Aston House with Louis Smith MBE| Cif Community Clean Project

You only realise the support a community can provide when you’ve hit that all time low.

Post having my son I needed all the support I could get, but I tried so hard to pretend that it wasn’t required.  Ultimately it meant I struggled to bond with my baby and it took me a long time to deal with becoming a mum and having a child.

I look back at the time I had Little London and the memories are very hazy.  Emotionally I can still feel how lost I was.

Luckily that time was a blip for me.  And with any further children I know I need to be more open and honest from the start to make sure I’m in a good place mentally.

But for those that suffer from ongoing mental health issues having a low period isn’t always just a blip.  Which is why Mind is such an important charity.


I was lucky enough to be invited to their Hillingdon branch to see how this charity is making a difference to the community, after they won a competition held by Cif who launched a community clean project.


Community centres across the country were able to be nominated to receive a sparkling community clean from the Cif clean squad.

It was there that I met Eva, who actually was the one that nominated Aston House; the Hillingdon community centre.

Now a volunteer at the centre, Eva first went to Aston House for support and finally felt like she was amongst peers.  She felt able to be herself and understood by others who also suffered from mental health issues.

By feeling accepted and no longer isolated, she was able to grow and understand her illness.  And through the centre she has found music in particular is a skill that helps her when she feels low, and therefore she volunteers those skills and heads a music group.


With NHS funding being cut, there has been a greater influx of people requiring the need for community centres like Aston House and Eva felt a nice uplift would go far to improve the feelings of wellbeing for those seeking support.

Which is why she decided to enter the community clean project by Cif.


It was one of five centres that won, and for an extra treat Olympic medalist Louis Smith MBE was also on hand to show his support for the clean up project.


Louis Smith knows the importance of community centres because had it not been for his local one he may not be the Olympic medalist we know today.


He gave an honest portrayal of his feelings and his mental frame of mind at the Olympics, and talked us through the decisions he made that influenced his performance at the Brazil Olympics, where he won a silver medal.


One thing that really stood out was that he owns his talent.  He knows he’s one of the best.  But he also acknowledges that it’s down to him and his hard work.


He never goes into the arena thinking he’ll walk away with the gold.  He just hopes he does the best he can, because if he does he knows he’s in the running for that gold.


When a young boy asked him during the Q&A who his hero was, Louis replied “when I was your age I would have said Muhammad Ali.  Now that I’m older I know I owe everything to my mum.”


What’s apparent is that whether or not you have mental issues, support is needed throughout our lives in various forms.


For Louis Smith, suffering from ADHD may have contributed to his outstanding ability to perform gymnastics.


For him, it was the one discipline that he never got bored of because there was always something new to learn or a different way to improve.  Something that his mother fully supported and actively encouraged once she saw his enthusiasm for it when she took him to his first class aged 4.


We all need that guidance from someone.  Whether it’s a person or it’s a community centre.  Everyone deserves to have that belief and understanding in them.


And with a thorough clean by Cif, the Aston House community centre can continue to provide support to the individuals that openly require their help.  As the saying goes “clean house, clean mind.”


(Disclosure: In collaboration with Cif)



  1. Such a brilliant read, as someone who suffers from depression & anxiety. I think it’s great to have somewhere to go for help & feel comfortable. We all need the support whether it’s outside or within the home x

    • Definitely, and like eva was saying with the NHS cut back in the hospital more and more people are turning to community centres like Aston House to help them where medically they can’t be helped anymore. It’s such an important role int he community.

  2. What an inspiring project and the perfect man to give such an insight. I’m so happy that professional athletes and Olympians are becoming more “exposed” and used in the media as they are such awesome role models for our kids opposed to those made from trashy reality stars
    Beth @ Twinderelmo recently posted…Ben and Holly Toy Range ReviewMy Profile

    • I know, it’s so wonderful to see. I can imagine how many children he has inspired. I think when he mentioned his mum to the boy it definitely gave the boy a new insight into how much mums do for their babies.

    • He was such a nice person. I saw him getting prepared over what he as going to say before people came into the room, but I never thought he would be as inspiring to listen to as he was. It was all off the cuff as well, not prepared and just his thoughts.

    • You must have seen where he was on the pommel talking- god knows how he manages to speak while doing things on the horse!

    • I was lucky to see the before and after clean, and it was crazy how much a good deep clean just spruced everything back up!

    • He is, I won’t lie I’m not big on watching sports, but it was great to hear his enthusiasm and his passion for what he does.

