The Baytree Centre

Changing aspirations into realities – we inspire and support women and girls to gain the skills, confidence and wisdom they need to thrive in life, work and family.

A Social Inclusion Charity Supporting Women & Girls in London

The Baytree Centre is an educational charity for women and girls, based in the heart of Brixton, south London. An integral part of the community since 1991, we provide holistic support through personal development activities and workshops, mentoring, coaching, as well as English classes and integration support for newly arrived migrants and refugees.

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Our Vision

For all women and girls to achieve their potential and lead fulfilled lives.

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Our Mission

It’s our mission to inspire and support women and girls to gain the skills, confidence, and wisdom they need to thrive in life, work, and family.

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Our Values

Love & Respect
Person-Centred & Family Oriented
Safe & Welcoming
Professional & Trustworthy
Collaborative & Positive

Baytree’s unique approach provides networks, opportunities and skills that empower women and girls. By supporting the women in our community, they improve economic and social inclusion for themselves and their families.

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What Is Mentoring?

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Into School Program

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What Our Women Dream About

Our Impact

Through our Women’s and Youth Services and Volunteering and Youth Mentoring Services we’re able to develop personal and employability skills, improve academic achievement, improve wellbeing, and increase aspiration in women, girls, refugees, and migrants.

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Amara’s story

I grew up in Africa. Not able to go to school. I worked – helped my mum. I was only 17 when I married.
Me, my husband and my two children came to the UK because we dreamt of a future for our children, for them to get a good education. When I first came I couldn’t read and I couldn’t help my children with homework like English and maths. My third child was born in the UK but me and my first two go to BAYTREE to learn English together.

Since my friend brought me to BAYTREE, with the help of my mentor I am now able to read and write! I can read texts and emails.
I am very grateful for BAYTREE and my mentor. I am no longer scared of people and can ask for help if needed. My mentor helped me with my CV and I have a cleaning job now.

My plan is to keep studying and get my dream job in healthcare. Then I’d love to pass the Life in the UK test and get a UK citizenship.

Mariam’s Story

My name is Mariam. I am 22 years old and have been attending The Baytree Centre since I was six. My family, originally from East Africa, migrated to the UK nearly 20 years ago. Like many other migrants, my mother struggled with English. In her homeland, she had only received education up to the UK equivalent of Year 7 before fleeing the country due to war. Moreover, she had been traumatised by witnessing the brutal killings of four of her brothers just before her escape.

Upon arriving in the UK, my mother joined Baytree for ESOL courses. Baytree supported her by providing a safe environment to learn new skills. She describes it as a home away from home and a place that fostered a familial atmosphere. Baytree boosted her confidence, allowing her to connect with people from diverse cultures. Besides learning English as a second language, it offered her the chance to study and learn from other migrants about their cultures and experiences. This enabled her to meet new people and gain new experiences. The tutors at Baytree were particularly supportive, instilling the confidence she needed to thrive in a diverse educational setting.

Growing up, I faced my own challenges. After moving to the UK, our family structure broke down and my parents separated. This turmoil made me aggressive and emotionally withdrawn. I often fought with my peers and was frequently sent home from school. I was bullied for lacking a father figure, which is culturally stigmatized in my community. Despite being referred to behavioural therapy, I resisted, feeling misunderstood and labelled as a troublesome child. Eventually, my mother enrolled me at Baytree, where I engaged in activities like ballet, cookery, art, Spark, and mentoring. Baytree has played a pivotal role in both my life and my mother’s, providing extensive support and opportunities.

Baytree has offered me a wealth of opportunities, from travel and volunteering to meeting inspirational individuals. It has been a place of lifelong friendships and relentless support, helping me discover myself during some of the darkest moments of my life. I currently volunteer there, assisting with the Junior Spark programme and empowering young teenagers.

My life has been marked by various traumas. At 12, I was assaulted, leaving me disconnected and isolated, having pushed away many friends and family, this resulted in my being angry and not engaging with school. Baytree was my refuge, and eventually, I found the confidence to open about my experiences. The support from the staff encouraged me to seek help, which included mentoring to help mend my relationship with my mother.  They also gave me extra academic mentoring sessions that helped me get my GCSEs and not drop off education at a key time in my life.

Growing up in Brixton, I have lost many friends to knife crime. In 2019, I lost my best friend to a tragic case of mistaken identity. He was stabbed on our estate, an event that left me angry and depressed. Baytree provided a safe space, surrounded by friends and focused support during my GCSEs, including tutoring and assessment reviews.

Baytree also assisted me in securing my first job as a youth worker at a local youth charity, boosting my confidence in working with young people.

I recently graduated with a 2.1 in Childhood and Youth Studies from Uni. The support from Baytree was crucial during the stress and anxiety of university life, especially following a traumatic event in my first year that nearly led me to drop out. With their guidance, I managed to excel beyond my expectations.

Since graduating, I have been working as a Behavioural Support Worker in a Pupil Referral Unit and as an Outreach Worker, helping young girls with behavioural and emotional needs. I plan to return to university in September to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work.

With the unwavering support from Baytree, I have become the resilient and motivated young adult I am today.

Fatima’s Journey

Fatima started her journey from Afghanistan at the age of 9. She witnessed her mother dying after being shot and her father decided to leave their home for his daughter’s safety. Fatima has travelled by foot, train, boat and bus and this journey took 2 years to complete.

Fatima and her father were placed in a hotel in Crystal Palace, along with 500 other refugees. The Baytree Centre got in touch with the manager and together we extracted all the information of girls that would benefit from our Programme. As most of them were waiting for their paperwork to be processed, money and transport was a big issue. The Baytree Centre was able to fund their travel to and from Brixton. On 16th November, Fatima and 7 other students registered on the Into School Programme, where they would attend daily English and Maths classes from Monday to Wednesday.

Due to the uncertainty of living in a temporary accommodation, Fatima struggled to secure a place in a secondary school. She attended the Into School Programme for a term until she was told she was being sent to North Yorkshire. We kept in touch with her and she expressed her struggle to apply for schools and she was being refused helped, too. We therefore contacted her local council and supported her application process. She is now in school and her father has said she is thriving and they feel happy she is accessing education. We still keep in touch with her and she is always updating her ESOL teacher on her school reports.

 

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For any questions regarding the application process, email women@baytreecentre.org.uk.

Sparklers Club

supports girls in their final term of Year 6 and in year Year 7 with the transition from primary to secondary school; Tuesdays from 4:30 – 5:45 pm  

Junior Spark Club

for girls in years 8-9; Thursdays from 4:30 – 6:00 pm. 

Spark Club

for girls in years 10 and above; Wednesdays from 5:00 -7:00 pm.