Mayor of Camden connects with Jewish Care for MHAW 2021

11 May 2021

“It was inspirational to hear about the how the residents at Sidney Corob House have used writing as a form of self-help. The residents should be really proud of what they’ve achieved and how their book, with its words of wisdom and thought-provoking tasks will help other people improve their mental health.”  Cllr Sabrina Francis, Mayor of Camden, on her first official appointments as the new Mayor of Camden after she was appointed just a week ago. 

She was speaking at the joint event on Sunday 9 May at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, when the community joined residents, staff and volunteers from Jewish Care’s Sidney Corob House for people with mental health needs in West Hampstead. The event focussed on the powerful self-help book Ways of Life, featuring poetry written by the residents together with the support of creative arts practitioner, Vicky Martin. 

An uplifting two-day Wellbeing Festival followed this week with the Sidney Corob House residents and residents at Jack Gardner House, also a Jewish Care home for people with mental health needs in Golders Green. The festival programme has been led by Community Arts Focus features poetry, dance and movement workshops around connecting with nature, the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. 

“It’s so important for the voices of the residents to be heard,” says Sheree Charalampous, Social Care coordinator at Sidney Corob House. “They have inspirational thoughts to share with us, reminding us how vital it is for us to take time to restore ourselves and nurture our wellbeing. The positivity, resilience and creativity of the residents is inspiring. It’s even more important to us all than ever before, especially since the pandemic, that we connect with ourselves, our communities and with nature.” 

Sharing her thoughts at the festival, Eveline Baer, a resident at Jewish Care’s Sidney Corob House says, “What would we do without nature, it’s a wonderful thing. It helps to heal the mind. There are four seasons and always something to look forward to.”

Richard, a resident at Jewish Care’s Jack Gardener House, adds, “We are part of the universe, we are nature and the sun made us, the more connected to it the better we will be.”

“It was wonderful to host Sidney Corob house and continue our ongoing relationship. It was truly inspiring to hear the experiences and learnings of the authors and we are looking forward to working together again in the near future, hopefully in person.” Jacob Forman Social Action and Volunteering Programmer

As well as joining the Wellbeing Festival, staff at Jewish Care joined meditation and mindfulness with techniques on how to deal with stress, seminars on developing a growth mindset as well as holding sessions on maternal health to raise awareness of mental health issues before and after birth.