Psychotherapy Annual Report – 2022 / 2023

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Spring/Summer 2023 Newsletter

As a charity focusing on adolescent mental health and wellbeing, our tagline is that we’re ‘Here for Young People’. Of course, it’s much more than just a tagline. It’s about being present in a way that answers young people’s needs and helps them find solutions that work.

We know we can’t just take a guess at what those needs are, or develop services in a silo. So, some of the most important work we do is consulting and working with young people to make sure our services are valuable, effective, and accessible to everyone, especially those who are traditionally more difficult to reach.

A wonderful development in our young people’s involvement work has been an increasing focus on supporting their personal development. Often, when someone has experienced significant life challenges and had space to reflect on what’s important, they can then continue to grow going forwards.

One of our aims is to give young people a better understanding of what is within their control and what isn’t. By supporting them to release anything that is out of their control and to focus on their strengths and potential, we help them identify and embrace new and exciting opportunities.

Our Young Ambassador programme is a great example of this. It offers a supportive, innovative, and creative space for young people to volunteer on a chosen project and, at the same time, develop their leadership skills. Brandon Centre provides a safe space to help them work out who they are, what they want and need in life, and time to think and plan their next steps.

Time and time again our Young Ambassadors have shown how amazing their journeys continue to be into further studies and employment. Many of them come back to help us support the next generation of Young Ambassadors. We also provide important training opportunities across the charity for young management trainees and placements in our counselling services and family and parenting programmes for students training to qualify as clinical psychologists and psychotherapists.

I hope you enjoy reading about how we’re supporting the next generation of leaders as well as our other exciting Brandon Centre news, including how to help us win a Tesco Community Grant and a wonderful interview with our new young patron, comedian Grace Campbell.

Wishing you all a reflective and inspiring summer.

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Brandon Centre – Runner up for Tesco Community Grant 2023

Brandon Centre recently took part in the Tesco Community Grant Scheme in Camden stores. Our local community voted for our project. We were runner up and kindly received £1,000 from Tesco.

This additional funding helps us reduce our counselling and psychotherapy waiting times further enabling us to see more young people in a more timely way to prevent longer term issues.

We know we make a difference to young people’s lives and to our local Camden communities, so we are extremely thankful to everyone who voted for Brandon Centre in stores.


Grace Campbell fundraiser raises over £9000!

On the evening of 9th November, Brandon Centre’s very own Young Patron Grace Campbell treated a fantastic audience to a night of fun-filled comedy and fundraising.

We are so blessed to have Grace on our team and we’re excited to tell you about our amazing fundraising achievement on the night.

Thank you to every single person who showed up and supported our cause, as well as those who could not make the event but who still donated.

£9000 is a considerable amount for our charity and every penny will be put towards supporting even more young people through our mental health and wellbeing services in Camden and Islington


A celebration of Sexual Health at Brandon Centre

53 years of compassionate trailblazing

We’ve always felt privileged to be able to continue the innovative work pioneered by our founder, Dr. Faith Spicer. In 1969 she combined contraceptive advice with counselling and psychotherapy to provide a specialist service that put young people’s needs at its heart.

In an average month in 2022, Brandon Centre saw over 200 young people for contraception provision and advice, including free condoms, pills, patches, coils and implants, pregnancy testing & counselling, and STI diagnosis and treatment.

Read our story

Julia Brown – International Women’s Day

Julia Brown

Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

This is such an important day for me. So many women and girls continue to face barriers to fulfil their potential. In these unprecedented times, young women face unique challenges in relation to their confidence, self-esteem, wellbeing and mental health. In the first three months of 2021, young women were more likely to experience some form of depression than any other group. The need to support young women has never been greater.

I grew up in London, studying and feeling truly at home in a variety of multi-cultural and inclusive school communities. At the current challenging time, I appreciate more than ever the freedom, encouragement and support I have always had access to develop my leadership skills, values and most importantly support myself and others to grow. For me it was critical to be able to participate actively and from a young age in Brownies, Girl Guides, DofE, sports teams, youth clubs and as one of the first girls in the Combined Cadet Force. I was also welcomed into many charities as a young volunteer.

