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Following on from the suicide prevention day event last month, Red Rose Recovery were invited to attend an event for World Mental Health Day 9th October 2021 called Wellfest, held the day before World Mental Health Day at Preston Flag Market.

Focusing on this year’s international theme of ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’, the day was planned with various activities and entertainment while bringing a focus on local partner organisations who exist to bridge the gaps of inequality.

The Preston Wellfest Network was initially formed in 2019 and is currently made up of over thirty organisations that have a specific interest in health and wellbeing in the Preston area.

Coordinated by the Community Projects Team at Lancashire County Council, with support from Preston City Council, the network provides a platform for those involved to share information, promote activities, and collectively plan events. For 2021, the network has decided to run events in support of World Suicide Prevention Day in September, World Mental Health Day in October and awareness raising on addiction to coincide with Alcohol Awareness week in November.

To find out what help is available in Preston, visit the Help in Preston website.

Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.”

Fifteen local Lancashire organisations were asked to attend the event running stalls and activities focused on creating hope, as well as providing advice, information, workshops and support to anyone that might require it as well as activities and workshops such as mindfulness & photography, to show how various things the public can get involved with to improve their own mental health.

Councillor Jennifer Mein, Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at Preston City Council & County Councillor Michael Green, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing said:

“It is so important that everyone makes their mental health a priority. The Preston Wellfest Network and World Mental Health Day provide the opportunity to bring together local organisations to offer support and guidance to anyone seeking help or advice about how to improve their wellbeing. Events like this are superb opportunities as they allow us to talk publicly about mental health, to raise awareness, offer advice and help people change habits and behaviours in order to improve their Mental Health.”

Councillor Jennifer Mein also promoted The Five Ways to Wellbeing, which Red Rose Recovery very much support and facilitate weekly groups on, including through our Hope & Beyond Programme. These are proven to help tackle mental health issues and, by simply attending the event, you would be following ALL of the 5 Ways in one go.

The event took place on the Flag Market from 11am to 4pm.

Amongst those invited to attend were:

Disability Equality North West

Red Rose Recovery

Lancashire Library Service


Rise and Shine Lancashire

My Place (Lancashire Wildlife Trust)

Pukar Disability Resource Centre

Lancashire Mind

Let’s Grow Preston

The Haven

Preston Samaritans

Healthwatch Lancashire

Preston City Council

Lancashire County Council.

Knowing how important it is to raise awareness and increase engagement, Red Rose Recovery itself planned some activities and competitions for the stall. Participating in events like this is an amazing opportunity for everyone; it allows us to see what the people in our area are looking for and it gives our fabulous volunteers time to connect with the public and put into action the skills they already have and continue to develop and reduce the stigma that addiction/recovery can produce.

We held a competition and asked the public “What do YOU do for self-care?”. We got nearly 50 responses thanks to the hard work by volunteers and their engagement and we are sure we made one particular individuals’ day after he won an origami bear hand-made by one of our Volunteers.

We had lots of conversations with some familiar faces and many new ones, each person leaving with a smile on their faces, a bag of sweets & a better understanding of what services out there like Red Rose Recovery & many others can offer in terms of mental health, addiction, isolation & so much more. Our volunteers spent their time sharing their life experiences & life stories and how Red Rose Recovery as an organisation & a community has helped support them & their communities. This, as always, led to some new members of the public completing membership forms and committing to try to improve their own lives. The power of everyone’s stories & positivity was a joy to be a part of as it always is.

We displayed posters of our latest community groups now that lockdown Zoom meetings are no longer as necessary, although we still facilitate digital based groups & phone conversations/consultations will continue for people with mobility or agoraphobic issues. Several organisations such as Mind asked us for further information & we were happy to swap details so that both organisations can offer the public as many opportunities for help & support as possible.

The energy during the event was a great example of what can happen when people work together and it was lovely to see a LemonDANCE Flash Mob (LemonDANCE brings together like-minded people to explore thoughts feelings & emotions in a supportive, non-judgemental & inclusive environment using movement & mindfulness as tools of expression & an alternative way of communicating & accessible to all abilities), Worldwise Samba Drummers (UCLan’s Worldwise-sponsored samba sessions to de-stress) and Preston People’s Choir (also hosted by UCLAN; meeting weekly & inclusive of all in Preston regardless of age, background, religion or culture) perform at the event.

Everyone attending, not least Red Rose Recovery staff and all our volunteers, will be, and should be, rightly proud of their commitment to themselves, of supporting the community and being at events such as this to help spread the hope that brought so many of them to this point themselves!

It was a great event and the organisers said we are always guaranteed to be ‘the fun table’ (undoubtedly down to our amazing staff and volunteers). Now it’s time to start implementing and practicing all the self-care tips we were given during this event & to ensure we use them in our groups to provide as much of a holistic service for anyone who is struggling.