More than 1,000 people took part in the Barrow #BeWellFest and the event has been hailed as a huge success.
‘#BeWellFest: The Lost Art of Living’ was organised by Barrow Council, Cumbria County Council, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) and wellbeing organisations in South Cumbria. The fun festival took place on Sunday, October 6, in and around The Forum in Barrow.
Deborah Wilde, one of the #BeWellFest organisers and Lead Chaplain at Furness General Hospital, said: “We welcomed 1,000 people to #BeWellFest including around 645 runners.
“There was a huge amount of energy at the festival. People told us they really wanted to be involved. The youngest person at the festival was a tiny baby and the ‘Silver Sunday’ event for older people took place downstairs in the Forum.
“It was great that so many people came along because we were able to gather new ideas on how to make Barrow and surrounding areas a better place to live; to ask: “What does wellbeing look like in Barrow?” What also came across to me was the fact that people had a deep interest in each other.
“The #BeWellFest was all about building communities and we certainly achieved that. For me, one of the best things was working together as a planning group with the council and other partners; sharing our ideas and hopes. From the Trust’s perspective, it was a great success and we have shown people that we want to help.”
Deborah said the streets of Barrow were full of runners and other activities included arts and crafts for wellbeing, the dementia tea service, Boogie Bounce demos, Smoothies Bikes, a demo by archivists from Barrow Library, men’s groups and dance displays. Tracey Litt from UHMBT’s catering team demonstrated and made healthy meals for everyone to enjoy and Mini Health MOTs were offered.
The running events included a 10k, a ‘Mental Health Mile’ in association with Mind in Furness and a Timed Mile for competitive runners. CanDo FM and BBC Radio Cumbria were in attendance outside the Forum and the current and former Mayors of Barrow took part.
UHMBT’s Chaplaincy Team, Bay Hospital Charity, St John Ambulance, the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), Parish Nurses within the local community, the Rotary Club, Age UK, Furness Carers and Mind in Furness were also there with information and advice.
Emma Broadbent, Community Development Officer for Active Cumbria, Cumbria County Council, said: “It was a fantastic day. The support of the Barrow public and beyond was incredible.
“People came in the masses and created a wonderful atmosphere from being a marshal, stall-holder, runner or visitor, there an opportunity for everyone. Barrow is a great town and what makes it great is the people and that showed on the day of the festival.”
Maxine Baron, Integrated Care Community Development Lead, said: “The event was an example of fantastic partnership working and community involvement.
“Not only did we have the very successful #BeWellFest, but also Barrow Running Festival and the Silver Surfer event going on at the same time.
“The three events showcased what a brilliant community we have here in Barrow. People gave up their time to support the three events from marshalling, to setting the venue up. We had weeks of hard graft to pull everything together. It was a totally brilliant day.”