I trained and worked with many women as a nurse, midwife, health visitor supporting so many vulnerable young girls and women in East London and Haringey. And undertaking an MSc in Public Health at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, sponsored by the Department of Health Women’s Unit, was a key turning point for me, learning so much from participants from developing countries. Learning, supporting and being with culturally diverse girls, women and their communities continues to be central to my life.

How does your organisation support girls, young girls and women in the community?

Brandon Centre is such a special charity, based in Camden. We have been providing services to young people for over 53 years. In the late 1960s, our founder Dr Faith Spicer became concerned by the number of young women struggling with stigma and shame of pre-marital sex and pregnancy. She established a new model of service for adolescents, years ahead of its time in the way it combined contraceptive advice with counselling and psychotherapy. Today we continue to review, grow, and develop our young people’s adolescent services to ensure we best meet our current young people’s needs. We support young girls and women in the community in many ways. These are just a few examples:

Arsenal Girls Kicks Programme: Arsenal in the Community has been part of the national Kicks Programme since 2006, with the aim of keeping young people away from anti-social behaviour, drugs and crime. In 2019 the team secured additional funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust and Islington Giving to extend their Girls programme, in collaboration with Brandon Centre and other community organisations, with the aim of engaging females between the ages of 8 and 17. Osira Imoedemhe, is Brandon Centre’s sports psychologist on the programme and says “Performance and wellbeing are very much interlinked. So we look at the person as a whole and try to support them, not just at football, but in all areas of their life: at school, at home and with friends in their lives at that time as well as structured sessions on important topics: Purposeful Practice, Resilience, Mindfulness, Growth Mindset, Communication, and Awareness.”

‘BWell’ Reaching Communities Coaching Programme: we run the ‘BWell’ coaching service to support young people self-manage their wellbeing funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. This new service runs alongside our existing psychotherapy, counselling, and sexual health services to enable young people get support at the first sign of issues impacting their wellbeing. This is an important as we continue to see increasing numbers of high-risk young people with unsupported mental health needs. I am so proud of our newly recruited experienced and inclusive coaches, the majority being intergenerational women coming from diverse and bringing varied inspiring and lived experiences.

This builds on a pilot funded by Camden Young Foundation. Initial benefits included better sleep hygiene, improved self-esteem, greater emotional awareness and regulation and more confidence with communication and relationships.

John Lyons Counselling Service: This service funded by John Lyons, provides a ‘light touch’ counselling offer for vulnerable young people aged 12-25 years living in Camden who would not think, or be confident, to self-refer for emotional support and for whom statutory support is not reaching or appropriate. This helps prevent young peoples’ emotional issues deteriorating. This is an integrated service that sits between our sexual health and mental health service. We offer immediate emotional and motivational support, increase the young person’s likelihood of engaging in conversations of a wellbeing/mental health context in future and provide a bridge to/and from more in-depth therapy if needed.

In January 2022 we started to see an increasing number of young women coming to Brandon Centre who had been sexually assaulted. This new service has been instrumental in supporting many of these and other young women facing trauma, anxiety, and other challenges in a timely, sensitive and supportive way.

MindfulSteps: This is a new inclusive pilot programme funded by London Youth and commenced in February 2022. The programme involves a weekly series of innovative and enjoyable walks for anyone between the ages of 16-24 years living, studying or working in London. The sessions are created led by Brandon Centre with young people to support young people’s mental health, wellbeing, increased exercise and holistic selfcare. The walking is planned on guided routes around our special Kentish Town Community, highlighting points of interest with a special LGBTQIA+ interest along the way.

The sessions include gentle exercise, outside in open spaces which help to reduce anxiety, deepen connections with nature, support more reflective and coaching conversations. I have been participating in this pilot and have been so enjoying meeting our young women and trans young people. We continue to learn so much together through our developing and engaging inclusive conversations.

