Keeping focused on the positive

Monday, 18th March 2019 — By Helen Chapman


Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods founder Lawrence Curtis, back row left, with, from left: Marie, Luke and Dean; front row, from left: Isabel, Teresa, Linda and Margaret


Sometimes we all need a helping hand to get us through difficult times. This is what Lawrence Curtis has taken upon himself to do and make the world a better place.

Lawrence, who lives in Highbury, worked for much of his life as an accountant in the City but struggled with dwindling

motivation when he found himself out of work. His project, Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods, is helping keep him focused and positive – and he believes it can do the same for others too.

Lawrence has been running a course at Thirlmere House off of Newington Green for nearby residents looking for support with mental health problems. It is part of Ajani, his programme which gives unemployed people access

to a personal trainer, as well as health, nutrition and budgeting advice. He says: “They’ve learnt things they’ve never even thought of especially with nutrition. It is going to make them think more about what they are eating and what they shop for.” He also runs Izzwalkz, a weekly walk around Clissold Park in partnership with Highbury Grange Medical Practice. Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods is a social enterprise promoting healthier lifestyle and greater fitness. For more information

To donate visit


Tash wins award for online treasure

Theo Paphitis presenting Tash Francis with her award

If you are on the lookout for antiques and sustainable gifts, an online shop based in Essex Road is stocked with treasures to peak your interest. Tash Francis is the owner of the online shop The Urban Vintage Affair and works from home. She was recognised by the Small Business Sunday award, which was presented to Tash last month by Theo Paphitis from the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. “I have only been in business just over a year and I still work out of my small flat in Islington,” says Tash.
“It is great to have support from Theo because it’s been tough trying to raise the brand’s profile in such a niche area and Theo has recognised my hard work and helped spread the word to his following about what I do.”

Small Business Sunday is a weekly initiative, set up by Theo in 2010, recognising worthy retail owners and small businesses.
The Urban Vintage Affair is at


Mad as a hatter about books

A Mad Hatter ’s tea party table was just one of the fun ideas for World Book Day from pupils at St Joseph’s primary school

World Book Day at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Highgate, was celebrated in style last Thursday. Children donned their glad rags and spent the day sharing stories
with each other in class, in the library and in the playground, with older children reading to the younger ones.

“World Book Day is a great opportunity to raise the profile of reading across the whole school community and helps children to engage with books in exciting ways,” says head of school Angela Noronha. “Thanks to Grainne Rooney, our school librarian, for once again organising such a fantastic day for us.

“The children had an opportunity to parade their costumes in a whole-school assembly,” says Grainne. “It was truly amazing to see such a display of the children’s creativity with many of the costumes home-made. One child in Year 3 had transformed herself into the Mad Hatter’s tea party table from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and another had come as a very convincing bookworm.”

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