    • I know, that part did choke me up a little. But I held it together like the tough woman I am 😉 lol

    • It’s a great project. I’m looking forward to seeing the other community centres that won in pictures.

    • It was so lovely. She worked hard as a single mum for him and his brother, so it great he recognises what she did for them both.

  3. I’m glad community centres are there for people who need help. It’s awesome that this centre was able to help Eva! This is an awesome project by Cif.

    • I know, same. Just goes to show even with concentration issues he was able to find the one discipline that suited him and helped him with his ADHD.

    • He really is an inspiration, I could literally see all the younger audience members just suck in everything he said. It was great to see such an influential positive role model.

  4. What a fantastic thing to have been part of. Sounds like a lovely idea. I’ll have to see if there’s one local to us. I suffer with depression so found this a good read X
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    • Definitely see if there’s some sort of group you can go to then. I think having that support network for when you do feel low is so important. x

    • He is such a nice man, he’s very aware of his talent but he’s not vain with it at all.

  5. I love the fact there is somewhere for people to go and the fact local communities are supporting each other!
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    • It was great to see the transformation of Aston House after it had a thorough deep clean!

  6. What a fantastic project! So great that olympians are showing so much support for charities and events too!
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    • It’s brilliant, when you think they only have a certain amount of time to do projects not he side,a nd they have to pick which ones resonate with them, it means a great deal that this Cif campaign was one he wanted to get involved in.

    • It was a great cause, and it was wonderful to get Aston House sparklingly clean. 🙂

  7. Oh this is awesome!! Its always great seeing celebs/athletes be so hands on in support of something so good!!

  8. Such a brilliant post, I suffer with my anxiety and just knowing there is support out there means the world! Such an inspiring project xx

    • I think that’s it isn’t it. Knowing you’re not alone with the way you feel. I think that’s why Cif really wanted to do something to give back to such great community centres.

  9. What a great project. A clean home can make such a difference to a person’s state of mind, but it’s difficult to find the energy to clean if you’re feeling low.
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    • Oh definitely. I know when I’m feeling at my lowest the idea of cleaning isn’t top of my agenda! It’s great that Cif are actively getting involved and doing that hard work to give them all hat boost.

    • He’s very open and honest, it’s nice to see a person in his position being like that.

  10. Thought I’d time lapse this. What a true & so poignant post … & one I can so relate to. I personally am so pleased you’ve posted this LondonMum!! Aston House & throughout the UK like-for-like places (The Harbour Hospice & Community Centre, Poole in my case) & all members of staff & volunteers are really worth their ‘care in the community’ weight in gold. When I went through my “all-time low” & lash out dark times 10 years ago (you may remember … & why??) I, unforgivably, vented my red mist (which still regrettably stab & shame me in rare reflective quiet B+WC days - like today) - because of my reaction to the ‘be prepared’ frustration, feeling so helpless & my inability & refusal to accept what ultimately happened - ashamedly out on the HHCC - the very guys who prepared & offered me help, support & understanding! I remember feeling numb, emotionally out of control &, like you, so utterly lost. Remarkable though, I was persevered with & forgiven. The ‘circle of life’ moves on & you now, so so deservedly, have the fabulous LittleLondon & I now, (so undeservedly I often think,) have ‘L’ … maybe there was ‘something’ in you, along with so many others, brutally (quite right too!) lecturing me in ‘move on / fate-ology’ 8/9 years ago? My apologies to one-n-all for my far too lengthy supportative post but, in my opinion, you’ve championed this case & cause so brilliantly & courageously LondonMum … you deserve your own gold medal. Well played LondonMum! My apologies once again. There’s no need for you to reply. Hope all’s well. Onwards LondonMum. “O” – in hope.

    • Me brutal with giving you a kick up the bum? Never! I knew deep down you could handle it though and look at how far you’ve progressed since. Can’t believe it was about 9 years ago! Gosh that makes YOU very very old 😉

  11. THANK YOU, that’s very kind of you, & just look how far YOU’VE so deservedly progressed & with a fabulous little life-long fellow adventurer now. Me “Old?” - “VERY OLD???” Just wait ‘til you’re a Grandma … I can wait haha. Here’s to the next 10 years. Hope all’s well. Onwards LondonMum. (“O” awaits you.)

    • Good lord! The day I’m told I’ll be a grandma I think I’ll book myself in for some mega face lift surgery! hahah

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