The London Centre, located near Finsbury Park, was built in 2004 after an extensive fundraising appeal generously supported by our donors. Designed by the architect Paul Hyett specifically with survivors of torture in mind, the centre holds over 250 volunteers and paid staff who provide medical consultation, a range of therapies - including psychotherapy, counselling, physiotherapy and complementary therapies - in addition to Medico-Legal Reports to help with asylum claims and practical help and advice with housing and welfare.
The £5.8 million building – framed in limestone and lilac paint on the outside, complete with soaring glass windows and stripped wooden flooring within - is intended to be a safe and welcoming environment.
The needs of the patients, and of the staff who aid their rehabilitation, were paramount as architect Paul Hyett, a former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the company he chairs, RyderHKS, began work mapping the centre.
From the beginning it was important to understand that this building was going to be receiving people who were in varying degrees of distress. Much architecture is brutal and angular - even aggressive. We therefore had to guard against using shapes, or materials, with unpleasant connotations. ~ Paul Hyett
Corridors are curved and wherever possible, naturally lit to avoid an institutional feel. Consulting rooms are larger than those in previous premises, something considered to be of great importance given that the emotions often explored in counselling sessions - anger and fear - can often feel overwhelming in confined spaces.
The land to the rear of the centre was developed to hold the Natural Growth Project, which was opened to clients in January 2010 after a long period of planning and development. Housing the garden within our London centre has tremendous benefits including the ability to offer a wider range of therapies to torture survivors in one setting.
Besides direct help to survivors of torture the organisation also works to educate the public and decision makers about torture and its consequences, and advocates for torture survivors with the aim of changing the legal and political landscape improving, wherever possible, conditions facing survivors of torture.
The London centre serves as the headquarters for the regional centres and is the largest of the centres.