Mental Health campaigner talks food and mood with hospitality students

St Albans based charity It's OK To Say visited Oaklands College this week, as part of the college's campus-wide campaigns for Mental Health Awareness Week.


St Albans based charity It’s OK To Say visited Oaklands College this week, as part of the college’s campus-wide campaigns for Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Charity founder Stacey Turner was joined by local chef Christo Tofalli, who runs Britain’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans. 

Students enrolled onto the Level 1 VRQ and Level 2 NVQ in Hospitality & Catering courses listened to the life experiences of both Stacey and Christo, who were able to share their pearls of wisdom and mental health tips. 

Students were encouraged to take time to themselves, to look after one another and learnt methods to which they could follow to ensure their mental health is cared for. 

Stacey said: “It is not about deflecting, it’s about using the opportunity to immerse into nurturing, taking pride, learning new skills, growing something in a supportive environment. Gently caring for something can encourage you to care for yourself.”

Students left the session with the knowledge and understanding of how they can take better care of themselves, use coping mechanisms to positively impact them in a busy and demanding sector and how to look out for their colleagues. 

It is not the first time that Stacey and the charity have worked with Oaklands College, with Art & Design students previously illustrating both the charities website and children’s books. 

With the hospitality and catering sector reopening, in-line with the government’s safe return guidelines, the industry is beginning to find its feet. Christo had some inspiring advice for students:

“It’s important to remember that you guys are the future of the industry and will fill a large part of its vacancies. Better days are coming to the hospitality and catering sector and you will be a forefront of this!”

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