Lapidus London

Lapidus London meets every two months giving members the chance to discuss topical issues, experience talks & workshops and offer each other support. New members and visitors are very welcome.

Where do the meetings take place? Our usual venue, The Poetry Cafe, is currently being refurbished so for the time being we'll be meeting in the upstairs room of The Sun Pub, 21 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5RH. Most sessions run from 1pm-3.30pm.

How much does it cost? The cost is £5 for members and £10 for non-members (the first meeting is free to non-members!).

Meeting dates

Upcoming meetings: 

We usually hold our get-togethers on the last Saturday of the month. However, due to the May bank holiday and the Lapidus/Metanoia Creative Bridges Conference in July we have moved the meeting dates as follows:

  • 20th May 2017

A Poetry Therapy Session with Charmaine Pollard

For our May meeting, we welcome Charmaine Pollard who will do a 90 minute poetry therapy workshop with us.

We could all do with more confidence and resilience right? Experience the power of poetry therapy as a tool to enhance your confidence, self-worth and build resilience. Learn how to awaken your creativity, express yourself and sparkle with confidence, irrespective of your personal circumstances, your background or current level of confidence.

Charmaine Pollard is a Counsellor, Life coach, College tutor and Certified Poetry Therapist. She has a long history of working with young people and adults using poetry therapy to build confidence and resilience.

  • 22nd July 2017
Past events

London Lapidus 2015 meetings collage

25 March 2017

We had a very interactive, interesting and busy afternoon. The theme for our March meeting was Poetry. We shared our all-time favourite poems, and talked about one line from our chosen poems which was particularly meaningful to us.

During the second part of the afternoon we talked about collaborative poetry and tried our hand at writing a poem together in a group. We also shared examples of collaborative poetry exercises for attendees to use themselves or with a writing group.

28 January 2017


Francesca Baker presented a thought-provoking workshop looking at how the New Economics Foundation's 'Five Ways To Wellbeing' can be used as a tool for inspiration and evaluation with writing for wellbeing. The session included a short discussion and some writing activities.

See links below for details of Francesca’s work.


January 28th to February 4th was National Storytelling Week. Our second session, led by Mary Burns - new Lapidus London coordinator - was a fun exploration of Storytelling itself.

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment; its' direct simplicity has a unique power. Storytelling entertains, enlightens, and gives audiences enormous scope to interpret the stories in their own way. Humans think in narrative, the story form is as natural to us as breathing; oral storytelling is an extension of this and reflects our experience and environment.

We will talk about the importance and benefits of telling our story; having our stories heard. We will write a story and listen to some stories and make our own sense of them.

The late Alan Rickman said ‘And it’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.’

26 November 2016

'Be Your Own Ad Agency'
In November we were treated to a bespoke Lapidus marketing session that looked at writing to sell and persuade. Huge thanks to our guest facilitator Jon Sayers! The afternoon was packed full of tips, tricks and ideas to inspire and motivate.

What we explored together:
  • personal branding for our own work/business
  • the difference between features and benefits
  • The Nine Commandments - nine different human needs and aspirations you can appeal to
  • persuasive writing and how it differs from creative/expressive writing
  • tips and tricks for good persuasive writing
  • simple structures for persuasive copy
  • legality, decency, honesty - moral dilemmas about persuasion
  • 8 ways to write a great headline
  • how to write a great tagline
  • how to combine words with images effectively
  • the different media you can use to get your message across
Jon Sayers is a poet, playwright and advertising copywriter and creative director. He has published poems and translations in journals in the UK and USA, including Magma, The Rialto, Kaffeeklatsch, and Literary Review. His poem What a Man Kept under his Hat was commended in this year's Poetry London competition. Jon is Chair of Magma Poetry, Deputy Chair of The Poetry Society trustees and recently served a year as Poet in Residence at Sunday Assembly, London. His radio play, A World Full of Weeping, which featured the poetry of WB Yeats, was broadcast on Radio 4. It was a Radio Times pick of the week and was reviewed by the Mail on Sunday as ‘a complex thriller with a nail biting climax.’
Jon has worked with some of the world's leading advertising agencies and brands, as both a copywriter and creative director. He worked with Benton & Bowles, McCann-Erickson, Young & Rubicam, and then ran his own agency, Boom Communications, before serving a five-year term as a Creative Director at Publicis UK until 2010, when he turned his attention to poetry.
Jon has more recently worked in the branding world, as Verbal Identity Director at Interbrand and senior writer for Why Projects, writing for brands as diverse as Efes beer, Kodak, British Red Cross, Hampstead Theatre, and the Arvon Foundation. He has a wealth of teaching and presenting experience - he has taught creative writing at Pentonville Prison, persuasive writing to members of the parliamentary Labour party, and professional development workshops for advertising and marketing professionals in the UK and the Middle East. He has frequently appeared on BBC Radio to discuss advertising in relation to social issues and current affairs.


