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Variety is the spice of life’s wellbeing

Who’s been making the news round your way this week?

30 March, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Vera the Diva leading a Latin and Ballroom session at the Manor Garden’s Winter Wellbeing Festival

WELLBEING was the word of the day as nearly 300 people gathered at an Islington Assembly Hall which was packed with positivity. The Manor Garden’s Winter Wellbeing Festival saw hundreds of people turn out last Monday to learn more about and get involved in activities which can improve wellbeing.

“We wanted people to have the chance to take part in something new,” said Felicity Ford, director of fundraising and development at Manor Gardens Welfare Trust. “Just giving out leaflets about local opportunities doesn’t necessarily help people take the first step to doing something new. We encouraged all our stallholders to put on some interactive activities on their stalls. I’m also delighted at the number and variety of taster sessions we were able to bring in. They were a lot of fun and gave people the opportunity to have a go at new things.”

Islington’s Adult and Community Learning team made jewellery whilst Age UK’s creative team helped people make embossed copper greetings cards. Cubitt Arts made knitted tassles and St Luke’s did table-top gardening. The Direct Action Project and Rethink collected pledges from people about positive things they would do that day. Peter Crockett from Healthy Generations compered the event and introduced the taster sessions, which included yoga, gentle exercise, poetry performances, community singing, and Latin American and line dancing. Volunteers from University College London also helped out.

Planning is now under way for a Summer Wellbeing Festival on Saturday July, 8. If you would like to be involved please email

Pupils celebrate the art of diversity

School pupils at a Creative Islington event. Photo: Christa Holka

WITH Brexit now a certainty and the country seeming divided and fearful, a celebration of diversity was most welcome in Archway. Pupils from schools across the borough joined with organisations who represent black and ethnic minority (BAME) groups to celebrate and learn about the differences and similarities at Caxton House Community Centre.

Creative Islington paired Mount Carmel Secondary School with a poet and musician to create art exploring heritage and music; Duncombe Primary School learnt about Turkish art of Ebru – a form of paper marbling – from the Turkish Education Group; pupils from Pooles Park Primary learnt about the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira and Duncombe Primary’s choir sang in unison with the Centre for Refugees and Migrants choir.

Rachel Toogood, operations manager at Creative Islington, said: “This came from us speaking to the BAME groups – we were using art as a vehicle to break down tensions. It was a real celebration of diversity in the borough. It’s especially important with the political agenda going on at the moment. “It helps to think that difference can be fascinating and brings so much to our shared culture.”

Disco moves for Whittington Park

Young, old and middle-aged alike danced the night away at an 80s-themed disco to raise money for the Whittington Park Community Association. Cocktails combined with Prince, Madonna and Wham! helped to fill the dance floor at Lower Hocking Hall on Saturday, with the help of Village Disco – two Tufnell Park dads with a sound system and lights.

The Whittington Park Community Centre is trying to raise £350,000 to refurbish its two halls and provide better disabled access. Alexander Schmidt, from the centre, said: “It is really dilapidated in parts so we are trying to raise money to repair it but also raise awareness of what we do. The idea behind these discos is to give everyone a chance to dance like crazy but not have to go out clubbing till 2 am! Fifty-year-olds became 20 again and the hall was full of happy feet and faces.”

Call 020 7272 1847 or email if you would like to help with fundraising.

Changing minds about dementia

Dementia Friend Patricia Richardson, left, and Patient Care Group coordinator Agnes Musikavanhu

An awareness event designed to explain dementia and Alzheimer’s to an audience of around 50 volunteer carers and others took place at the UCKG HelpCentre in Finsbury Park.

The two conditions are becoming more prevalent in society which has an ageing population, and the volunteers from among the UCKG HelpCentre’s membership who are willing to give their time to visiting and supporting the sick at home and in hospital. The presenter was Patricia Richardson, a Dementia Friend from the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme – the biggest ever initiative designed to change people’s perceptions of dementia, and aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.

Patricia started her interactive presentation on Saturday, March 18, by asking the participants how much they knew about dementia in general and what comes to mind when people hear the word “dementia”. She went on to engage them with games and short quizzes to illustrate key points about the condition.

“It went very well,” said Patricia. “I felt a warm welcome. Everyone participated and and got involved.”


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