Preston’s first Wellfest taking place for World Mental Health Day

Posted on - 8th October, 2019 - 3:30pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, City Centre, Health, Preston City Centre, What's On in Preston
The Harris overlooking the Flag Market Pic: Tony Worrall
Wellfest will take place at the Harris Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston’s first-ever Wellfest is taking place at the Harris for World Mental Health Day on Thursday 10 October.


Local healthcare organisations, charities and peer-led mental health groups have planned the event, which will involve a day of free wellbeing workshops, creative activities and opportunities to think about mental health.

The day will begin at 10am with food and a game of table football in the Chatty Cafe. Chatty cafes are a nationwide scheme designed to get people talking more.

The programme includes support sessions for families, the Big White Wall where people can share tips for living well, a positive psychology workshop, and Sneaky Yoga.

There will be a private discussion area where people with experience of mental health challenges will share their stories, and groups such as Lancashire Mind, PeerTalk and Samaritans will also be on hand to chat, listen or point you in the direction of local support.

Read more: New peer support group launching for Preston 18-30s facing depression

The day will finish at 4pm with local choir Company of Voyces performing an uplifting selection of songs.

Although it is a busy programme, there are special quiet spaces including the Harris’ new Wellbeing Gallery on the second floor.

Harris Wellbeing Gallery
Harris Wellbeing Gallery

Tim Joel, Deputy Head of Culture at the Harris, said: “World Mental Health Day is a global event and with Preston Wellfest local services have come together to plan a day signposting services and support, and reducing stigma in talking about mental health.

“Importantly, the day has been led by people who have experience of mental health challenges – and we hope it is really useful to the widest range of people.” 

If you haven’t been to the Harris before and would find it helpful to have a buddy to support your visit, you can email to get this arranged. The buddy will be someone from the Preston Wellbeing Network, all people who are part of groups or organisations with a mental health focus. 

What’s on

There will be a special focus on family wellbeing in the Children’s Space on the ground floor. Families can enjoy a special Baby Bounce and Rhyme session, along with craft sessions, and physical wellbeing sessions lead by local group, Mums United Movement. Homestart and pre- and post-natal health specialists will also be available for an informal chat. Preston Dadsnet will be there to let people know about the support they offer, such as their Kickabout sessions.

Read more:How this new group is telling Preston’s men it’s okay not to be okay 

Big White Wall will be on the first floor. Many people will have heard about this online community for people who are feeling stressed out, anxious or low. The Harris will ‘bring the wall to life’ by asking everyone to share their tips for living well, managing anxiety and keeping positive.

In the Discover Preston Gallery there is a series of free 30-minute workshops. Listen to Preston author Ross McWilliam talk about wellbeing and resilience. Mindsmatter will offer free workshops on relaxation and positive psychology. There’s a 30-minute workshop over lunchtime on Sneaky Yoga, where a yoga teacher will demonstrate a few gentle stretches that can be done when standing at the bus stop or sitting in a meeting at work.

In the Heritage Reading Room artists from Guild Lodge in Preston will be inviting people to participate in a collaborative community art work about the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Join in, or visit the Creative Space just off the ground floor cafe to meet local groups who go to the Harris every Thursday, using art to improve their wellbeing.

In a private discussion area people with experience of mental health challenges, addiction issues, and overcoming thoughts of suicide will share their stories and lead discussions aimed at reducing stigma. The groups leading these include Men Hear based in Ribbleton and Happy Daze based at the Harris.

Read more: There’s a ‘safe space’ in Preston for people living with depression

There will be Help in Preston information points on every floor with leaflets from all the mental health services and support groups in the area. Staff from local groups such as PeerTalk and Lancashire Recovery College will be available for a chat or just to listen.

Read more: Be a ‘mental health mate’ and join these monthly walks in Preston

Samaritans will also have a private space in the Harris for anyone who needs their support. In the cafe there is a private advice corner for anyone who would like to get help with welfare, benefits, debt or housing queries.

What do you think of Wellfest? Will you be going along? Let us know in the comments below.

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