30 July 2016

Session 1. Be Inspired! Sharing Session

We asked London members: Is there a book that changed everything for you? One that you turn to time and again? Perhaps you own a book that’s precious because of a link with family & friends, or one that helps you with your writing practice... Members were invited to bring along their inspiring read or other creative item to share with the group. The result was a rich variety of inspiring sources.

Session 2. Journaling Workshop with Marie Therese Keegan

Massive thanks to Marie Therese Keegan for an excellent workshop on journaling. Marie Therese delivers her journaling workshops, Time-catchers, in schools. She also encourages adults to find the wonder in their lives through creative journaling and scrap-booking. She received her first diary from Santa Clause and has been keeping one ever since. She'll tell us about the work she does in her adult and children classes as well as providing us with a couple of tasters.

21 May 2016

Session 1. Finding work: using evidence to sell our services
As writing for wellbeing practitioners we know that the written word can be a powerful force for good. But how do we encourage others to share our enthusiasm? When finding work, it's useful to have a bank of evidence to hand. Kate McBarron hosted a session on writing for wellbeing evidence, based on her experience gained as part of an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. For more info on research in writing for wellbeing visit:

Session 2. Writing workshop with Mary Burns
Huge thanks to Mary Burns for running a very enjoyable workshop for us. Mary is a person centred counsellor with a particular interest in writing for well being and a regular attendee of London Lapidus meetings. Mary facilitates a weekly Writing for Well Being Group in her local area.

Mary says: "I just love Rasmussen's metaphor of using writing as a train to explore the country that is me. Travelling on the train enables me to visit new and old parts of me, stop for a break when I need to, re-visiting parts of me as often as I wish. This is what I aspire to in my writing groups or with individual clients who wish to use writing as part of their therapeutic journey."
(Rasmussen and Tomm 1992,p.4.)

28 November 2015

For our final meeting of the year, we were delighted to have Monica Suswin host a session for us looking at creative and therapeutic approaches to writing. Through readings and discussion she addressed the question: where are the overlaps?

Monica has written in the field of writing for wellbeing for many years. She is published in the Jessica Kingsley Anthologies: Writing Works & Writing Routes, as well as other books in the field. This year she has had poems and prose published by Frogmore Press in Sussex. Monica runs Cabin on the Hill - a retreat for women writers in Sussex where she lives. She blogs at:

26 September 2015

We're all on our own journeys, whether as writers, as facilitators, as seekers of meaning & healing... Whatever our path, how do we make the most of the words we use? How can we travel safely? And how can we help others to navigate their way?

These are some of the questions we tackled at the September meeting. As part of the session, we were delighted to welcome Rachel Kelly as our guest speaker! Rachel is a writer and former journalist on The Times. Her memoir Black Rainbow is the story of her journey through depression and how poetry became an important part of her recovery.

Rachel spoke to us about the healing power of poetry, including: her personal experience of using poetry to help overcome depression; what is known about how poetry can help in terms of the science and evidence; and how she now uses poetry in her own working life running her 'Words Doctor' workshops with mental health charities.

