Thursday, April 3, 2014

Emma Thompson opens the new Camden home of The Helen Bamber Foundation


October 21, 2013

Emma Thompson (President) & TJ Birdi (Executive Director)
“A wonderful space, for a wonderful organization” – HBF Client.
On Wednesday 15th October the Foundation hosted an event to officially open our new office building and to thank everyone who made it possible. Photos of the event can be found by clicking here.
Led by BDG architecture + design and Dovetail furniture consultancy, alongside Out of the Blue and other generous contributions from over 25 companies and individuals (listed below), a new and inspirational working environment has been created with our clients’ needs at its heart. The building includes traditional work space with comforting doctor’s rooms, as well as flexible therapy spaces.
Our Executive Director, TJ Birdi (pictured above), said in her speech on the night: ‘Every chair, every table, every wall paper, every idea that was brought to us resonated with our thoughts of holding our clients, staff and volunteers at the centre of everything that we do. It is their place as well as ours.’
What a wonderful space,’ wrote one of our clients in our guest book, ‘feels very welcoming, calm and bright. Really uplifting energy and space. I feel calm and at peace in this new environment.’
Actress Emma Thompson, our previous Chair and current President, officially opened the building. She spoke of Helen Bamber as ‘the incarnation of intelligent compassion’ and said supporting the Foundation is ‘not about being good, or noble, it is about being connected with each other’. Emma told attendees ‘I feel pretty much safe everywhere – but people who come here do not feel safe anywhere but here. Their homes are not safe, their families are not safe, and their schools are not safe. This place means safety and it is an irreplaceable quality. People come here full of anxiety, and they begin to calm down and they begin to be able to feel safe. From that point, people can begin again.’
The event was well-attended, with guests from the companies involved, as well as staff, trustees, volunteers and some supporters of the Foundation. Staff provided tours around the new building, discussing the history of Helen Bamber’s work as displayed on a large timeline along one of the corridors. Some of the Foundation’s short films were also played for guests.
The building would not have been possible without the help of the following companies and individuals who generously contributed over 65% of the whole project cost in pro-bono services, time and gifts. ‘The Helen Bamber Foundation is an amazing organization and it’s been a delight to work with such talented and caring people’ said Gill Parker, Joint Managing Director of BDG architecture + design, ‘the support from the contract furniture industry has been fantastic and helped us to realise our vision for this unique space.’ TJ Birdi added, ‘we are so grateful to them for giving us a sense of pride through a home that embodies everything that we stand for’.


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