Emma Saunders – International Women’s Day

Emma Saunders

Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

My Dad was my hero – he always taught me that I could achieve anything that I put my mind to, he encouraged me and by believing in me, he helped me to believe in, and value myself. He was also a very just man, believing in equity and respect for all and was a huge supporter of women’s rights and International Women’s Day.

Like my Dad, International Women’s Day is important to me because it provides an opportunity to celebrate girls and women and what they can, and have achieved. It is a day to recognise the difference that women and girls are making all over the world, as leaders in government and business and also in their local communities as we continue to strive for equity, respect and opportunity for all women.

How does your organisation support girls, young girls, and women in the community?

Brandon Centre has been supporting young people for over 50 years and we continue to put young people at the heart of everything we do. We provide a welcoming and safe space, at the heart of the community, for girls and young women to access sexual health and mental health services to meet their individual needs.

What do you think has been your impact last year supporting girls and young girls in Camden?

Our new Young Peoples Leadership Board was formed at the end of 2021, following the development and facilitation of engagement work with young people over the previous 12 months. The Board has provided a platform for young people to share their ideas and views about the work we do at Brandon Centre and to work with us to co-design and co-develop our services. It is also a space for young people to discuss issues that are affecting them locally and to influence the development of new services that can support girls and young women locally in Camden.

The members of the Board are currently all young women, who have been instrumental in the design of the Board, ensuring the voices of young women in Camden continue to be heard.

Arsenal Girls Kicks Programme back on the pitch after lockdown

Arsenal in the Community has been running the national Kicks Programmes (run by 92 professional football clubs across the UK) since 2006, with the aim of keeping young people away from anti-social behaviour, drugs, and crime.

In 2019 the team secured additional funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust and Islington Giving to extend their Girls programme, in collaboration with Brandon Centre and other community organisations, with the aim of engaging females between the ages of 8 and 17.

We spoke to Osiro Imoedemhe, Brandon Centre’s Sports Psychologist on the programme, Jack Ironside, Senior Manager for Social Inclusion at Arsenal in the Community, and Pavlos Rossolymos, Brandon Centre’s Head of Mental Health, about launching the new initiative during lockdown, and how it’s playing an important part in improving local girls’ lives.

Q: How did the Girls Kicks programme come about?

Jack: “There’s quite a lot of research that shows that a particular set of issues stop girls from taking part in sport, particularly in their teenage years. These include body changes, puberty, and increased levels of anxiety. We found that there didn’t seem to be many sports-based interventions in the community which aimed to tackle all those issues together.

There are so many factors that contribute to a young person making positive changes. So we were keen to build relationships and develop partnerships with experts, like Brandon Centre, that would help us build a programme that tackles those issues in a meaningful way.

We officially launched in February 2021. Some of Arsenal’s top women’s players and around 100 girls joined us at the Arsenal Hub, which is the home of Arsenal in the Community, next to the Emirates.

But then lockdown hit, and we had to re-think everything.”

Q: How did you carry on during lockdown?

Pavlos: “We moved the programme to online workshops. We tried to focus more on wellbeing and activities that kept us connected with those girls for whom Arsenal is a bit of a lifeline, a safe haven.”

Osiro: “Performance and wellbeing are very much interlinked. So, we look at the person as a whole and try to support them, not just in football, but in all areas of their life; at school, at home, with friends. So that was our focus during lockdown.”

Jack: “It turned out to be a good relationship builder. Now we’ve got a foundation, and a partnership with our community organisations that’s really quite strong.”

Q: What does the programme look like now you can meet face to face again?

Jack: “The Girls Kicks team is a mix of experienced professionals, like Osiro, or Becks, our professional coach. Then we have one or two participants who have come through the programme as assistants and young leaders. It’s a really nice dynamic, and makes for a really credible program, that’s safe and well delivered.”

Osiro: “There are structured sessions where we cover important topics, but then if someone’s having a tough week, or even a good week, and they want to have a one-to-one chat with me, I’m there for them.

