Colchester Borough Council’s Livewell campaign was launched one year ago this month – and to celebrate, Livewell Colchester was proud to sponsor the Young Children's Festival in Upper Castle Park on Saturday 16 June.
The 24th annual festival, organised by a group of local volunteers, saw organisations, charities, and support services come together to show just how good connecting with our community is for our mental and physical wellbeing.
Festival-goers were able to participate in a wide range of health-promoting activities and fun-based workshops, including: Rhyme Time, delivered by Essex Libraries; animation workshops, by Signals; healthy snack-making with Colchester Borough Council Zone Wardens; circus skills delivered by First Site, and advice for parents from Essex Children and Families Health and Wellbeing Service – as well as lots more workshops and music and dance demonstrations.
With mental health issues among children a matter of growing concern, Livewell Colchester’s focus at the festival was on the importance of prevention, self-care, behaviour change and resilience – the Five Ways To Wellbeing – as an approach that helps prevent mental health issues from developing as well as supporting those suffering with mental health issues through their recovery.
Research by the Children's Society and the New Economics Foundation has shown that being active, taking notice, being creative and playing, and learning and connecting with others are key to a child’s mental health and wellbeing.
Since Livewell Colchester launched its local campaign, the Council has spearheaded a number of collaborative initiatives and projects aimed at making our community healthier and happier. Beat the Street, for example, the popular game played on the streets of Colchester last autumn, had over 14,000 people take part and increased their physical activity.
Grants have also been provided to a number of local community organisations, including to MS-UK to deliver mindfulness classes, Disability4Sport to develop deaf football classes and to Beacon House to promote healthy lifestyles for homeless residents across the borough.
In addition, Livewell Colchester's Startwell programme is working to ensure greater access to crisis support for families who are in temporary accommodation or in danger of becoming homeless, and is supporting engagement projects aimed at young people involved in anti-social behaviour or who are at risk of developing mental health issues.
Cllr Tina Bourne, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “Supporting the health and wellbeing of the residents of Colchester is such an important undertaking for the Council.
“The Livewell Colchester campaign, which has helped to fund many community ventures and offer support and advice, is a wonderful way to positively impact the community. The success of projects such as Beat the Street shows a real desire by residents to engage in fun, healthy activities, and we are proud to support initiatives that help everyone in the Borough live active, healthy lifestyles.”
Colchester Borough Council’s joint winning bid with Active Essex, Essex County Council, Basildon District Council and Tending District Council, for Sport England and National Lottery funding to transform levels of inactivity, will be delivered through the vehicle of Livewell and will also form an important part of its Strategic Plan for the Borough. Livewell Colchester, and the ongoing support of the healthier lives of Colchester residents, looks set to continue.
More information about the Livewell Campaign can be found at https://www.livewellcampaign.co.uk/