The Big Connect – A Bright Sunshiny Day

The Big Connect

'A Bright Sunshiney Day' as we had a fantastic turnout for the Lambeth Big Connect

The Big Connect

'A Bright Sunshiney Day' as we had a fantastic turnout for the Lambeth Big Connect

Last week, we had a fantastic turnout for the Lambeth Big Connect.

144 people joined us in Stockwell to take taster sessions from our peer- led Connect and Do programme of arts, music, crafts and writing activities.

People were able to try graffiti art for the first time as well as experiment with projects such as sewing a bag, making beaded earrings and bracelets, lino printing Christmas cards and trying creative exercises in the newly released Connect and Do Workbook 2.


Connect and Do Graffiti

Peer facilitator, Donato, led a music session where people where able to express themselves using a variety of traditional percussive and handmade string instruments. Caught in the moment, Pauline, one of the members stood and sang an impromptu carol of hope. Performance artist Andy was able to test out his new act “Russell” where people were able to add their handwritten thoughts and written expressions on his peg outfit whilst he wandered through the event.

Peer facilitators shared how much they enjoy being able to help people discover and develop new skills.  The event attracted people from across London, and many spoke of just enjoying being able to sit and connect with others – a constant buzz of people talking about what was going on in their lives whilst enjoying the vegan lunch.

There were heart-warming scenes of reconnection too. The Sewing Bee group, who had continued to support each other during lockdown, were full of excitement to see each other. They presented one member of the group with a bear in memory of her mother, who had recently passed away. Each part or the bear was carefully made from pieces of her mother’s clothing.

The day ended with a rousing choir session around the piano with Edward. People joyfully coming together to sing popular classics like “I Can See Clearly Now” and “Hit the Road Jack”, with regulars and newcomers enjoying the chance to share their voice. It was, indeed, a bright, sunshiney day.

Get involved…

And if you missed all the excitement, you could join in on our monthly programme of activities. Find out more here

Thank you to all our wonderful staff and peer facilitators who continue to make the Connect and Do programme such a success. The variety and creativity are what keeps people connecting from all over London. And if you too are interested in being a peer facilitator and want to find out more, email

What it’s like to have ADHD

What it’s like to have ADHD

Maria talks about her experience living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as part of ADHD Awareness Month.

I was diagnosed with ADHD in my 20s when my five-year-old son was also diagnosed with the same conditions and prescribed Ritalin. I was also diagnosed with Asperger’s – another neurodivergent condition. I was given some basic advice to follow on my own, along with the same information that was available 20 years ago. It wasn’t much.

I’d already been dealing with it all my life, without any medication or support, so I never truly stopped to learn more about it. However, since joining Certitude, I ‘ve learnt a lot more about these conditions. Most importantly, I have finally begun to accept them.

My ADHD symptoms always made me feel different and it’s a relief to finally understand where they come from. It is liberating to learn about mine and other people’s neurodivergence and realise that I’m not alone.

Maria talks about ADHD

When asked about my ADHD, the first thing that comes to mind is that I never know when I’m going to have a bad day or moment. Regardless of how many coping mechanisms I have created and how well I can manage. I am constantly aware that there will always be times when my brain will just not cooperate. I will not be able to perform as well as I want to.

When it happens it’s a real struggle to deal with the ensuing frustration and anger; at its worst, this can lead to spiralling anxiety or a crippling depression if left unchecked.

On the other hand, I absolutely feel that my ADHD allows me to have a unique perspective on things and to “think outside the box”. It gives me an ability to continuously self-motivate to follow my goals. Most importantly my life experience with it has certainly enhanced my empathy and caring towards others.

Learning more about ADHD

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurodivergent condition that affects a person’s behaviour. It is brain-based and mainly characterised by inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. ADD (attention deficit disorder) is a subtype of ADHD that only affects a person’s attention and concentration levels.

