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Healing visionary Nicole Hambro


 - Healing visionary Nicole Hambro
Nicole Hambro, 47, founder of Alchemy

"The biggest challenge was how do we create a sacred space for people to meditate in the middle of Camden Town when the train is constantly running, the Cuban bar is blasting out music and there are people kickboxing below us?"

Luckily, Nicole Hambro, along with her three co-conspirators behind Camden’s state-of-the-art yoga, healing and meditation center known as Alchemy, relishes a challenge. Prior to embarking on the Alchemy project, Nicole was central to implementing the first-ever online helpline, NSPCC’s ‘There for me’ initiative. She was also a key figure in the charity’s multi-million pound Full Stop campaign.

Alchemy, though, has been a plan-in-the-making for many years or, as Nicole refers to it, ‘a vision’: "I had this vision, 21 years ago, of creating a center for people to come and just be. It would have yoga and meditation and sound healing, a café and juice bar and be very much of the heart. It was all given to me in a very mystical experience and I held the ambition for a long time."

Nicole, who hails from New York and moved to London in 1986, "the day after I married an Englishman", found people who shared her vision. She did this through a meditation group she’s been holding at her house known as ‘The Circle’. "I expressed my vision to a yoga teacher friend of mine and she said you have to meet Simon Andriesz, he wants to open up a similar place." Simon’s wife Ewa came on board too, and the final piece of this rather mystical puzzle was fellow New Yorker Richard Zimmerman, who was burned out after 25 years of working on Wall Street. "We met in the middle of Camden Market in what is now Alchemy. As soon as I saw the space I knew it was the place I’d seen that many years back. It was very profound. As it turned out we were each earth, wind, fire and water and alchemy can only occur when the four elements are present!"

For Nicole, joining forces with other like-minded people is central to Alchemy’s magic, and success: "It has really created a community of people who are seeking to know themselves and to support each other."
The space brings together all kinds of yoga, meditation groups, including The Circle which Nicole herself runs, talks from eminent healers and a mind-boggling range of holistic treatments, such as Grinberg therapy and, Gwyneth’s favorite, Cupping. Nicole is also keen to point out that although Alchemy might have divine beginnings and aspirations, it also has a very firm footing. "It’s all about being real. That’s why we’re in the midst of Camden market and not in some green, leafy idyll."

Nicole's CV
1983 – 1986 Assistant manager of national publicity at Paramount Pictures, New York
1986-1989 – Set up PR agency Nicole Hambro Associates in London
1999- 2007 – Member of board of directors for NSPCC’s full stop campaign
2007 – Co-founded Alchemy, leading center for personal transformation, London

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Alison Taylor
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