should be placed in a foster home.

This did not work out. Back at court, the judge said nevertheless, there had been improvement and that mother and baby should stay together. So they were placed in a mother and baby unit. Our therapy continued. Collette also had ‘Video Interaction Guidance’ support from the Tavistock Clinic. This involves using video feedback to help parents become more sensitive and attuned to their child’s emotional needs.

Collette and her baby thrived. The ‘scaffolding’ in place gave her the support she needed to look after her baby. The unit provided structure for her days with a simple timetable of activities. She knew that she was not alone. She had people she could trust to turn to for advice and support.

Collette is now back in her flat with her baby. The support work continues. At her weekly therapy sessions I have seen her grow in confidence and learn to think independently.

But the ghosts have not yet departed

In order to evict the ghosts from Collette’s nursery it is necessary to help her to revisit her early traumatic experiences, to recognise influences from her own past and to link them to her current functioning. That is how we can facilitate new paths for growth and development for her and her child. This is now the focus of our work together.

Collette is remembering her past: the abuse, the loss, the abandonment and the loneliness. She apologises frequently as she remembers the gruesomeness of her past. She is linking this with her current experience with her baby. She is committed to being the best mother she can be.

The work continues.

13 Feb

Motherhood, writing and art

Broadcaster, journalist and author Clover Stroud was ‘in conversation’ with artist Amy Shuckburgh exploring the many and varied aspects of motherhood at Olympia Auctions, 25 Blythe Road on 13th February.

Clover is currently writing a book on motherhood and Amy’s paintings and drawings as well as sculptures by Arabella Brooke on that theme were curated into a striking yet intimate exhibition at the gallery.

Discussions pivoted around the topic of motherhood –  exploring the question of identity and how motherhood reshapes you as a person; its ‘confusing pleasure’ – the physical and mental challenges, the resilience required, the nerves needed. Clover and Amy also discussed how motherhood affects creativity, and vice versa, with references to their writing and the art works.

Clover has written  ‘Motherhood is such a massive, strange process, during which absolutely everything in the world seems to happen, and also nothing at all. I struggle with that dichotomy a bit: no other activity in my life takes me from the pits of despair to the heights of joy and fascination, several times a day, sometimes several times an hour, quite like motherhood does.’

Isabel Taylor, a member of our Brook Green Fundraising Group said a few words about WLAC’s work. She highlighted the importance of providing counselling and therapy to local parents who face the inevitable challenges of parenting compounded by other serious issues in their lives and the challenges of managing on low incomes.

We would like to thank Olympia Auctions for hosting and promoting this inspiring event, Jeroboams for donating the drinks and Amy Shuckburgh, Arabella Brooke and Clover Stroud for donating their time, creative input and a selection of drawings and postcards for sale in aid of WLAC. Together with a collection on the night we raised £1,243. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the event.

18 Jan

Fulham Prep School

We are absolutely delighted that Fulham Prep School have nominated WLAC as their charity of the year for the second year running. To date, they have raised over £24,000 – an incredibly impressive contribution to their local community – as part of their ‘Giving Back’ programme.

On Friday 18th January, we were invited to attend their PTA meeting and listened to an excellent presentation about our work delivered by a group of pupils. We thanked the PTA for their hard work and successful fundraising and gave them insights into how their funds are used to help local children and families in need.

We were presented with a donation cheque which had just been received from a pupil called Sophie who had taken her own initiative to bake cakes and sell them at a weekend in aid of WLAC. Thank you Sophie!

We rely on the ongoing support and generosity of our local supporters. Thank you to all the parents, children and staff at Fulham Prep for raising awareness about our work and fundraising for us.

20 Dec

Christmas Party and Hampers

Our 2018 Client Christmas party was held on 12th December at Chelsea Methodist Church for the first time, which was very successful.

Client families were entertained by a fantastic shadow puppet show by Zannie from Ripstock Theatre (www.ripstoptheatre.com). We had our amazing ‘elves’ from GLG and JP Morgan and a wonderful arts and crafts stall run by the Junior League of London.

All the children who attended received an incredible box of gifts from Father Christmas, donated by Storystock, Notting Hill Prep, Acorn Nursery, Unicorn School, Willcocks Nursery, Works 4 U, Accor and JP Morgan. Thank you to Monica Miller, Susanna Bennet and their skilful wrapping team who prepared the boxes of gifts for each of our client children, including those who weren’t able to join us at the party.

This event would not be possible without our amazing, committed volunteers who sort presents, serve refreshments and join in the general Christmassy fun on the night. We appreciate the help that everyone gave, particularly at this busy time of the year.

For many of our clients, this party is a highlight of their year as they have the chance to socialise in a relaxed, safe environment and enjoy a private show! They gave us some tremendous feedback – both about the individual work they do with therapists and also commenting on the ethos of the whole organisation and the kindness of donors and volunteers.

In mid December, we received around sixty  splendid hampers containing treats and essentials that were donated and assembled by the Junior League of London. Thank you to JLL and the team of volunteers who kindly gave up their time to deliver them to our client families across Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea. This year we were also able to include  books that had been donated by Storystock and wrapped at the Kite Studios Christmas Event – big thank you to everyone!

02 Dec

Sweet stall

Aara, one of our youngest supporters, braved the winter cold to run a sweet stall in aid of WLAC at the Kite Studios Christmas Event in December. She set out her stall beautifully and it was very popular. She raised £24 to help local children and families. Well done Aara!

07 Dec

An Evening with Belloc

We are delighted to announce an exciting one -off event, organised especially for WLAC:

An Evening with Belloc – a convivial evening of timeless satire, wit and rhyme featuring the life and work of Hilaire Belloc

Presented by John Julius Norwich, John Bromley-Davenport & LAMDA actors, and directed by Judy Bromley-Davenport

The event will take place on Wednesday 31 January 2018 at St Paul’s Girls’ School.  Doors will open at 6.30pm, performance to start at 7.15pm

Please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/WLACBelloc2018 to reserve your seat or contact team@wlac.org.uk for more information.  Click here to download the WLAC Belloc Flyer

With grateful thanks to our sponsors Bective Leslie Marsh