While people with both ADHD and ADD may struggle to maintain concentration, those with ADHD can also achieve hyper focus, allowing them to be extremely productive in the correct environment.

Common ADHD challenges

Famous people with ADHD

ADHD does not stand in the way of living a successful life. Here are some very well-known creative, innovative, and imaginative people who have ADHD:

  • Albert Einstein: Theoretical Physicist
  • Cher: Singer/Actor
  • Emma Watson: Actor/Activist
  • Jamie Oliver: Chef
  • Jim Carrey: Actor
  • Justin Timberlake: Singer/Performer/Actor
  • Leonardo Da Vinci: Artist/Inventor
  • Mozart: Musician/Composer
  • Ryan Gosling: Actor
  • Walt Disney: Animator/Writer/ Film producer
  • Will Smith: Actor/Singer
  • Actor/Producer/Rapper

Useful links

Famous people with ADHD

Celebrating Achievements of Black People in the UK

Celebrating Achievements of Black People in the UK

Lavern Dinah, from Certitude’s Intercultural Network, talks about Black History Month

On a recent trip into Waterloo station in London, I was struck by the emergence of a tall bronze structure, looming before me as I hurriedly walked towards the exit.

There was something about it, almost calling me to take a closer look. 

On closer inspection, the figures became more familiar.  I recognised the suitcases, the ‘’Sunday best’ style of dress and the family portrayed with their heads lifted with pride and a certain look of determination on their faces as they looked outwards, together.

I soon realised it was a National Windrush Monument acknowledging the bravery and contribution of the first pioneers from the Caribbean known to many as the Windrush generation. The sculpture by Basil Watson was unveiled on 22nd June to mark National Windrush Day.

If I’m honest, I felt a mixture of emotions  whilst looking at the monument. I was very proud of the pioneers and the contribution my family and others have made to the British society. 

It was great to see acknowledgment of their efforts and the many barriers they had to overcome to help me to have the opportunities in my life like working here at Certitude.

My parents have both passed away now.  I see them in this monument and the girl is of course me! I want to make them proud.  I am also determined to help support the next generation to be all they can be with the opportunities and gift they have been blessed with, and continue to soar!

A bit of history

Both of my parents, who were from Jamaica, were a part of the Windrush generation of people arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries. They came to the UK bringing their skills and expertise with hopes of an exciting new beginning to explore and pursue opportunities for their families to flourish. Many pioneers  were responding to the British Government’s call for workers in the transport system, postal service, and health service. At that time Britain was a country devastated by war and needed workers to help restore the post war economy.

Black History Month 2022

The month of October has been marked each year, for over 30 years now in the UK, as Black History Month.  Every year there is a theme, and this year is it is: “Time for Change: Action Not Words.” It seeks to celebrate not just past achievement but the achievements and contributions that Black people make to the UK every day. Such as Black people working in COVID-19 frontline in our hospitals, in cares services, Bus drivers, Security personnel and in the education sector.  There are others like Lewis Hamilton and Marcus Rashford who are household names using their platforms to push for change to tackle inequalities, racism and discrimination.

Celebrating Black History Month!

So, what can we do to get involved? Talk to the people in our communities, the people we support, their families, friends and our colleagues to see if they want to get involved in celebrating.

  • Share experiences. This might be about sharing music or food from our childhood and recipes from different black cultures.
  • Share your stories. Stories of people you admire, past or present, that contribute to British society in our communities, in our homes or at work.
Lavern Dinah, from Certitude’s Intercultural Network, talks about Black History Month

The Power of Now: National Inclusion Week

The Power of Now

Helen Watkins from Certitude’s Treat Me Right! Team talks about National Inclusion Week

National Inclusion Week was first set up 10 years ago, aiming to show organisations the benefit of inclusive and diverse workforces. This is at the heart of our work in the Treat Me Right! Team.

Our team offers training, advice and consultancy on how to make organisations, public spaces and information more accessible to people.

