'Breathe' is a stop smoking service which offers people who would like to stop smoking the opportunity to access various levels of support suited to their lifestyle and individual preferences.

With a huge difference to your chances of quitting being made by the people around you (it can be 67% easier to quit with a spouse) it's no surprise that attending a clinic can really make a difference.

There are currently 5 clinics that Octopus have opened in Islington in partnership with Breathe. These are based at:

  • St Luke’s Clinic was the first cessation clinic and was opened in the summer of 2018. The clinic was initially run by volunteers with support from Octopus staff and the Breathe team. 
Breathe 2.jpg
  • The Light Project Cessation Clinic has been run by volunteers since it was opened in 2018.  The clinic runs on Tuesday mornings from 10 am to 1 pm. There are currently two very hard-working volunteers running the clinic with the support of Octopus staff and the Breathe team. The volunteers go out into the community as well as to events to recruit clients for their clinics. The majority of the clients of this clinic are from a nearby estate.
  • Hornsey Lane Cessation Clinic was opened in March 2018 and was initially run by a volunteer who has now been successful in securing full-time employment.  The clinic used to run on Friday evenings to accommodate working clients. The clients live in Hornsey Lane Estate and the nearby estate of New Orleans. 
  • The Walter Sickert Cessation clinic was opened on 6th November 2019, it is located in Canonbury and is run from one of Help On Your Doorstep’s offices.
  • The Andover Community Cessation Clinic was opened on the 6th February 2020 and is located in Finsbury Park. The clinic runs on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 5pm.

Recruitment of clients:

There are a number of ways that someone can become a client of a clinic. These include, a referral from GP, through outreach work by clinic volunteers, from Octopus staff promoting the clinics at our various events in the community as well as referrals from the Breathe team.

We are aiming to open more clinics at our various community centres once we have recruited and trained more volunteers to run these clinics

Our volunteers have had the opportunity to attend various training. These include:

  • Stop smoking Level 1 and 2 accredited course
  • Adult Mental Health First Aid
  • Make Every Contact Count
  • Blood pressure training
  • Stop smoking overview

The Smoking Cessation advisers are also encouraged to attend the supervision dates which take place every 2 months. This is an opportunity where advisers can network and share good practice from advisers from other clinics, the Breathe team and trainers.


Our volunteers are engaged in various activities at various times. These include:

Blood Pressure checks, Stop Smoking clinics, support setting up events and promoting our services.  We have volunteers who give their time regularly to run our stop smoking clinic and doing outreach work.

Please note due to the Covid-19 epidemic, these clinics are now temporarily closed and is now service is now offered on the phone.

  • Breathe Stop Smoking service will continue to provide intensive behavioural support over the phone for 12 weeks with medication (NRT/Champix) by their specialist advisors. Clients will also have access to Quit app Bella.

To book an appointment phone Breathe on 0203 633 2609,

Text Quit to 66777 or book online


Volunteer Case Study:

Z has been volunteering at the cessation clinic for the past 14 months and has learned new skills to enable her to help people on their journey to quit smoking. “I got the opportunity to go on cessation training, great support from staff and work with a supportive team to help clients who came to our clinic seeking support to stop smoking.”

Whilst volunteering with the clinic, Z has also be doing outreach work in the local community to get clients for the clinic, which she has found useful. “Outreach work has increased my confidence in going out to speak to the public, learnt more about addictions, sensitivity and how to approach the general public when promoting the stop smoking clinic in the community.”

Working in the cessation clinic and doing outreach work has also enhanced her knowledge of the wide range of services available for clients in the community to access. “I am now more aware of other partner organisations and feel confident to refer my clients to if the need additional support besides smoking, for example, Help On Your Door Step.” 

Z also mentioned that she has learnt from speaking with people in the community. “I have enjoyed being part of their journey to stop smoking and seeing some of them succeeding. When a client comes and tells me that they are smoking due to stress at work, I listen to them and try to discuss about putting some coping mechanisms in place.”

“Conversation helps clients to become aware of other issues they might have which makes them smoke and from this, they can learn how to deal with it.” This in turn enables them to focus on their next step, to quit smoking. For clients who have other issues preventing from quitting smoking, for example mental health challenges, addictions or homelessness, she signposts them to other service providers that specialise in those particular services.

Z’s role as a smoking cessation adviser has enhanced her personal development. “I have learnt about working with a strong team and enhanced my communications skills too. I have a lot of patience which is importance when working with clients coming to the clinic with various challenges.”

Z also mentioned that volunteering with the cessation clinic had a positive effect on her health and wellbeing. “Working here has given me some purpose and a good feel factor by being on someone else’s journey in addressing their personal issues and seeing them manage to stop smoking. I feel empowered to be able to give them the support and a safe space to open up.”

Case Study: 

M was initially referred by his GP to get support with his smoking issues in March last year due his health being affected. “I was short of breath at night, had very high blood pressure and was taking medication.”

Whilst Mr M waited for his appointment to be arranged, he met P, the Stop Smoking Adviser from the Light Project during her outreach work.

Mr M has found giving up very challenging at times and he had a few slips even he was doing well majority of the time. “I initially avoided socialising and being in a situation where I could be tempted to smoke. I kept myself busy with work and with determination, will power, using patches and great support from my adviser P, I managed to stop smoking.”

 Mr M has reported a number of impacts on his health since he stopped smoking, with help of the clinic: “I can now breath better and I no longer have to get up frequently at night due to coughing, I feel fitter now. This has benefited my wife as well as I am looking after my health and she is proud of me.”

After giving up smoking, Mr M is now able to attend social events and go for a drink and does not smoke. “My health is very good and my blood pressure is low now. My wife is very proud of how well I did when we went on holiday and didn’t smoke.”

When I asked about services he received from the cessation clinic, he said it was “very good and my advisor has been very supportive, professional and the outreach work they do is amazing.”