MP Marks World Mental Health Awareness Day at MindFood

Rupa Huq visits award-winning local charity

Rupa Huq with the MindFood participants

October 10, 2023

World Mental Health Awareness Day is taking place this year on Monday 10 October and to mark the date local MP Rupa Huq paid a visit to an award-winning local charity.

MindFood regularly meets in an oasis of greenery at the Cleveley Crescent allotments close to the sprawl of the Hanger Lane gyratory. It’s now 11 years ago that this mental health charity was set up to help people tackle stress, depression, anxiety and isolation. It aims to achieve this by connecting them with nature, teaching food-growing and sharing evidence-based tips and techniques like mindfulness to improve wellbeing. The Ealing Central and Acton MP went along to enjoy tea and cake with participants.

Lucy Clark, Programme Director, came to MindFood 8 years ago originally as a corporate high flyer seeking support for anxiety and depression. As a result of attending sessions, she decided she never wanted to work indoors again, left behind her career as food Product Developer at M&S (which included diversifying the Percy Pig range) and retrained in Horticultural Therapy. All MindFood session leaders started out as participants, which helps foster an understanding of what they’re dealing with and making them “experts by experience”.

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Awareness Day fittingly is “Mental Health is a Universal human right” fittingly given how universality is a guiding principle of MindFood. It has recently started a partnership with Coop stores where shoppers can nominate it as local charity of choice.

Lucy remarked, “No-one needs to feel alone if they’re feeling overwhelmed: in any given year 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer from with mental ill health, and nearly 1 in 2 Londoners say they are more stressed than they feel able to manage. These pre-covid figures are likely to have increased since with cost of living issues. But by carving out some time to reconnect with nature and with the help of just a few simple self-care tools and strategies, people can soon feel loads better and more equipped to deal with life’s pressures.” Among sessions Mindfood run throughout the week are outdoor art and a dedicated men’s group, in part to compensate for their under-represented ness in the group at large.”

Dr Huq said, “I grew up off the gyratory so must have passed this space completely obvious to it countless times. It was lovely to take time out from the surrounding hustle and bustle to experience the goodness of the Mindfood crew in the fresh air and sunshine on the occasion of World Mental Health Awareness Day and see the valuable work they do. I even left the session armed with an interestingly misshapen half cucumber reminiscent of the type of fruit and veg that used to cause such merriment on tv’s That’s Life - true to form as it’s MindFood USP that those involved get to take home food they’ve helped to grow.” Those who complete the 6-session Growing Wellbeing course earn themselves a free trip to Kew Gardens.
MindFood receives a reward

In recent months MindFood was highly commended at the sustainable city awards in the Trailblazer category and have come up trumps at this year’s Charity Film Awards see and at the last ever Ealing Community Network Awards.

It’s a self-referral process to join but participants need to register first so there is an understanding of particular support needs.


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