Black Rainbow was published by Hodder & Stoughton in April 2014 and won the Spear’s Best First Book Award in October 2014. Rachel’s next book, Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness, comes out in November and is being published by Short Books.

25 July 2015

For our summer session we explored the topic of 'nurturing our own creativity', including making time for writing, getting in the mood, quick fixes, writing on the go and pot luck inspiration. The session included input from an overseas special guest, writing coach Kevin Johns, who shared his insights with us via the magic of video recording technology! It concluded with a writing workshop to get our creative juices flowing.

23 May 2015

London Lapidus was delighted to welcome award-winning expressive writing teacher, restorative justice advocate and poet, Margot Van Sluytman as a guest speaker and facilitator at our meeting on 23 May 2015.

Margot teaches and gives talks & workshops about how expressive writing is a rich process of healing and transformation, by reclaiming, respecting, and living our precious voice. She shares about how writing saved her life after her Father's murder, and how in reading about an award she received for her work with expressive writing, the man who murdered her Father contacted her: thirty years after that dark, dark day.

Learn more about Margot’s story by listening to her interview on CBC Radio: ‘Writing Your Voice & Restorative Justice - Meeting the Man Who Killed Her Father’

Margot’s books, which can be ordered through her at the May meeting, include Sawbonna: I See You, A Real Life Restorative Justice Story; The Other Inmate: Mediating Justice-Mediating Hope, Poetry and Writing Workbook for Restorative Practices (English and French); Layers of Possibility: Healing Poetry from The Members of The National Association for Poetry Therapy, Foreword by Dr. Robert Carroll, NAPT; Dance With Your Healing: Tears Let Me Begin to Speak With My Pen; and, Wild Self Real Self: Write Your Voice of Healing and Strength.

28 March 2015

Sources of Support: Where do you turn when you need support? What options are available and how can they help?

The March London Lapidus session explored the various sources we can call on as writing for wellbeing facilitators, with an emphasis on supervision and peer support. 

24 January 2015

The first meeting of the new year revolved around the theme 'New Beginnings'.

Session One: 'New Year, New Marketing Campaign'

Kate McBarron led the first session of the day, offering tips and inspiration for practitioners looking to market themselves in 2015. 

Session Two: ‘New Beginnings’

Narayani Guibarra led the group in a fun and creative ‘new beginnings’ writing workshop.

29 November 2014

Charmaine Pollard led a workshop entitled Write Off Your Inner Critic based on a successful course she runs at the City Lit .  Charmaine is a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited counsellor and writing therapist with over 16 years experience of working with diverse communities from social, religious and ethnic backgrounds. She is currently training to be a Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator with the International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy.

Lapidus London minutes from the meeting on 29 November 2014. 

27 September 2014

For this meeting we welcomed Ted Bowman back. Ted was at the Lapidus AGM in Bristol last year and first visited London Lapidus in 2012 when he gave a workshop on the Loss of Dreams. Ted's workshops are always meaningful and inspiring and this is a great opportunity to catch up with him while he's in the UK. This years' workshop is Follow the Metaphor 

17 May 2014 


present: Miriam Halahmy, Elaine Kingett, Christine Hollywood, Natalie Kenndy ( Chair), Marie-Therese Keegan, Olwen Minford, Robert Fieldhouse, Judi Sissons, Nichola Charambou, Kate Dunstan, Charmaine Pollard, Narayami Guibara, Sheila Hayman, Alison Clayburn, Pauline Cooper. Apologies: Malachy

1. Introductions.  There were several new people and so this took longer than usual but was very interesting. 

2. Business: there was no business presented today.

3. PANEL: this was lead by Caroline McRory and Pauline Cooper. Their focus was whether writing was suitable for all clients and the need for guidelines. Both speakers were very informative and a lively discussion ensued around the need for Lapidus to write guidelines for practitioners in the field of writing for health and well being and also around the need for supervision for practitioners/ workshop facilitators.

4. Date of next meeting : Saturday July 19th : 10.30 a.m. : Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden. PLEASE NOTE : we now meet in the room upstairs.