A new nest for magpie minis

Even before lockdown we were fast outgrowing Forest Lane Lodge.

We do not have sole use of the building, which means that we were setting up and breaking down the equivalent of a full nursery provision each time we opened.

That, alongside not having enough storage for our donations or a private area for our minis to play safely means that things were stretched.

Our irreplaceable professional partners who descend on our building to meet mums where they feel safe and supported often found themselves squatting on the floor, working on a chair in the playroom, taking case notes on the roundabout – making do.

Then lockdown happened…..

Our staff numbers doubled, the number of mums and minis we are supporting at any given time also doubled and a half (Grew by 150%?)

All these factors are adding up to the inevitable and unsettling conclusion that – to quote the classic film – we are going to need a bigger boat.

The good news

There is a great building very close by which is vacant. It is a five minute walk from the Lodge so even if a professional, a volunteer or a vulnerable mum comes to the old building it won’t be far to get to the new one. Other massive positives are:

  • There will be SO much more space,
  • We will have sole use of the building. We will have a garden all to ourselves to grow flowers, veg and children,
  • Our minis will have a private, safe space (indoor and out) to play,
  • We will have capacity inside to invite all of our beloved professional partners such as LBWP, Health Visitors, Family Support workers, Shelter advisers, Beauticians, Reiki practitioners, dance artists, artists, theatre practitioners to come, spread out and do their thing.

We are also hoping that the space will allow for a:

  • Laundrette
  • Cafe/cooking collective
  • Community garden
  • Digital hub
  • Advice space, but most important of all
  • Chatting, play and chaos and creating minis’ memories and mums’ belonging.

We could also imagine the wider community using the space for:

  • Hot desking,
  • Birthday parties,
  • Evening classes, etc.

The not so good news

It’s a building that has been squatted in. It is in a terrible state and it is not 100% clear what state it will be in if we get possession.

To make the building what we dream it could be for our families we would need:

  • Corporate or community groups to volunteer to clear the building
  • Corporate or community groups to volunteer to clean and paint
  • Specialist builders/developers to help with repairs
  • Gardeners/landscape artists to help create a beautiful outdoor space
  • Interior designers to help us imagine an amazing and magical place where mums and minis are centered
  • Furniture/office suppliers to help us kit the place out
  • Kitchen suppliers to help us create a beautiful collective cooking space, or
  • The money to pay for any of the above that we cannot beg or borrow in-kind.

So here’s where we need your help

We know we ask a lot of you, our beautiful, bountiful community. And here we are asking again, after a year where we have all given more than we ever thought possible. But – you know – it’s just so important to show up for our most vulnerable children and mothers. The brilliant thing is that with a little time and generosity we can, together, make something really beautiful and meaningful happen.

What can you pledge?

We feel as though we need to get an idea of whether our dreams are possible. We know – from the amazing support we have had in the past year – that there are many, many of you who help us, answer our call-outs, come to our aid. But before we take this on, it would be great to have the reassurance that a few of you may be on board to help again.

If you are interested in helping us give our mums and minis a safe, beautiful space to heal, learn and thrive please fill in the pledge form below.

If – hopefully when – we sign a lease, we will get back to you and see if you are still up for it. Then we will get it done and have the biggest thank you party Newham has ever seen!

Thank you so much, as always, for being there for our families. We will be in touch, hopefully with good news and a call to action as soon as we can.


Call out for babies and boobs

We are excited to be working alongside a committee of Newham, BME, Migrant or marginalised mums, Alternatives and the NCT to co-create a suite of support services around childbirth and parenthood.

In our initial workshops, our mums told us they felt let-down by a lack of early, as-and-when needed help. It meant they were not able to establish breastfeeding.

For many mums, feeling you’ve not had the support you need to breastfeed can trigger difficult emotions which are hard to come to terms with. For some of our mums who are living below the breadline, the expense of formula is potentially financially devastating.

So we are committed to giving as much support to breastfeeding as possible.

This is where you guys come in. We usually demonstrate with whatever is to hand – a toy octupus, miming and gesticulating at our own, or mums’ boobs – which you will probably agree is not the best thing!

So we were thinking it would be nice to have some woolly boobs and babies !

Can you knit or crochet us a boob – or a baby to help with our classes?

There are many great patterns online. We would love all sizes and skin tones. Please feel free to:

  1. knit a boob or a baby or two, make sure it is safe and easily washed.
  2. send it to
    The Magpie Project, knitting appeal.
    c/o Forest Lane Lodge,
    Forest Lane Park,
    Magpie Close
    E7 9DE
  3. Or get in touch with Jules to discuss what you will be knitting.
  4. If you don’t knit, buy us a doll – these are the best.
  5. If you want to support our work, donate money and we promise we will put it straight to work helping mums and minis.

Running Mum 40….

We could not be prouder of Monica. She came to us at the start of the year with an idea – an incredible idea. To run 40 10km races in a year. Forty, in a year! Not one, not twenty – forty!!!!!

We thought she was wonderful – a little crazy but a lot wonderful.

Now, time has flown, and undeterred even by a global pandemic, she only has a few races left to go.

Even more amazingly she only has £770 to raise to reach her very ambitious target of £4,040.40 (Yes we suggested the target).

Please do support her if you can.

We don’t think anybody has ever worked harder for their fundraising.

This is her latest blog post.

“Firstly, happy 3rd birthday to @magpieprojectuk .

So it was June 5th 2017 that they started off as a few concerned women, asking homeless mums what they needed from The Magpie project to help.

They have grown from strength to strength and have continued to serve the vulnerable who are most affected by the virus. 


This week, the girls and I returned to school after almost 11 weeks.

I’ve had the most wonderful time with Tilia and Kita and feel like I’ve got to know them all over again.

Their relationship and love for each other is beautiful and it’s been amazing to watch this blossom.

Yes, there have been tricky days where I was not at my best as a mother, teacher or role model however I would reflect on this and talk myself through why it was difficult and how to to avoid a situation like that again. 


Today was a solo run around Wanstead and it was a chilly and windy one. The run was a little bit over the hour but could have been under the hour if I hadn’t walked for a minute to blow my nose…so annoying. 


The Justgiving page was written together with Jane (founder of The Magpie Project) and she set the target of £4040.40.

At the time I was thinking, I’m never going to make this and didn’t want to let them down but I was so wrong. I underestimated how my friends, family, colleagues, ex-colleagues and neighbours would be so giving and generous. You guys are amazing!! I have to raise £770 to reach my target and I’m going to get there I know!!

Please continue to donate at 
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runningmum40

Monica, Running Mum 40.