Stories of Positive Change

Baytree’s mission is to support women and girls to gain skills, confidence and wisdom to improve their life chances. Explore the following stories of resilience, achievement, and positive change from the women and girls who access our services.

The Baytree Centre INTOSCHOOL Programme aims to provide support to at-risk migrant girls aged 12-18 with their integration into the UK.

The programme provided education and activities to foster girls’ interest and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Over the course of the year, 90 girls aged 14 to 20 have taken part in this project. Through 580 hours, Baytree has provided these girls with targeted employability and personal development support and opportunities.

The Baytree Literacy Programme aims to foster a love of reading and writing. By providing engaging literacy support and workshops to girls from underrepresented communities in London, we empower our girls to think creatively, and use their voice.

At Baytree, we believe in the importance of mentoring to help people make lasting changes in their lives. Our trained coaches provide guidance, resources, skills and accompaniment to participants on our program helping them improve their executive function and mindset and take control of their lives.

Baytree’s Youth Mentoring Programme provides one-to-one support to girls aged 10 to 18 with their academic development (with a focus on English and Maths) as well as their personal development


Wendy’s Story

Wendy has been living in the UK for almost 20 years. She has a husband with very limited English, and she is a mother of a 9-year-old with communication and developmental needs. The child has an Education Health Care Plan in place. The Education Health Care plan explains the individual needs and allocates resources and processes that meet those needs on a day-to-day basis. When we first started working Wendy was very worried about her daughter’s education, lack of social skills and the possibility of her not achieving her full potential. The daughter hardly spoke except quietly to her mother. Her daughter was shy, timid, withdrawn, and anxious. Mum was unsure how she could support her daughter and what support she was entitled to. In addition, Wendy was not confident about asking questions or challenging the school. She struggled to understand what her child’s special educational needs were and felt responsible for her daughter’s lack of academic ability. She often felt dismissed and undermined by professionals because her English was not good enough. She was worried that her daughter would be mistreated and bullied and isolated because she was shy. Her daughter struggled to contribute to discussion for fear of making mistakes.

Initially Wendy was supported by the social mobility coach to go through her daughter’s very detailed Education Health Care plan and successfully applied for the Disability Living Allowance. This meant the family can afford to pay for additional activities to support the daughter. Then with the assistance of Lambeth Information and Advisory Service a meeting was held to discuss what support could be received from the school and different activities and opportunities that would help her daughter to develop. It was identified that both mother and daughter would benefit from social interactions and assistance in planning how to interact in a variety of settings. The coach assisted Wendy to plan meetings with the school, consider what exercise could be done at home to reinforce her learning and to seek social opportunities for her daughter. Wendy was assisted to share her thoughts and ideas in English at all times.

The daughter was helped to become an active member of Baytree and was given a mentor. She was also signed up to Mathletics and participates in all activities available, both at Baytree and in the community. She is encouraged to record her thoughts and share her feelings. The coach accompanies Wendy to meetings and talks through information shared to ensure mum understands fully what is going on, whilst ensuring that she has her say and is able to articulate her experiences with professionals.

After nearly 2 years of working with Wendy she is growing in confidence. She has independently sought advice and support from the school and is more willing to represent herself to professionals. Her daughter has made huge progress both academically and socially. She is now speaking regularly and engaging with those around her, both adults and peers. She is actively participating in sessions at school and in Baytree, including mentoring and regular clubs but also participating in one-off events such as Vauxhall City Farm and Omnibus Theatre in Baytree. She has moved to a higher level in Mathletics and achieved above the set milestones in English and Maths at school.

When asked how she feels about the support received from Baytree Wendy said “Thank you so much to all at Baytree we have received lots of help and things are much better for me and my daughter. I would not have known what to do without my coach now we are getting ready for my daughter to go to secondary school and I don’t need to worry about her so much.


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.

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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.