Every member of our team is neurodivergent, which means that we all have different kinds of minds to most people.  To be neurodivergent is to have a condition that affects the way we process information, regulate our emotions or the way we think. This means that every single one of us has a unique perspective and our own unique ways of doing things. We may share diagnoses with some people, but it is our lives, experiences and individual identities that mean that every single member of our team offers something unique.

This year’s theme:

The theme of Inclusion Week this year is “The Power of Now”.  What better way to celebrate, than to think about ways that you can make your team more inclusive today. We don’t just support people with different kinds of minds, we work alongside them too!

  • Say what you mean. I think we’d all like to think we say what we mean, but there are some phrases and sayings that are confusing. Think about not using phrases like “I’ll be back in a second” when you mean you’ll be back soon, or starting a request with “Would you…?” Or “Please…” instead of “can you…?”
  • Give people important information in more than one way. Some people will need to hear it, some people will need to read it. Some people will need time to process it, some people might need to experience it. The more ways you can share information, the more likely it is that it will be understood
  • Have a conversation about what everyone on the team needs to bring their best selves to work. We all have needs and preferences and if we all talk about them, it makes it much easier for your colleagues to ask for what they need
  • If someone is responding in a way that we might not expect, try to gently find out why. It is easy to make assumptions about people and how they’re coming across to us without thinking about why. An example of this is when people find eye contact difficult, but in some cultures, it’s a sign of rudeness and others a sign of respect. We don’t know which it is without understanding the person
  • There are people who may be very uncomfortable with grey areas, or what they see as bending the rules. For example, if someone says they need to leave early and they are told to “make it up whenever”, we may think we are doing them a favour, but it may cause a lot of anxiety!
  • Remember that diversity is strength. When we welcome and include colleagues with different kinds of minds, we get a unique perspective, just like any other kind of diversity.

And if our team sounds like your kind of team… why not join us?

We are currently advertising for a Quality Check Co-ordinator managing people an inclusive team of people who will audit the support Certitude provides.  If this sounds like the role for you, you can apply here  or contact Helen Watkins directly for further details. 

Helen Watkins from Certitude’s Treat Me Right! Team talks about National Inclusion Week

Click here for more Info on National Inclusion week 

A Sensory Room for Autistic People

A Sensory Room for Autistic People

Text SENSORY to 70460 to donate £10 towards the Sensory Room

Our fundraising team are working hard to raise funds to transform a spare room in Bromley into a sensory room.

There are three autistic people living in the house and for them the sensory room will be invaluable. A space to have their sensory needs met.

A sensory specific place allows people we support to be exposed to cognitively stimulating experiences. This helps them process sensory inputs from the environment and then learn how to react to them. The equipment will help people explore and learn about cause and effect and how their actions affect the environment. There will be lights, textured toys and patterns and equipment that make noises. There will also be tools designed to help the people living there to relax and alleviate any anxiety they may experience.

Our wish list totals to £1,600.

If you’d like to contribute you can do so by Texting SENSORY to 70460 to donate £10.

Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message. You’ll be opting into hearing more from us. If you would like to donate but don’t wish to hear more from us, please text SENSORYNOINFO instead.

Sensory Room ©TomGuy21 - Can Stock Photo Inc.

Become a Safe Place

Become a Safe Place

Certitude are members of the Safe Places National Network.

A Safe Place offers help if someone is anxious, scared or at risk while they are out and about and need support.

Our network scheme is based in Hounslow in London.

We are working with the local community in Hounslow to register Safe Places such as shops, libraries, cafes, libraries and community centres.

Safe Spaces will display a sticker in their window and be registered on the Safe Places App. When somebody is out and feel they need support, they can see the poster or look on the App to find their nearest Safe Space.

More information

If you’d like to become a Safe Place, contact us for an information pack including more details on how to register as a Safe Space.

