Art course funded by L&Q inspires mum to start her own business

Published on 07/11/2022

A Woolwich resident has started her own business after being inspired by a free art course aimed at new mums.

Valentina Daprile, 48, started creating colourful food boxes and food boards after taking part in the course, which is run by the charity MumsAid.

And her work has now grown into a successful business, Delizioso food boards, which provides catering for events including christenings and baby showers.

MumsAid is a charity which supports the mental health of pregnant women and new mothers.

With help from a £4,000 grant from housing association L&Q, they put on a series of art lessons in Woolwich run by local artist and mother Tanaz Assefi, which Valentina attended after her son Mattia was born.

Valentina said:

“The classes gave me a chance to express myself. There was a creche and the babies were in the same room, so I could see my son was being looked after and go to him if he needed me.

“Tanaz was wonderful, it was very gentle and there was no rush or pressure to create anything. Some of the other women were real artists and the course brought that out of them, but for me, it was a space to breathe, put some colour down and go with the flow.

“A few months after the course I was thinking about what I could do to give me some purpose and I started working on the food boxes and food boards.”

Valentina, who is also mum to Leone, 12, continued:

“I didn’t realise it at the time, but I’m sure the seed of the idea was planted during the course. I’ve always been interested in the use of colour, and it just reminded me of that and then I used that passion and moved it to my boards. I do food boxes for new mums now as well as events, because I remember thinking about what I could eat without dropping it on the baby!

“The fact that MumsAid puts the focus on the mums is really crucial because I hadn’t found anything like that before. Looking after a baby is a 24/7 job, and to have a chance for a little bit of space is so important.”

MumsAid founder Dr Miriam Donaghy set up one of the first postnatal depression therapy groups in the UK. She was inspired to do this after seeing other new mums struggling in the health visitor groups she attended after the birth of her first child.

Dr Miriam Donaghy said:

“The most important thing I want to tell new mums who are suffering is to reach out. Know that it’s really common to struggle and there’s no shame or stigma in asking for help – it doesn’t mean that you’re not a good mum.”

MumsAid offers a variety of support services, including one-to-one counselling, specialist trauma therapy, support groups and trips.

Matt Corbett, Director of the L&Q Foundation, said:

“We know how important it is for new mothers to feel connected and supported, which is why we are so pleased to support MumsAid with their vital work.

“We invest in community-led projects to create positive, lasting change in the places where we manage homes. Valentina’s story shows how much can be achieved, and we wish her every success in the future.”

The L&Q Foundation offers Place Makers grants of up to £10,000 to help organisations deliver projects related to the cost of living crisis that benefits L&Q residents and local communities.

To find out more, please email

For more information on MumsAid, please visit the MumsAid website.