This September will see the launch of the first-ever Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival, a week-long celebration of wellbeing across 7 days from the 9th – 15th September 2019, which aims to help people live life well. We spoke to the lovely Alex Davison from the festival about its first year and what you can expect!
The term ‘wellbeing’ can mean so many different things – what types of wellbeing does this event aim to promote?
We have talks and events which cover pretty much the whole spectrum of wellbeing from food and nutrition to mental health, parenting, relationships and fitness – plus mindfulness and climate change. As you can see from that extensive list of topics, wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do and experience across our physical, mental, emotional and social health, which is why we’re so passionate about the event and think there is plenty for people to get involved with!
This is a brand-new event – why did you think there was a need for something like this? Do we all need help with our wellbeing in some way?
Yes definitely – there are worrying statistics around health, depression and physical activity which show there is very much a need for support on wellbeing as well as access to services and advice which promote it.
The Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival is being organised by a collective of local event professionals, wellbeing experts and local businesses passionate about raising awareness of wellbeing, with the aim of having a positive impact on the community. Through the festival, we will shine a light on our local wellbeing champions and those charities and social enterprises working hard in their own specific areas of wellbeing every day.
We want to celebrate our local resources and those already making a difference in this sector, with the aim of building a supportive community that will encourage greater physical activity and better access to nutritional education, health advice, mental health support, outdoor activities and creative events in the area, beyond the festival.
What’s the format for this year’s event?
We’ve partnered with over fifty local businesses to bring together a community of experts who we hope will inspire, educate and entertain visitors. There will be talks, fitness classes and events happening all over the town, led by some of the county’s most exciting studios, experts and venues.
The festival will be split across four sections – Cheltenham’s best workouts and unique ways to move will be on offer through our Active Pass. Visitors will be able to gain practical advice and learn new skills as well as enjoy breakfast and supper clubs from local and national experts in our exciting schedule of interactive Workshops and Events. There will also be a range of powerful Talks and Seminars – visitors will also have the chance to discover some of the very best practitioners, therapists, injury clinics, holistic therapists, treatments, pampering, beauty, spa, hair and grooming with our Treatment Pass.
Can you tell us about a couple of the main stage talks and what you hope people can gain from them?
An intimate series of evening events, our ‘In Conversation With’ series tackles the every-day topics that affect our overall wellbeing, including: ‘How to Find Your Inner Joy’ with Laura Jane Williams, ‘How to be a Dad’ with Dr Oscar Duke and ‘Moving Through the Menopause’ with Dr Louise Newson.
We also have advice on how to manage grief with ‘Good Grief’ author Dipti Tait, as well as offering an incredible career wellbeing strand on ‘Working in Wellness’ with Sarah Greenidge, Fab Giovanetti and Sara Milne Rowe.
The exclusive Yellow Kite Author Series at No131: will also bring together a range of the UK’s best lifestyle, wellbeing and mindfulness authors in a unique series of evening events, to explore their works and share lively conversation on how to live life well. Hear from Jonathan Hoban about ‘Walking Therapy’ – how to switch off and find calm every day, Kimberley Wilson, on ‘How to Have a Healthy Brain’, and Buddhist monk and meditation expert to the stars, Gelong Thubten, for an hour of meditation exploration including a live meditation session.
How did you go about choosing the themes for the talks and workshops?
The aim of this year’s festival is to touch on as many subjects as we can to explore all of the different areas that wellbeing incorporates. The theme for 2019 is ‘community’, and we are working to bring people together to listen, learn and be more supportive of one another, partnering with the national ‘Campaign To End Loneliness’ and their ‘Be More Us’ campaign. We want to show that by building a supportive community and giving people access to resources locally and nationally, we can build a more stable and supportive community.
Are there any events covering topics which you think are on the lesser-known or talked about side of wellbeing? If so can you give us some more detail?
We have an incredibly inspiring talk on ‘The Mask of Masculinity’ with Ben Bidwell, Kevin Braddock and Jake Mills, exploring the unsaid. The psychology behind why men don’t talk and why actually if you don’t speak up, how burn-out, stress and anxiety can lead many men to the edge and how we as friends, colleagues and partners can be better equipped to those going through it.
The Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival starts Monday 9th September.
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