Latimer Vibe

Early, on a cold November morning seven intrepid Growing talent Associates stumbled from their warn beds to start their train journey to Latimer House.


After a train into London, tube across London, overground out of Marylebone, they arrived at Chalfont & Latimer for the final leg by taxi to the hotel.  Arriving at 9.20am, there was just time to grab a warming drink before the first module of Latimer Vibe commenced.


Mental Health First Aid – kicked off session one.  An understanding of mental health, the growth of the Mental Health First Aid global family, awareness in spotting the signs and steps to take to support someone as well as ourselves.  After lunch the finance workshop designed by Jon Barnes was delivered called ‘It’s Your Money’.  Learning on all areas of personal finance from store cards, credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages etc.


Sofie & Kate from Healthy Bites Nutrition, delivered an innovative workshop on healthy eating, food labelling and cheap ideas to feed ourselves on a tight budget.  A demo on a quick and easy breakfast on the go preceeded the pot noodle extravaganza!  Everyone had their own spices, dried rice noodles, frozen veg selection to compile their own bespoke lunch at a fraction of the cost of work lunches!  This went down really well……. All said they would start changing their lunch habits – saving money and better for health!  The intention is there, let’s see what reality brings……


Kate and Sofie pot noodle workshop

Day one ended with the second MHFA session on suicide and depression.  The photo below shows Andy, Mo and Ariane presenting their teams’ findings when considering some mental health symptoms and what they may look like.


Andy Mo and Ariane


At the three course dinner, we were joined by Lesley Davies and Chris Thompson – managers ahead of delivering their workshops on day 2!

Madi's gigantic burger
Madi’s gigantic burger!

 Day 2

First workshop was about personal finance.  We worked from the Latimer Vibe manual learning about standing orders, direct debits, bank accounts, overdrafts, store cards, credit cards, online banking, loans, mortgages, credit rating savings, increasing finances etc.  This was followed by a quiz.  Helped retain the information learnt.


Next was a fitness without the gym workshop giving valuable advice on staying fit at work, small changes to deliver big changes in our health, understanding how our body breaks down food and releases energy – a full on hour around renew and rejuvenate.  The guys then had to devise a plan to get fit taking into account things like mindset, rewards etc.


Next followed Session 3 of MHFA learning about Anxiety before Chris delivered an interactive workshop on poetry and creative writing to express and alleviate mental health issues.


It was powerful and sometimes shocking but absolutely innovative beginning with a YouTube clip of an American rapper.  We don’t generally associate rap with poetry but listen to the words and composition there is a definite link.  Next up was a short film on Sylvia Plath – I personally have always found her work very dark but she manages to express what a dark place she was in.  It’s often difficult for people with no experience of depression to appreciate the despair involved.  The final clip Chris showed was an amazing poet – Neil Hilborn who wrote about his journey into and then out of love whilst living with OCD and the impact this had on his girlfriend.  What initially drew him to her eventually pushed her away.  Thought provoking.

‘I loved it.  Chris made poetry interesting and fun’


The final session was MHFA 4 – Psychosis!  Understanding psychosis isn’t just about hearing voices started to question fears we all have about stereotypes:


‘I was afraid of mental health before, but know I feel I have gained a lot of knowledge on the subject for future reference’.


It’s important for us to understand more about mental health’.


A well earned drink with dinner followed!


Before and after the workshop session, the guys had full use of the facilities – swimming pool, sauna, gym between 6am-10pm.




Stairs at Latimer
On the way to dinner
Stairs 2 Latimer
The end of Latimer Vibe!

The next Growing Talent will commence in January 2015.   For anyone interested in the First Aider course for mental health, check out


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