Search

Maytree Suicide Respite Centre’s director Natalie Howarth on how her Finsbury Park charity reaches out to those at risk

PUBLISHED: 10:47 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:50 13 September 2017

Maytree director Natalie Howarth sits in one of the bedrooms in the Maytree shelter. Picture: Catherine Davison

Maytree director Natalie Howarth sits in one of the bedrooms in the Maytree shelter. Picture: Catherine Davison

Catherine Davison

Charity director Natalie Howarth has worked to help people for most of her life. She talked to the Gazette while showing us around Maytree in Finsbury Park – a respite centre for people at risk of suicide.

The garden at the Maytree shelter in Moray Road, Finsbury Park. People who feel they are at risk of suicide can visit for a four-day respite stay. Picture: Catherine Davison The garden at the Maytree shelter in Moray Road, Finsbury Park. People who feel they are at risk of suicide can visit for a four-day respite stay. Picture: Catherine Davison

Maytree’s director Natalie Howarth started working for the charity in 2011 as a project manager. With her background helping people deal with homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, she was a natural choice.

Alongside colleagues and a small army of volunteers, Natalie helps people at risk of suicide.

“Our job is about reconnecting with another human being,” she told the Gazette. “Conversation is everything. The key for us is that people reflect once they are here.”

Maytree, in Moray Road, Finsbury Park, offers suicidal people a one-off, four-night stay to get support. The charity was founded in 2002 and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

At Maytree there are no taboos: feeling you can be open helps build trust. For this reason, Natalie says, volunteers must be good listeners.

"Our job is about reconnecting with another human being. So conversation is everything. The key for us is that people reflect once they are here"

Natalie Howarth

It’s been a long journey to Islington. Natalie was born in Singapore – her father worked for the Foreign Office and while growing up she lived in countries as diverse as Swaziland, Kuwait, Yemen, Thailand and Japan.

She got into the voluntary sector at 23, supporting people who had mental health issues and hearing impairment.

“I enjoy working in the voluntary sector because it’s not for profit,” she said.

“And I enjoy working at Maytree because it makes a significant difference to people’s lives.”

People from all over the UK go to Maytree. An evaluation by mental health centre the Tavistock Clinic in 2012 found nearly 90 per cent of Maytree guests reported feeling less suicidal, while nearly a third said they no longer had thoughts about taking their own life after staying there.

Thank-you letters and cards at the Maytree shelter. Details have been pixellated to protect the identities of those who sent them. Picture: Catherine Davison Thank-you letters and cards at the Maytree shelter. Details have been pixellated to protect the identities of those who sent them. Picture: Catherine Davison

“I’m proud of the fact such a small charity has been living for 15 years, even though we’ve gone through tough times,” said Natalie.

Maytree counts Sir Trevor McDonald among its supporters. The veteran broadcaster, 78, visited Maytree to mark Red Nose Day in February and delighted Natalie and her co-workers by agreeing to host an appeal for them on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday to mark World Suicide Day.

It will air again tomorrow just after 3.25pm.

If you are feeling suicidal or you know someone who is, do not hesitate to call 020 7263 7070 or email maytree@maytree.org.uk to talk to the team.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

The O’s were forced to make a late change to their starting XI, but it failed to prevent them from securing a second consecutive 1-0 away win

11 minutes ago

A controversial licensing policy is set to be signed off tonight introducing a midnight curfew for new pubs, clubs and bars – unless landlords can convince the council they won’t be a nuisance.

09:14

A man from Stamford Hill has been charged following a police probe into sales of knock-off medicine.

08:01

A Canonbury crook who used his stolen moped to do a series of phone thefts across Islington and Hackney was yesterday jailed.

Yesterday, 23:06

In the week of the Carabao Cup final read the first in our series detailing previous Arsenal League Cup finals by talking to the people who were there. Kicking off is loyal long-term fan Martin Wengrow – who is in his 65th year of supporting the Gunners and has watched nearly 2,000 matches – as he recalls the 1968 Wembley showpiece against Leeds United.

Yesterday, 21:45

National League: Chester 0 Leyton Orient 1

For the majority of Arsenal fans a Wembley cup final is something to be savoured. However a long-serving season ticket holder from Islington, Glenn Allen is so disenchanted with Arsene Wenger he is boycotting the Carabao Cup showpiece against Manchester City on Sunday. Read on for his explanation which will shock many but perhaps strike a chord with some.

Yesterday, 18:10

Business chiefs have welcomed the news that the Night Overground service is extending to Canonbury and Highbury and Islington from Friday.

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists