#HeroesOfLondon is shining a light on the humans behind our small charities and the amazing – and vital – work they do in London's communities, during the cost-of-living crisis and every day. We spent the last month meeting just some of these local heroes. The stories you are reading are direct transcripts from our chats with them.
Meet Tony from Happy Drums.
The pandemic affected so many people and mental health is a big problem within that. Some people don't realise that they have been suffering for a long time.
The workshop covers the five steps to mental wellbeing. I'm going to pretend like I know them all now... it connects people together, learning, giving... Most of the five wellbeing steps are covered and it's proven that feeling those emotions on a regular basis helps prolong your life and make you happier. It's also proven to help with health and wellbeing for people who actually participate in activities.
There's so much fear. Because the pandemic affected so many people and mental health is a big problem within that. Some people don't realise that they have been suffering for a long time.
The lockdown divided people. It is vital for grassroots projects like mine to keep on going because we are reaching people who are not in the system. You must cater for those people.
Feedback from my workshop shows that activities like this reach people who don't normally engage. So, this is something which is vital to making people stronger. And when people come together, they network, and they learn.
For example, there's a lady who came down to one of my sessions and she explained that she was struggling, so someone was able to tell her where she can go to get food. Someone was able to tell her where there's a new soup kitchen, because a lot of soup kitchens are closing down. Food banks are closing down as well. I'm struggling. I’m really worried. Worried that I won’t be able to carry on. Because the financial situation could stop me.
There's many things that could divide the community. So it's important that the older community can link together, because if you don't link, if you don't grow together, you grow apart. If you don't work together, you work apart. That means there's more conflict and there's problems within the community.
My workshop now, it brings different people together. It brings Muslims, Caribbean, African, English and different types of people together. And it's important for people to come together to share that sociable feeling, that they're all together.
To support other amazing London charities, like Happy Drums, donate to our Together for London appeal. Your donation will help people like Tony make a difference in a Londoner's life this winter.