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Canonbury resident’s mission for mental health

14 September, 2018 — By Brittany O'Neill, Helen Chapman

Onyeka-Michelle Akpata


On a mission to tackle mental health issues in her local community is Onyeka-Michelle Akpata, 22, from Canonbury. The lifestyle and self-development blogger, aged 22, is currently fundraising for mental health charity Rethink.

She is taking part in a sponsored 5k walk at Regent’s Park next Sunday (September 23).

Onyeka said: “I want people who are struggling to know that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. As a community, I think it is important that we take a collective responsibility by each doing our bit as individuals by looking out for those that are struggling. We can all do our own little bit to make the world a better place.”

Onyeka started campaigning around removing the stigma surrounding mental health issues – particularly among black communities – since her friend died by suicide.

She said: “I think that more needs to be done to support that demographic in particular. I want to reach out and do my bit for the community.”

Onyeka is currently studying for a law degree at the University of Birmingham and has future plans to study a masters in psychology.

She blogs about beauty, lifestyle and current affairs at

To donate to her cause, visit:

Rethink Mental Illness supports people affected by mental illness. For more information see or call 0300 5000 927.



A song and dance at Sotheby Mews

Bolder Voices choir performing at the Sotheby Mews Festival, from left: Clair Chapwell, Jane Ali (in motorised bike), Florence Duverney, Eileen O’Brien, Andrea Beetison, Laurie white, Stanley Waithe and Rick Ferry

More than 150 people gathered at the Sotheby Mews Day Centre in Highbury on Saturday to sing and dance. Local bands were rocking all day at the Sotheby Mews Festival – funded by the National Lottery – and festival- goers took part in arts and crafts, yoga workshops, nail painting and movement exercises.

Bands with a focus on music and movement as a way to improve mental health performed, including Deja Vu and Little Venice.

Rosie Litterick, festival organiser, said: “The theme for the day was keeping the mind and body well. We are strong advocates of mental and physical health and getting together with friends and the community, because that’s good for mental health too.

“It was positive to show how active the centre is and how well used we are.”

The day centre provides a range of activities for elderly people at 2 Sotheby Mews, Sotheby Road, N5 2UT.

For more information call 020 7226 1421 or email



Mystic chickens at the vicarage

Alexandra Lilley and her ‘mystic chicks’

The priest-in-charge at St George and All Saints Church, Tufnell Park, has found a new life-passion. Alexandra Lilley has been keeping chickens at the church vicarage since Easter and they have turned out to be magical company.

The hens are named after medieval mystics – women who were devoted to God and shared visions at a time when women were not permitted to preach in church – including Julian, Margery, Gertrude, Isabella, Hildegard, Bridget and Teresa.

The mystic chickens are growing in fame online with more than 300 followers on Twitter: @mystic_chickens

Alexandra said: “I’ve never kept chickens before, but now I totally love it. Each chicken has their own individual character and they’re mesmerising to watch as they happily scratch around the garden.

“Gertrude is my favourite to hold because she is so massive and fluffy. Now I can even tell which chicken has laid each egg. I am a complete chicken geek.”

The vicarage holds an Open House every Tuesday night. “The eggs and vegetables from the garden make their way onto the plates of anyone who wants to come for a meal,” said Alexandra.

More information about St George and All Saints Church, Crayford Road, N7 0ND, at or call 020 7607 6678.

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