Ex-wife of Boris Johnson helps Newham mosque fight for mental health

Allegra has worked at the Newham mosque on other social outreach schemes in the past Picture: Minhaj

Allegra has worked at the Newham mosque on other social outreach schemes in the past Picture: Minhaj-ul-Qur'an - Credit: Archant

Boris Johnson’s ex-wife is hosting adult art classes in a mosque.

Minhaj-ul-Qur'an is hosting art classes with Boris Johnson's ex-wife

Minhaj-ul-Qur'an is hosting art classes with Boris Johnson's ex-wife - Credit: Archant

Ceramicist Allegra Mostyn-Owen, whose marriage to the foreign secretary ended 24 years ago, is leading free sessions at Minhaj-ul-Qur’an in Romford Road, Forest Gate, to tackle social isolation, especially among the elderly.

The former journalist raised £950 through crowd-funding and will use the cash to provide students with materials with a view to them using their new skills to display their creations in exhibitions.

“Selling and exhibiting your own work is an excellent way of building up confidence,” she said.

The classes, which are open to men and women, are part of the mosque’s mission to provide constructive therapy for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Asif Shakoor of the mosque’s community liaison team said sewing, painting and photography classes will be a valuable addition to Minhaj-ul-Qur’an’s outreach work.

“Come along and join us whether it’s for a bit of fun or a hobby or to improve your art skills,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for adults to help them out of isolation and being trapped indoors to come out and to engage with people of all walks of life.

Most Read

“It will make people feel better and improve general health and well-being.”

He thinks the classes will be particularly useful to women in Newham who find it difficult to have a social life because of family duties.

“I look forward to mothers or women that are often trapped indoors working for their families, to come out of their homes and to join us and engage in some art work,” he said.

The scheme was inspired by the government’s publishing of the Casey Review in December last year, which exposed problems of isolation in deprived communities up and down the UK, citing language differences as a major factor.

Classes will run every Tuesday from 11am to 1pm in groups of 15.

For more information and to check availability call Asif on 07850 479 973 or email him at m_asif_shakoor@hotmail.com