Breaking Barriers, the people that are kickstarting conversations around traditionally taboo subjects such as mental health, and offering support to those that need it. We think these guys below are doing great things and we hope you enjoy reading their stories.

Andrew Clarke

Pilot Light

Although mental health can be a stigma across any industry, typically macho ones like restaurant kitchens are perhaps even worse when it comes to talking about mental health with many chefs afraid to talk about the issues. That’s definitely starting to change, however, and that’s partly down to chef Andrew Clarke who has been vocal in speaking out about his own mental health and encouraging others in the industry to do the same. There is still a long way to go however and to help other chefs in the industry, Andrew has launched Pilot Light, a campaign focused on changing the way people think and act about mental health through in professional kitchens and the broader hospitality sector. You can hear Andrew talk more about his career and Pilot Light in our recent interview with him on our Yes Chef podcast.

pilotlightcampaign.co.uk

Loyle Carner X GOMA

Chilli Con Carner Cooking School

Having grown up with ADHD and dyslexia, Mercury-nominated rapper Loyle Carner (Ben Coyle-Larner) knows the challenges that face kids in the same position when going through school. For Ben, prescribed drugs made him feel terrible but he found solace in physical activities such as football and cooking which he described as being all-encompassing. HIs love of food and desire to help kids with ADHD led to him setting up a cooking school in collaboration with social enterprise GOMA. Anyone who is aged between 14 and 16 and has ADHD can sign up to attend the classes where Ben teaches the kids to cook healthy recipes and find an outlet for their energy and creativity. While many people in influential positions strive to give something back we love that Ben takes such a hands on approach, helping to change the lives of young Londoners who might otherwise not have many other places to turn.

Emily Brett

Ourmala

OURMALA was founded in 2011 by a Yoga teacher called Emily Brett at Hackney City Farm in East London. Emily had been teaching Yoga to vulnerable refugee and asylum-seeking women at the British Red Cross’ Destitution Centre in Dalston, all of whom had experienced gender-based violence, were at risk of destitution and were either pregnant or had children. With small funding from Big Lottery, Emily offered the often malnourished women Yoga and a hot lunch. The British Wheel of Yoga seed-funded a 12-month pilot called Hackney Yoga Project, covering the costs of travel refunds, without which the women would not have been able to get to class. By the end of the pilot, women were coming to class, referred by organisations including the British Red Cross, Freedom from Torture and Refugee Council. An English class was also added after lunch to help the women with their language skills. Since then, OURMALA has helped over 200 women, has won funding from Big Lottery, Lululemon Athletica, NHS, the British Wheel of Yoga, Inchrye Trust and Vodafone World of Difference and Oak Foundation.

ourmala.com

Sarah Vaughan-Roberts

Forty Hall Vineyards

Founded by Sarah Vaughan-Roberts, Forty Hall is not only a great vineyard based in Enfield, north London, making some superb English wines, but also a social enterprise. As London’s only commercial-scale vineyard they put all their profits back into the project and local community to drive its ecotherapy programme. Centred around the idea that being outdoors and active is good for our mental health, Forty Hall provides volunteering opportunities in the vineyard to the local community, particularly those with mental health issues. All volunteers can benefit from the support and guidance of an eco-therapist who attends volunteering sessions and participants can work alone, in pairs, in small groups or in larger teams. Their aim is to improve mental and physical health through working outdoors in a green environment, being socially connected, and engaged with horticultural activity and the production of the wines.

fortyhallvineyard.com

Michelle Morgan

PJOYS

There are many ways to try and break the stigma surrounding mental health and start a conversation around it – pyjamas designed by artists may not be an obvious one but that’s exactly what Michelle Morgan has done. Her own story is a familiar one in the business world: after founding a hugely successful creative agency Livity, she eventually became burnt out and depressed after 16 years at the top. After stepping back for a bit she came up with the idea for PJOYS, getting her artist husband and friends to create designs for pyjamas to launch the brand. She focused on the idea of pyjamas and taking a ‘pyjama day’, which while for some is a calm and relaxing moment, while for others it signifies a difficult day. According to Morgan: “Pjoys uses this symbolism and the joy of art as a way to start a conversation about self-care and make mental health a more accepted topic.” The supply chain for the pyjamas is packed with purpose too; made with sustainable organic cotton, digitally printed and designed locally in London. Since launching the brand, Michelle has had contact with hundreds of people who say they’ve been encouraged to talk about their mental health and she even took to the stage (in pyjamas) at Cannes Lion festival in 2017 to discuss the subject.

pjoys.co.uk

Becca Dean & Charly Young

The Girls Network

Charly and Becca were secondary school teachers in North West London when they witnessed the multiple barriers facing girls in their classrooms. They were held back by expectations of them as a girl, about what they might want to achieve and how they ought to be behaving, putting them at a double disadvantage when trying to find their place in the world. A lack of female role models was another issue the pair identified and so they decided to set up The Girls Network in 2013. Launching with a one on one mentoring programme for 30 of their students they soon realised that this approach could have a massive impact and began to expand across London and the southeast. They now work with 1,000 girls each year, all of which report feeling an increase in confidence in themselves and in how to get where they want to go in life.

thegirlsnetwork.org.uk

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