A letter from Dr Meryl Forse to celebrate the opening of Boulevard House

Dear friends, neighbours, colleagues and associates,

We are so pleased that you have been able to join us today as we celebrate Gateway Psychology’s expansion into new premises and new possibilities. Today denotes a particular milestone in our story of growth and development. It is not an end in itself but rather an exciting beginning of new things.

Aeschylus (Greek poet, 5th century BC), said, “from a small seed a mighty trunk may grow”.

In many ways this quote resonates well with our ethos and aims here at Gateway: helping children to grow from that often quite fragile seedling into more of what they are meant to be – resilient and secure, a strong sapling on its way to becoming a mighty trunk.

We recognise and emphasize that every growth experience requires a firm substrate and a nurturing environment for optimal progress. Our Gateway Model makes this very clear (if you haven’t seen it yet, have a look to track Eggy’s journey through therapy).

At the very heart of everything we do and espouse is Attachment Theory, a psychological model that epitomises the passion for what we do on a daily basis. What do we mean by ‘Attachment’? It’s all about facilitating appropriate and healthy growth and development in the context of strong, secure and supportive relationships.

Here at Gateway, we see many children and young people who have not had a healthy early start in life. Many have, rather, experienced significant harm, neglect and what we call ‘developmental trauma’; their fragile seedling has not developed into the robust sapling that should have been. The environment in which they first began to unfurl neither nurtured nor celebrated their growth. And even though the ‘garden’ in which they now live may strive to offer a very different experience, the very act of being transplanted, in addition to the fragility resulting from that adverse early environment, can hinder the growth we all hope and long for.

And so, our aim is to first of all help those who tend the garden (the parents, carers and professionals around the child) as well as strengthen and support the fragile seedlings and saplings.  I like to think that here at Gateway our best role is as gardening consultants, helping both gardeners and plants to flourish and become all they were intended to be.

Gateway Psychology itself began as a tiny seed nine years ago – I worked as a sole trader working from small premises on the other side of Tower Square. Within one short year, with the help of a very part-time colleague, we grew out of that space and the search for new premises began – the primary aim being to find a suitable space that would absorb current need and facilitate further growth. In 2014 we bought 7-9 The Boulevard, renovating it extensively to be fit for purpose, and relocating there in 2015. As much as we thought at the time that the space was more than we would ever need, Gateway grew exponentially over the next six years, quickly filling all available space with staff and, of course, the wonderful children and families with whom we work.

Not wanting to stagnate or stunt our growth, last year we bought Boulevard House – again engaging in an extensive renovation programme – enabling us to not only nourish our roots but strengthen our core/our trunk and ‘branch out’ into new and exciting ventures.

And here we are today, enjoying quite literally the fruits of our labours together with you. What you have seen here today has hopefully given you a taste of what we aim to do here at Gateway, for our local community, the wider Stoke-on-Trent area, and as far afield as the virtual world allows.

Thank you for partnering with us.