For the past 7 years, Kyra has provided a safe & welcoming space for women of all ages, now in dedicated premises behind the Central Methodist Hall in St. Saviourgate. Founded by Yvonne Copley, our speaker on July 31st, who is currently its CEO, Kyra registered its 1,000th Member in 2019 and today has 1,300 Members. It has no political, feminist or religious affiliations.
Having worked in the Prison Service and been a Samaritan, Yvonne knew that York provided good emergency assistance and care, but her concern was what happened next …. her concept was to provide rehabilitation & after-care for broken women who had lost trust and were often frightened.
Kyra’s door is open to provide women with “TLC”, ideas and skills to change their lives and move on from whatever has been troubling them - trauma, poor mental health, abuse, loneliness, addiction. With better health and wellbeing, they are able to turn their lives around. By “walking alongside them”, at a speed which suits them, women are helped to grow in confidence, rebuild their lives and move forwards.
70% of referrals to Kyra come through the NHS. If they cannot help, the women are signposted to someone who can do so. Kyra sees problems as opportunities and this positive approach surely underpins its appeal and success; it has certainly helped it adapt to the Covid emergency which has brought new challenges; that said, the hard work has continued.
Yvonne is a force of nature and her determination came across as she spoke eloquently and knowledgably. She has brought together a powerful team of Volunteers, Trustees and an active Patron in Dame Penelope Wilton. She will be stepping down from her CEO role in September and produced a super video showing Kyra’s journey so far, with Abba’s “I have a Dream” playing throughout. The video said it all. Yvonne will be hard to replace but will still be about to drive Kyra forwards with her vision, commitment and sheer determination.
As Rotarians we can do nothing better then refer to Kyra any troubled woman we may encounter. If anyone would like to receive the monthly newsletter which is full of information and signposts to a myriad of courses, drop-ins and conversations, please let me know. It is a good read and illustrates the impressive work done by Yvonne’s “baby”.