8 December 2021
One Community, a movement dedicated to empowering people with mental health conditions and creating connections that defy stigma and lead to lifelong opportunities, have been offering an array of creative workshops for CNWL service users at the Bay 20 Community Centre in Ladbroke Grove.
Between 20 and 30 people, with connections to One Community, visit every Friday afternoon to take part in a range of workshops on offer, with the chance to move between them throughout the afternoon. The activities aim to create positive discourse around mental health, encourage personal growth and create a sense of community across CNWL boroughs.
One Community were eager to work with North Kensington Hearts and Minds leads Fiona Doherty and Deborah Lauder who run the space, to hold workshops for the local community. Cate Latto, One Community Founder, said: “since before Lockdown, we’ve wanted to run a day in this amazing space, with these wonderful women and it’s a dream come true.”
Since opening gently in July, this space has grown organically by word of mouth, to offer a range of exciting activities to take part in, including ‘Mindfulness’ sessions with comedian, interviewer and mental health advocate, Ruby Wax – Read this article to learn more.
Other workshops have included:
- Theatre, Script Writing & Film workshops – including an exciting new project linked to a production of ‘A Merchant of Venice’ which ran at The Playground Theatre throughout November with some of One Community’s Well Written writers
- Art and Creative workshops on various themes with Joy Girvin from the Workers’ Educational Association, including a ‘Mandala Art’ session (see images below)
- Leather bracelet and keyring making
- Lyric and song writing sessions with professional musician, including guitar for people of all levels
- Karaoke fun
- ‘Beautiful People’ workshops led by professional make-up artist, Tash Devedlaka – patients can take part in beauty sessions, getting their make-up, hair, manicure or false eyelashes done whilst talking with beauty professionals, staff and their peers
- Well-read workshops – a virtual space to read and discuss plays of all genres “from Greek Tragedy to Modern Farce”, with an emphasis on the choice of the attendees.
Pictures from the Mandala Art Sessions
The workshops have been met with great praise and enjoyment:
Lorraine, a service user, described One Community as a “place where everyone can come together and be themselves with no pressure and no stigma. The activities are therapeutic and I am able to express myself and learn new skills. Cate is an amazing woman who offers support and helps in building up our confidence again. It is a beautiful place to meet likeminded people who understand you.”
Another service user, Nicola, said "I really love One Community. It has been a life changing experience for the better which has given me the opportunity to gain experience in the health field which I would like to work in. With this experience, I have returned back to college, gained confidence and new social skills with the support and friendships of my peers. I’ve not relapsed and I’ve made the most beautiful friends thanks to Cate who has been an amazing, encouraging and beautiful positive person in my life. Thank you, One Community – I can’t imagine life without you!”
Polly Wiseman, actor, playwright and producer who has worked closely with One Community partner, The Playground Theatre, said: “thank you for such a wonderful afternoon: it was like being at a lovely, friendly party! So great to meet One Community members and hear some of their excellent work. It’s great to see how mental health support can be done right, especially in these tough times.”
Holly Thomas, CNWL’s Domestic Abuse Ambassador, praised the “strong community spirt within the session which aptly illustrates the One Community ethos…It was a really meaningful, grassroots experience.”
Upcoming events include more mindfulness with Ruby and a socially distanced Christmas Party on Friday 17 December with karaoke, masquerade masks, Musical chairs, Christmas quizzes, gifts and competitions in partnership with Coop who have donated food and gift bags for all. One Community is excited to build upon these sessions and provide more opportunities in the New Year.
Cate says, “There is always so much going on at One Community. It’s fresh and exciting and each person who joins, familiar or new, brings their own energy and talent. We support one another, we are growing beautifully and no matter what people have gone through in their week, Friday is a boost to the spirits. I'd like to give a big shoutout to Abdul Farrah, One Community Intern, and Tash Devedlaka who have helped to co-plan and support these Friday sessions. As one person said, One Community is better than any medicine.”