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Holloway Road's MahaDevi, UK's only special needs yoga centre, gets flash new premises – for just £1k a year

PUBLISHED: 10:17 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:35 23 November 2017

Yoga practitioner Denisa with Tyler, 17, demonstrating a yoga technique to the panel during the application process for the new building MahaDevi went on to secure from Unite. Picture: Unite Students

Yoga practitioner Denisa with Tyler, 17, demonstrating a yoga technique to the panel during the application process for the new building MahaDevi went on to secure from Unite. Picture: Unite Students

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Islington is notorious for brutally high rent. But a brilliant yoga centre for people with special needs has been given a brand new premises for just £1,000 a year.

As reported in the Gazette, the MahaDevi Yoga Centre is the only one of its kind in the UK. It opened in Holloway Road two years ago.

Led by Denisa Nenova, the centre provides yoga therapy for people who have conditions such as autism, cerebral Palsy and Down’s syndrome, as well as learning difficulties and terminal illness.

When Unite Students opened the Stapleton House student flat block just up the road in Eden Grove last year, one of Islington Council’s planning requirements was to house a not-for-profit community group at subsidised rent.

After 18 applied, Denisa Nenova’s centre was chosen by Unite and the council, and has moved into the new premises. It now has the capacity to run commercial yoga classes, which will subsidise special needs therapy classes for low-income families.

Ahead of the official opening tonight (Thur) Denisa said: “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 and Islington 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.”

Nine-year-old Daniel has cerebral palsy, and has been receiving yoga therapy at the centre since 2015.

His mum Janka said: “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 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.

“There is nothing better for a parent then to see their child happy, peaceful and progressing step by step.”

Unite will also be offering students in the block the chance to volunteer at the centre.

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