The structured sessions will cover 6 key themes that we believe every young person should receive training on. They are: Purposeful practice, Resilience, Mindfulness, Growth Mindset, Communication, and Awareness.

We’ll look at how each of these relates to playing football, as well as to other aspects of their life, like being intentional and purposeful on the pitch but also when studying for school, how to be aware of your surroundings on the pitch, but also when staying safe as young women out walking down the street.

They’re important skills that will hopefully help them flourish and thrive in whatever they choose to do. We’re making sure that as young women, they feel supported, and that they have the tools they need to succeed.

Pavlos: “I think the beautiful thing about the programme is that the wellbeing element is weaved in so well. It’s part of the football practice, but it builds on the girls’ resilience and wellbeing in a really integrated way. Osiro is there, kicking a ball around with them, but also available to talk to them privately about anything that’s bothering them.”

Q: What benefits have you seen so far?

Osiro: “It’s absolutely invaluable. The girls are getting so much out of it. Even from the five-minute chat that I have with them before they play a game, you can see the immediate difference in their performance, because they’re thinking about being purposeful, or giving feedback, or communicating.

It’s also allowed the girls to be more open to talking about things that aren’t going well in life, things that they want to work on. Some girls are very happy to ask for a chat, so I think there’s a reduction in stigma as well.

This project is so special because it bridges the gap between wellbeing and performance. I think it’s a very safe space for them. They’re free to just be themselves.

Even the friendship groups that are being created are special, with girls from completely different walks of life becoming best friends.”

Q: What hopes do you have for the programme in the future?

Jack: “It’s quite a long-term vision that we have for the Girls programme. Our existing programmes have a strong pathway that helps young people move from being a participant to being a volunteer and playing an active role in the community, to becoming a leader.

We want that for the Girls programme too. We’re working on providing a pathway that gives the girls the same opportunities to develop careers in football or sport.

If it looks like a young person might have an interest in coaching, we ask if they want to come along to help out with the younger ones. That often gets the ball rolling, and more often than not, they really enjoy it. It’s empowering and a confidence boost for them.

Then if they go on to become a coach, it sends a really positive message to the younger members and peers in the community, that ‘if they can do it, I can do it’.

It’s also important that we keep a sense of community. Under the London United banner, which brings together all the professional London clubs, we’ve purposely tried to build programmes so that, no matter where you live in London, there’s that doorstep provision. And the idea is that you then develop a really strong sense of community for those girls.

We want it to be more about the person than the player. It’s really the social outcomes that we’re interested in.”

When is the Girls Kicks Programme on?

Friday evenings and Saturday mornings at The Arsenal Hub and other locations (Covid dependent).

The programme is supported by funding from the Premier League Charitable Fund, The London Marathon Charitable Trust and Islington Giving.

For more information, contact: at Arsenal

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Brandon Centre joins Open House London 2021

On Saturday September 4th Brandon Centre opened its doors and garden to the public as part of the Open House London Festival 2021.

Our team of staff and Young Ambassadors welcomed over 50 visitors interested in finding out more about the history of our building and the welcoming environment it allows us to provide for the young people in our community.

One of this year’s themes at Open House London was the link between architecture and wellbeing, promoting mental health with mindful architecture, and visits to undiscovered places.

“What was lovely, and a bit different, about the visits, was that instead of talking about the architecture of the building we talked about what goes on inside the building,” said Julia, Brandon Centre CEO.

“We talked about the importance of community-based services that help young people deal with their mental and sexual health and how, with our support, they can go on to become responsible, fulfilled, and healthy young adults.”

Our beautiful house dates back to the Georgian period. It was donated by the well-known philanthropist, Brandon Cadbury, after being so impressed by our founder, Faith Spicer’s, ground breaking work with adolescents in 1960s London. As a thank you, we named the charity after him in 1984.

We still enjoy a close relationship with the Cadbury family through The Oakdale Trust who very generously support our work, and Brandon’s daughter, Olivia Tatton-Brown, is our very special Patron.

