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Local charity opens new yoga therapy centre for children and adults with disabilities in Islington – 23 November 2017

24 November 2017

The UK’s only yoga therapy centre specifically for people with disabilities, comes top of 18 charities to win a new home on Eden Grove (N7), due to successful partnership with Unite Students and the London Borough of Islington.

Today is the official opening of the MahaDevi, Roberta Sumar Yoga Centre (MahaDevi Centre) for children and adults with special needs. The Centre is unique in that it is dedicated to offering yoga therapy treatments for a broad range of complex conditions including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, learning difficulties and children with terminal illness.

Therapist working with a child at the centre

The MahaDevi Centre also supports partner organisations across the borough of Islington offering one-to-one treatments and group sessions at day-care centres, hospices, community centres and after school clubs.

Daniel who is nine years old and has Cerebral Palsy, has been receiving yoga therapy at the Centre since 2015. His mother, Janka said, “Yoga has had an immensely positive impact on Daniel’s life. It has helped him not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. His mobility has improved, he has become stronger on his feet, more balanced and he has less falls. He is also calmer and more together in himself. Yoga has helped him build resilience and brought him a lot of joy. He absolutely loves his sessions and we can see how he excels in sessions week by week. There is nothing better for a parent then to see their child happy, peaceful and progressing step by step.”

The Centre has moved from its old HQ at 102A Holloway Road and now operates from the newly refurbished commercial unit in Stapleton House on Eden Grove, a Unite Students property that opened in September 2016 and house around 750 students on Holloway Road. The commercial unit has been refurbished to the Charity’s specifications and leased by Unite Students at a heavily subsidised rent.

Unite Students managed an application and tender process to find an appropriate not-for profit organisation to rent the space, with 18 organisations applying for use of the retail unit. Six were shortlisted and attended a meeting with the panel. The panel consisted of representatives of Unite Students, a current university student and Islington Council representatives.

The MahaDevi Centre were finally chosen due to the combination of having a significant positive impact on the local community and the opportunities that having access to the retail space would enable them to realise. Alongside their core aims, they will now also have the capacity to run commercial yoga classes, which will create a fund available to low income families to pay for therapy classes.

In addition, there will also be opportunities for Stapleton House student residents to volunteer at the Centre, and benefit from access to mindfulness classes and yoga sessions.

The charity’s new HQ in Stapleton House;

  • Is much larger at 180 m2 vs their previous centre which was 56 m2
  • Offers up to 150 hours of therapy a week, an increase of 98 hours of contact time at their old site

Danisa Nenova, Lead Senior Practitioner and Founder of the MahaDevi Centre said,

“We have been delivering this pioneering Yoga Method – Yoga for the Special Child – to families across Islington for the last six years. Our new centre will allow us to offer up to 150 one-to-one sessions per week, that’s three times more contact hours than we were able to provide at our previous centre. It’s fantastic being able to work with even more people because we know what a difference it makes in our community. We are immensely grateful to Unite Students and Islington Council for supporting us to help so many deserving families across the borough. This initiative really showcases what local business, working with local authorities, can do to help support charities like ours and the wider community.”


Simon Jones, Operations Director at Unite Students said,

“We believe that every young person should have access to the support they need to help them realise their full potential. For some people with complex needs, this can be expensive or require travelling a good distance from their home. We understand that maintaining this service here, in the community, is life changing and that’s why we are so proud to be supporting the MahaDevi Yoga Centre.”

For further information, please contact:

Unite Students

Allison Parkes-Norris, External Communications Manager Tel: 07715 798151
Tom Milsted, External Communications Executive Tel: 07935 504692