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Nya’s Story

“If I could describe Baytree in three words, it would be: amazing, welcoming and we’re like a family”

The Baytree Centre, in the centre of Brixton, supports women, girls and their family from across south London. A social inclusion charity, Baytree works to support women and girls who face multiple barriers of such as poverty, racism and English language skills. Baytree’s education and personal support programmes cover the broadest possible range of activities, from mentoring, to zine club, to Zumba! The centre focuses on providing both academic and personal support to help women and girls gain the confidence to take control of their own journeys.

Mentoring is a significant component of the Baytree Centre’s ethos and programmes. Both WONDER and our partner Baytree recognise the importance of mentoring as a tool for successful empowerment. By creating individualised support programmes Baytree works to help women and girls overcome the barriers they face in a supportive and welcoming environment. Nya is a testament to the incredible work of Baytree Centre; she emerged from being an attendee to a leader within the Baytree community!

Mentoring helped me when I was younger because it supported me with doing homework and if I struggled with anything in school. Now because I am 18, I’m not in education anymore. It’s helped me get a job, start applying for university and helped me find other opportunities that are out there for me.

Nya volunteers at the Baytree Centre alongside her other activities in the Spark youth club. For girls, age 13+ Spark club focuses on developing the girls’ leadership skills and empowering them. Spark works to help Baytree girls grow in confident and comfortable young women who can not only support their own dreams but the dreams of others in their communities. Last year, the girls even organised ‘Sparking change’, a leadership event that Nya served as panel host at!

For any younger girls coming in the future to Baytree, I would say just take part in as many activites as you can, be yourself because no one here is judging you and if you ever feel down you can always talk to us older girls we’ll always be here for you.

The work of empowering spaces like the Baytree Centre have invaluable impacts on the lives of those who participate. Having a safe space surrounded by people you trust who support you not only helps women and girls to grow exponentially in their personal confidence but gives them the tools to break down the barriers they face. WONDER and the Baytree Centre are working to transform the lives of women and girls living in South London!

I feel like I’ll be involved in Baytree for a long time.

Nya is a mentor and peer leader at Baytree Centre, Brixton.