Celebrating Wellbeing in every sense was the aim of Manor Gardens Welfare Trust’s Summer Wellbeing Festival on Saturday 9th July. Our street fair took place in Manor Gardens, London N7 6LA and we took over the whole street and worked in partnership with the Royal Northern Park next door.
For once it was a really warm and occasionally sunny day as staff and volunteers began setting up at 8am. Stallholders arrived soon after and we were just about ready when the gates opened at 12 noon. The aim of the Festival was to showcase all aspects of wellbeing, from having fun and relaxing, learning new skills, exercise, health information and good food.
‘Wellbeing is really important in our busy lives, making time to pause and reduce our levels of stress,’ says Felicity Ford, Manor Gardens’ Director of Fundraising and Development. ‘We had an amazing mix of stalls at the Festival, ranging from vegan cakes, skin creams and massage, through NHS health checks to crafts, tombolas and a Preloved Stall. We teamed up with health professionals in Islington, Islington Adult and Community Learning, and the Royal Northern Park to provide something for everyone.’
Live music was provided by Whittington Park Steel Band and Healthy Generations (formerly Music for People), as well as haunting pan pipes from Jeanette Rojaf and N7’s very own Elvis. There was Caribbean food, hotdogs and Ethiopean food and we had donations from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose as well as staff, Preschool parents and volunteers for the Afternoon TeaTent on our beautiful lawn. Ricardo from our local Starbucks kindly brought summer drinks along and donated all the proceeds to Manor Gardens. The Gunners Fund, part of Arsenal in the Community, generously provided funding to help set up the event.
One of the most engrossing activities of the day was the Go Kart building and junk modelling provided by our partners London Play. Alan and Keyo got kids of all ages sawing, nailing, building and sticking, resulting in a Go Kart race at the end of the day.
Islington’s Dr Bike helped visitors maintain their bikes, tightening brakes, tracing knocking sounds, and aligning wheels.
There were half-hour sessions of Feldenkrais exercise and Relaxation and Mindfulness in our Dame Geraldine Hall and dance for families outside on the street.
The more serious side of the Summer Wellbeing Festival was to launch our new Wellbeing Service, commissioned by Islington Council. This combines the Mental Health Champion service and the Community Mental Health Development Service and will work over the next four years to reduce the stigma around mental health, particularly in the diverse communities in Islington, and help people find the right pathway to support for their mental health needs.
You can find some of our pictures on our Instagram pages and follow more about the Festival with our Storify.