Meet our London Marathon Runners

Meet our London Marathon Runners

Five runners for 2022

Five dedicated people have been running their socks off in preparation for next month’s London Marathon.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, they’re running to raise funds for the people we support at Certitude.

Click on their stories below to read about what led them to commit to such a sporting challenge, why they’re running for Certitude and how you can support them. 

Meet the runners
Meet Richard

"It's a fantastic challenge and to be able to do it in your home city for a fantastic charity is too good an opportunity to miss!

For me it's the ultimate test, I'm never going to run further than this and I'll probably never do it again, so it's really exciting."

Meet Sarah

"All the way back in April 2010 I ran the inaugural Brighton second attempt was abysmal - I think I cried for about 24 of the 26 miles! So now, 11 years on, my motivation is back, and I have a fantastic opportunity to end my marathon running days on a high."

Meet Roz

"I'm back, slow and steady mile at a time!"

Roz talks about why, following two cancer diagnosis, she is running her 94th marathon this year for Certitude

Meet Leigh

What’s been the hardest moment in your training so far?
"The alarm going off at 5am... it's been tough"

Meet Abigail

"I believe that a community can only be judged by the way it supports the less able and less privileged; for those reasons, I believe that it would be a pleasure and honour to be part of the Certitude team. "

Meet the runner: Abigail

Meet Abigail

One of the London Marathon runners who is running for Certitude in the London Marathon 2022.

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon? Having run 7 marathons in the past, London was one of the big ones I have been trying to complete, as I believe there will be no better accomplishment as a runner than running in your hometown where friends, family and the community can support you.

Why did you choose Certitude as your organisation of choice? Being someone that has been working in the caring profession for the past 20 years my personal ethos is supporting others who are less able. I believe that a community can only be judged by the way it supports each other; for those reasons, I believe that it would be a pleasure and honour to be part of the Certitude team. 

Support Abigail

Visit Abigail’s Just Giving page


runner abigail

Meet the runner: Roz

Meet Roz

One of the London Marathon runners who is running for Certitude in the London Marathon 2022.

Roz talks about why, following two cancer diagnosis, she is running her 94th marathon this year for Certitude

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon? Although I have run many marathons, it’s been a long journey over the last few years, from breaking my foot in 2019, and it taking 40 weeks to heal, to being diagnosed with Triple Negative breast Cancer in 2020. After chemo, which was stopped due to covid, an amazing surgeon who bought my surgery forward (to the day of lockdown), radiation and a miracle healing, I was ready to start getting fit again.

Unfortunately, there was another small hiccup with another diagnosis in December 2021 of the cancer spreading to the brain. One blast of radiation, another miracle and an amazing amount of support from family, friends and the medical team and I’m now ready to take on the London Marathon on 2 Oct 2022 and raise money for a great cause. One mile at a time…It’s going to be slow.

Why did you choose Certitude as your organisation of choice? I’m delighted to be running for Certitude, a brilliant organisation which supports people with Autism and mental health issues and their families, many of whom I have worked with in my profession as a personal trainer and swim coach. I know from my own experience over the last few years how many of us can be affected by these issues.

Support Roz

I’m back, slow and steady – marathon no 94, here I come.
Please give whatever you can to help me raise money for Certitude and get me to the finish line. 

Runner Roz

Meet the runner: Leigh

Meet Leigh

One of the London Marathon runners who is running for Certitude in the London Marathon 2022.

I’m Leigh. I’m an artworker for a healthcare company 

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon?
I needed a challenge

Why did you choose Certitude as your organisation of choice?
I found Certitude through a friend- a place for the marathon became available and I thought it’s a great opportunity

What does running in the London Marathon mean to you?
It’s a privilege- what a great event!!!

How has your training been going? Any tips for other runners?
Training is so far so good…I recommend trying everything out on training runs.
Leave nothing to chance. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail…

What’s been the hardest moment in your training so far and how did you overcome it?

The alarm going off at 5am… it’s been tough

 Support Leigh

Runner Leigh