For our members to be fully empowered through attending our groups, and having the choice and opportunity to involve themselves in how these groups are run, in a manner which is totally aligned with their own definition of mental health well-being and recovery.
BowHaven is a grassroots, co-produced, mental health charity. Our story started back in 2001 when the council wanted to close the centre, which was then being run by social services.
A group of service users which included our founder Rita Dove, put together a petition signed by large numbers of the local community, and also embarked on a protest outside the Town Hall, so that the centre could remain open.
Eventually, the service users were invited to put their case forward at a Cabinet meeting. The case was successful and the centre was allowed to remained open.
Then, in 2003, thanks to a grant from the Monument Trust and an NHS Health and Social Care Award for Outstanding Achievement, we became a user-led service and user-run community association called Sun at Bow.
Sun at Bow became a registered charity in 2006, and to herald this new era the name was changed to BowHaven.
The first professional member of staff was subsequently employed in 2008, which signified another change in our history from a user-led to a co-produced service.
From humble and simple beginnings of 2 groups in 2001, BowHaven now has a full timetable of 11 co-produced groups covering a wide range of key mental health areas. We have also firmly established ourselves as one of the main mental health organisations serving the needs of the Tower Hamlets community.
Our groups are all long term groups, because at BowHaven we want members to not only become well through attending our centre, but crucially and just as importantly remain well.
BowHaven also operates from the principle that each member is the ultimate expert in his or her own recovery and wellbeing. This means that members have the choice around how long they access the groups for, and how often they attend.