William’s story Click to get info
William, just turned 15, and is volunteering. "I have been running errands for a lady called Rosemary who lives down the road with her sister. They are in their 80s so self-isolating. They call me when she wants help with any errands, shopping, bill paying or just getting her prescriptions.
We have long chats on the phone and get along so well. It’s nice for them to have someone to talk to.
I really enjoy volunteering because it helps me feel very happy an drives me a sense of purpose doing something to help my community and people who need the help".
His mum said, "my son and Rosemary get on like a house on fire, often chatting away for ages! It’s really sweet. I am so proud of him!"
Monica’s story Click to get info
One day I asked my neighbour who is an English elderly gentleman that lives down the road from me if he had eaten. When he said he hadn’t had a hot meal for a couple of days it felt like a stab in my heart. Why should I be enjoying a hot meal when my neighbour is frail and can’t always access a hot meal. Also another neighbour of mine now lives alone due to a bereavement of a family member and is obviously distraught.
I thought to myself thank God I have food for me and my grandchildren but I must also think of others who are around me. My Christian faith teaches me to love my neighbours. I must also set a good example for my children and grandchildren
So I started to take two of my neighbours cooked meals about 2 to 3 times a week. I remembered my mother was a woman that cooked for the whole streets in Jamaica. Our neighbours would usually come to our house. This then led me to serve as a cook with Diabetes Action Group. So far we have served hotmeals to over 50 families affected by the Corona Virus Pandemic. I feel fulfilled giving back to the community. It’s not okay to take all the time at some point it’s important to give back
Mitchell’s story Click to get info
I was born and raised in New York and I moved to London in 2010 where I worked in the British Museum and later taught English to foreign students. In 2017 I retired and now engage myself in volunteering and charitable work full time. I love to connect with people in my capacity as a conservation leader, Feel Good walks leader, relaxation teacher, working in a food bank, in a museum, at a library, volunteering at Whipps Cross hospital and as a motivational speaker.
I am most passionate about sharing my experience about life, health, well being, self empowerment and love. Even after two total knee replacements, I still jog for miles and enjoy connecting with nature during my long hikes in Epping Forest. Being so active, volunteering and connecting with nature and people are some of my secrets to having a life filled with meaning, purpose and peace’’.
How is Mitchell keeping well during the pandemic
Being that I am 71 years old, I am considered as an at risk person and therefore self isolating. Nevertheless, I am striving to stay healthy and being creative to make use of my free time. Each morning I wake up early and meditate and then do physical exercises including yoga. In the evening I enjoy listening to music and dancing with my wife Monika.
We take advantage of our allowable outdoor exercise time to take daily long afternoon hikes in Epping Forest and sometimes go to Highams Park Lake. I also do much reading and watch videos about health and self empowerment.
I also now shares stories about my idyllic childhood,growing up in the housing projects of Brooklyn in the 50’s. how I met the love of his life at 50, overcame some health challenges such as knee replacement and memory loss and how I am keeping healthy and happy as I get older.
Hope Virgo’s story Click to get info
I am a mental health campaigner, author and an ambassador for the Shaw Mind Foundation.
I developed anorexia when I was 13 years old and spent a year in hospital at 17. Since coming out of hospital, learning what to do to stay well has been key.
The main things I do to stay well are physical activity and spending time with my friends.
Being active is a huge part of my recovery and managing my wellbeing. For me this is about getting out and about and getting the headspace to really think about life. It isn’t about going to the gym all the time, or running miles, but about any sort of physical activity.
How is Hope keeping well during the pandemic?
To keep well during the Covid 19 lockdown, I am trying to maintaining my routine as much as possible, including showering and getting dressed each day! I am also mindful of my time on social media and taking therapy remotely. This was a bit of a change at first but has helped me to maintain some good support through this time
I am also currently volunteering book calls with the #LoveYourNeighbour campaign and try to connect with friends and family either on the phone or using zoom.
Saying something I am grateful for each day keeps my mind positive!
Harriet’s Story Click to get info
Harriet is the co-owner of L&T Vans, had the idea whilst stood in the queue of a supermarket in Waltham Forest during the Covid 19 Pandemic.
“I was in tears at the ways people were treating each other. I have elderly parents and I couldn’t bear the thought of them trying to do a shop in these conditions. Then a shop tried to charge me £40 for 6 packs of baby wipes! I decided I was going to do what I could to help.”
Harriet spoke to her business partner and husband Lawrence about using one of the company’s fleet which weren’t already booked to deliver shopping to people in the community, who were either unwell, vulnerable or elderly.
“From the moment I announced what we were doing, I started getting calls from charities and people who needed the help: mums with new-borns who desperately needed nappies but were self-isolating. At one point, I was in the shop with six different shopping lists! We haven’t said no to a single person yet.”
“The community made us. We are all Walthamstow born and bred. We all grew up and went to school here, without the community putting into us, we wouldn’t have been able to buy vans and set up the company, so we are going to invest in our community when it needs us.”
Jon's story Click to get info
Jon Salmon an award-winning creator, digital pioneer and co-founder of branded entertainment agency Byte Entertainment tells his story about overcoming mental health problems and dealing with suicide within his family. Jon is also the proud Dad of two young children and now speaks openly about mental health in the hope it will help others and save lives. In addition to running his digital business, he is a very active campaigner for Time to Change Waltham Forest and currently runs monthly events ‘What’s Going on In your Head’.
‘‘I lost my father to suicide as a teenager and did not feel able to speak to anyone about it. Then soon after I started my first job in 1999, I was sectioned and admitted to hospital with stress and depression. Luckily, I was then able to get the right help and returned to a new job the following year.
I now look after my mental health and stay healthy by keeping active. Going for a short jog each week is not only good for me physically but mentally gives me the space to think and process any worries that I have in my head.”
Combatting the stigma of having a mental health diagnosis
‘‘I kept quiet for nearly 20 years about my mental illness for fear of how the stigma around mental health would affect my career prospects, friendships and relationships. However, after the suicide of a close friend due to postnatal depression in 2016 I decided to speak out about my experience of mental health problems with the view that I can raise awareness about mental health problems and inspire others to speak up’’.
‘’It was great to share my story alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at a Heads Together mental health campaign event! My work with Time to Change raising awareness about mental health problems in Waltham Forest is also something I enjoy and gives me the opportunity to change lives