Read more about our 52-year story here:

Read more

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Brandon Centre wins funds for ‘BWell’ coaching pilot

We’re thrilled that our bid to the National Lottery Community Fund – Reaching Communities England programme has successfully secured £197,400 in funding over two years, for Brandon Centre to run our new ‘BWell’ coaching pilot.

The Reaching Communities programme offers funds for organisations that work with their community to help them thrive. One of the aims of the fund is to ‘help more young people reach their potential by supporting them at the earliest possible stage’ which is exactly what our ‘BWell’ pilot hopes to achieve.

‘BWell’ will use a coaching model to help young people self-manage their wellbeing. It will run alongside our existing psychotherapy, counselling and sexual health services as an early access intervention to help young people get support at the first sign of issues impacting their wellbeing.

This is an important step for us at Brandon Centre as we continue to see increasing numbers of high-risk young people with unsupported mental health needs.

Unfortunately, long waiting times mean many of them can’t access the support they need for months and many of them get pulled into negative circles which further entrench their problems.

Sadly 76% of parents say that their children’s mental health deteriorated while waiting for support.*

Our ‘BWell’ coaching service aims to tackle this problem with a preventative wellbeing model available to those young people most at risk of becoming lost between the support already widely available in the community, and the high thresholds in place for statutory support.

“The crucial factor of our pilot will be the rapid access to trained coaching support alongside the development of a peer support community,” says Julia Brown, Brandon Centre CEO and professional Coach. “As our Young Ambassadors have said ‘There’s a different energy’ to this support.”

“It’s not our intention to take people away from counselling, however rather to provide and test a different intervention that will encourage early presentation,” says Julia. “By encouraging vulnerable young people to seek early coaching support we can make sure they are signposted to the best service, which in turn will mean fewer young people end up in crisis and long-term counselling.”

“Our model not only seeks to prevent mental ill-health and poor wellbeing, but it will ‘hold’ those young people already on our waiting lists in a more safe and resilient space, giving them access to a strong and positive community of professionals and peers.”

Wellbeing coaching helps people set and achieve their own goals, using health coaching techniques with a focus on helping people understand what they want in life and how to take practical steps towards achieving this.

We’re not new to this model of coaching at Brandon Centre. Between April and September 2021, we ran a small coaching programme to local young minority groups, funded by the Camden Youth Foundation.

Anecdotal feedback from the programme is extremely positive, with the young people involved reporting benefits such as better sleep hygiene, improved self-esteem, greater emotional awareness and regulation, and more confidence with communication and interpersonal relationships.

The model is also a good fit with our Brandon Way work and our commitment to involving young people in the co-production and design of our services. We talked to our young people about what a coaching conversation would look like, and the response was resoundingly positive.

They thought it felt empowering. Above all, they want someone to really listen to them, not judge or give instructions, not to try to ‘fix’ the past, but to help facilitate their own thinking and help them find their own solutions.

BWell will be our first major initiative to take this forward combining the successful ‘open door access’ of our sexual health services with the support of our therapeutic mental health expertise, and our young people’s enthusiasm to get involved and provide peer-to-peer support.

Find out more about our mental health services here:

Find out more

Or contact us at:

*A new era for young people’s mental health, YoungMinds report.

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UCLH @ Brandon Centre New model combines medicine, psychology, and youth support

Last October, we launched a new integrated service with the NHS adolescent team at University College London Hospitals (UCLH). We spoke to Lizzie Wortley, lead Paediatric Registrar, and Joe Burton, Project Manager about what makes this new service so innovative and important.

What is UCLH @ Brandon Centre?

The service, known as the UCLH Adolescent Service, will be funded by the UCLH Transformation Fund until March then, for another two years, by the UCLH charity. The service will see 13 to 18 year-olds with complex medical needs living in the Camden and Islington area.

“We’ll see young people from a viewpoint that’s not always available elsewhere,” says Lizzie Wortley, Paediatric Registrar.

“For example, the young person that gets referred in with a physical problem like a headache or tummy pain, but for whom medical screening tells you there’s no major red flag.”

