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Sheffield Wellbeing Festival set to help the city feel great!

Ahead of Sheffield Mental Health Week, which begins with World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the Sheffield Wellbeing Festival, is being held this Friday 29 July 2011 on Fargate, in the City Centre.

From 10am there will be a variety of stalls, activities and even stilt walkers all coming together in celebration of wellbeing and the wide range of wonderful services the city has to offer those experiencing mental health issues and their carers.

A collaboration between Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC), NHS Sheffield, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Mind, the day will see Fargate filled with stalls from organisations offering information on their services, volunteering opportunities and much, much more. There will be facepainting for the young (and young at heart!), as well as music and poetry.

The focus of the day will be on emphasising the steps we can each take to promote and look after our own mental wellbeing, as well as celebrating the services available in the city. Taster sessions will be on offer from 11am to 3pm, to help people find and maintain that wellbeing for themselves, and will include dance, zumba, boxercise and parachute games.

Janet Southworth, Public Health lead for mental health, NHS Sheffield, said: “Sheffield Wellbeing Festival is a chance for everyone to discover how they can take positive steps to improve their health and wellbeing. Looking after our mental health is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and the event is a great way for people to find out more and take some positive steps to feeling good.”

Speakers from Sheffield City Council will be present for the official opening at 1pm; Richard Webb, Executive Director, Communities, Miranda Plowden, Director of Commissioning, Communities and Cllr Mary Lea, Cabinet Member, who will also be starting off the ‘Walk a Mile for Wellbeing’ event at 1:30pm.

The walk is free to sign up to – plus the first 50 people to register their place will get a free water bottle and all participants will be entered into a free prize draw. Registrations will be taken from 10am at the Get Walking Keep Walking stall.

Timetable for the day:
10am – opens
11am – Dance taster session facilitated by Activity Sheffield
11:30am – Zumba taster session facilitated by Healthworks
12pm – Boxercise taster session facilitated by Manor and Castle Development Trust
12:30pm Presentation by Right Here Service User group
1pm – Official Opening
1:30pm – Walk a Mile for Wellbeing, organised by ‘Get Walking Keep Walking’ Sheffield Ramblers
2pm – Parachute Games facilitated by Manor and Castle Development Trust
2:30pm – Zumba taster session facilitated by Sheffield Mind and Body Project and Manor and Castle Development Trust
3pm – Music and poetry

For more information contact Sara Hill by calling 0114 2216174 or emailing:


If you are experiencing mental health problems you can contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. For more information please visit: Some of the myths about mental illness can be frightening. Get the facts, visit


Dancing the strictly minute waltz

Picture the scene. The venue’s a buzzing conference hall. A group of smartly-dressed strangers gradually gravitate towards each other, as they swap bemused looks and fiddle with their fat wad of business cards. Before long they’ve bunched together to form a straggly queue. Neat rows of chairs – lines of two facing in towards each other – are set out just a few feet away. Perky, efficient-looking women with clipboards flit around and start ushering bums onto seats.
Welcome to the world of speed networking. You might think the idea sounds slightly bonkers and smacks of tackiness. But whoever thought of transferring the runaway success of condensed romantic connections to the corporate world was on to something.
When I registered for my first taste of speed networking at the Business North West event at Manchester Central last week, bystanders were reaching for their cameras and I felt a palpable buzz in the air. As I collected my free soft drinks token (‘You’ll be parched when you’re done!’ winked my clipboard lady), part of me felt inspired to rise to the challenge of creating a 60-second ‘elevator speech’ to market my skills and services. The other half berated myself for being drawn to the idea.
Guess which half I listened to? With the ‘USP’ mantra buzzing around my head, I duly became an attentive bum on seat. Then, with an undeniable comedic edge to his voice, I suddenly heard a man’s voice breaking through the polite chitter-chatter, bellowing: ‘Alright, you lot! Come on, we haven’t got all day…’ Dressed in a mock-army jumper and beret, our speed networking guru was taking us by the short and curlies. Blimey, he meant business!
The rules are simple, we were told. When you hear the first blow of the whistle, you swap contact cards with the person sitting opposite you (‘No shaking hands! We don’t want any swine flu!)’ and row one starts their 60-second sell. ‘After the minute’s up, you’ll hear another whistle, like so!’ we were told, before hearing another shrill toot. For the next minute, row two was to pitch. Whistle blow three was everyone’s cue to obediently shuffle two seats down our line. Then, row one were to launch into their pitch again, with a fresh equally-dazzled partner. ‘Right, got it? Are you ready? Go!’
I spent the next adrenalin-charged hour of my life, firing out my pitch, intently absorbing an array of spirited sells (only one networker wimped out by just handing me a leaflet, saying, ‘It’s all there.’), hopping over tangled bag handles and scattering business cards in my wake. All the while, our mock military leader cut us no slack. ‘Come on quick, quick! Get a move on!’ he spluttered, parading up and down, like a Dad’s Army extra on heat. Then, before I knew it, our time was up. ‘That’s it! You have been speed networked!’ barked Mr Beret. ‘Tell everyone. And remember to make that call, and take that call!’
After surviving such an intense sparring experience, I felt like punching the air triumphantly or jerking my arms into a Jerry-Springer style dance. But then I remembered the dozens of business cards I was clutching. ‘What did you think?’ one networker asked, as we wandered off to rejoin the diluted world again. ‘I feel…. networked!’ I joked.
I’ve gained many useful contacts and two potentially-lucrative connections from that surreal, sales-charged 60 minutes. And if I ever get stuck in a lift, I certainly won’t be lost for words.