Philosophy of The Big Society

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Sunday, 5 October 2008

Celebrating Well Being - Um, can I have some cake please?

Beds and Luton Mental Health Partnership have organised a Well-Being Festival.

The festival (3rd-6th November) is the launch of this initiative and an unprecedented example of partnership working between service users and agencies.

Dunstable’s Grove Theatre is the venue of a unique opening event on Monday 3rd November, ‘Stand Up For Mental Well-being’, a night of comedy, from four top acts.

Tickets for the Comedy Night, which takes place on Monday 3rd November, and starts at 7.30pm, are free and available on a ballot system, with individuals invited at apply for tickets by emailing their request to

Wednesday 5th November sees the Wellbeing Festival come to the Bedford Corn Exchange and then to The University of Bedfordshire Students’ Union in Luton on Thursday 6th November. Both these events run from 10am-4pm.

The Festival events in Bedford and Luton will be deliberately different from the traditional conference-style format of event, with empowerment and not PowerPoint presentations one of the defining features, as organisers piece together a programme offering an eclectic mix of interests and information.

These events will include stalls and workshops, activity demonstrations and entertainment, and a few special surprises throughout the day.

Local and national voluntary organisations and charities will rub shoulders alongside groups not immediately associated with mental health, all offering practical advice on the likes of employment and further education, housing, welfare and finance issues, rights and advocacy.

The social side of wellbeing – often crucial in combating an individuals feelings of isolation and exclusion – will come under focus too, with arts, music, drama and sports groups exhibiting their talents in a performance area. And if all that sounds too energetic, then why not try a relaxing Indian Head Massage, or another alternative therapy, in the chill-out zone?

‘Food for Moods’ and the benefits of healthy eating within mental health is certain to be one of the most popular parts of the programme, as will the Trusts Support Time and Recovery (StaR) workers, who will explain the Wellness and Recovery Act Plan (WRAP), a useful self-help tool.

The aims of the Well-Being Festival are to raise community awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues; promote and encourage the ideas of recovery from mental distress; provide an opportunity for community involvement, and promote a range of social inclusion activities.

The festival is designed to provide a range of options and activities within the local community, these include:

• Offering practical advice on the likes of employment and further education, housing, welfare and finance issues, rights and advocacy.
• Providing an introduction to a range of options for general well-being – exercise and sport, holistic therapy, healthy eating, creative activities, humour and music.
• Providing information and stories of recovery, as well as how to access services.
• Reducing the stigma and misconceptions towards mental health by creating an inclusive event that and provides an opportunity for service users and the wider community to interact.
• Working in creative ways and utilising all media available to promote positive, accurate and realistic images of people who live with mental distress.

For further information contact John Wailes on 01582 708919, or email

Rancid old sceptic that I am (whilst trying to look on the bright side) I think this seems like a good idea - Although 'promoting', 'seeking', investigating', 'praying for' well being would all be more appropriate festival titles, for me.

1 comment:

  1. Still get hung up on this top down approach to 'stigma', particularly as the stigma comes from the top down!!!

    Liking the holistic angle. Am up for some basket weaving and a session of reflexology.