It’s not necessarily clear what the mental or physical health needs are of these young people. For many, this results in them becoming ‘lost in the system’, while their symptoms continue to impact their lives.

The service will see those young people from a 360-degree professional perspective which will assess their wellbeing from a medical, psychological, and social point of view.

“We’ll look at how much of the problem is driven by function, and how much of a role stress, anxiety, or other factors are at play in the way those symptoms manifest themselves,” says Lizzie.

“In this way, we can help them manage their physical symptoms by helping them understand the interaction of everything that’s going on in their life.”

Where is the service based?

At Brandon Centre, 26 Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 3LG.

A big benefit of working with the UCLH team at Brandon Centre is that it allows us to make these important services available within the community.

“It’s a level of accessibility that you just can’t create in a big tertiary hospital,” says Lizzie.

What’s also innovative about the service is that it brings together several professionals, with different skills, into one space. Young people will be seen at Brandon Centre by a multidisciplinary team including paediatricians, psychologists, youth workers and occupational therapists.

Together, the team will be able to make decisions about the best course of action there and then, avoiding the potential delays of referrals down the wrong route.

“It’s about giving practical and pragmatic support without having to have 5 or 6 conversations with different professionals who weren’t in the room and didn’t see the interaction for themselves,” says Lizzie “That’s why this service is going to be so helpful.”

“This is a really exciting opportunity,” says Julia Brown, Brandon Centre CEO. “By offering this service we’re pulling secondary care out into the community. We’re able to look at the young person holistically and support their health and wellbeing, whether it’s a short-term challenge or a longer-term issue.”

“We hope that by making healthcare accessible in a welcoming and friendly environment, young people will realise that talking to professionals isn’t this big scary thing,” says Lizzie.

“We want to encourage them to take a proactive and positive approach to their own health, which will have important benefits for them as they reach their 20s and 30s. And this, in turn, benefits the healthcare system as a whole.”

How can people access the service?

“Young people will generally be triaged in from the GP referral lists at first, but we’re also working with schools and other third sector youth groups to see if we can open up additional sources of referral, as well as make sure that young people who could benefit from the service are seen and heard,” says Joe.

When is the service available?

Tuesday afternoons @ Brandon Centre

If you know someone who could benefit from the service, or to find out more, contact:

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Autumn / Winter 2021/22 Newsletter

We ended the year with a flurry of activity to submit tenders for our most important contracts and I’m delighted to confirm that we’ve been successful in securing our Mental Health – Minding the Gap – contract with Camden, our core borough.

It’s a fantastic start to 2022, and I’d like to thank everyone involved in putting together such a strong bid. The contract will run for five years, with the opportunity for an extension for up to a further four. This allows us to continue our excellent Counselling and Psychotherapy Service, our Systemic Integrative Treatment (BC-SIT) Service and our support for The Hive youth hub.

The funding means we’ll be able to reach more local young people struggling with poor mental health and provide them with accessible and practical support at a critical point in their lives.

When putting together such bids, I’m reminded not only of all the wonderful work we do but also of the resoundingly positivesupport we receive at Brandon Centre, from our team, trustees, ambassadors and volunteers, as well as the strong partnerships we’ve developed with our commissioners, funders and partners.

So, I’d like to start 2022 with a heartfelt Thank You to everyone.

And there’s plenty more to look forward to. With our core services running successfully, we’re able to look at more ways to support the young people in our community. For example, we recently secured additional funding from The Mitchell Charitable Trust to provide psychological therapies for UCL students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and from John Lyon’s Charity to offer counselling to young people accessing our Sexual Health services.

We also won our bid to the National Lottery Community Fund – Reaching Communities England programme which means we can launch our exciting new wellbeing coaching pilot, ‘BWell’.

Our work with Arsenal in the Community is going from strength to strength, our innovative new community service with UCLH is underway, and our Young Ambassadors are making amazing progress ensuring that we’re developing our services in a way that meets young people’s needs. There’s always much more to mention, so I hope you’ll read on with interest.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!

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