HealthFest is back!

The fifth annual HealthFest event launches on 10 October 2022.

The theme for this year is Gratitude and Giving and, unlike previous years where the event has been focussed solely on September, this year there will be a HealthFest week each month for October, November, December and January.  

The first week in October, will form part of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Gratitude Week 2022 – a chance to come together, celebrate and give thanks. This week is about appreciating and valuing each other, recognising the commitment and hard work given by all. As part of the wider week, HealthFest offers a range of uplifting activities for all staff to enjoy and have some much-needed self-care.

The activities across all four months will include both in person and online sessions which is hoped will make them accessible to more people across the wide geography of the Trust.  The first session of the four month project will be an African dance session delivered by a member of staff at one of the Community Hospitals, with other activities like yoga, meditation, mindful coaching, art, forest bathing, walks and art appreciation spread out over the following days and months.

Head of Charity and Involvement Julie Pink said: “Oxford Health Charity are delighted to launch HealthFest – at a time when staff continue to face multiple challenges, it is important we take time for ourselves and show gratitude to others.  We hope HealthFest can support staff through the winter months and provide a time out when needed.”

HealthFest over the last five years

HealthFest was initially created to raise awareness of Trust services, breakdown stigma around mental ill health and encourage more involvement across the wide geography that the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust covers.  It started with a community event in 2018 showcasing teams from across the Trust and local charities, welcoming members of the community onto the Warneford site in Oxford to learn more about Oxford Health, the services provided and ways to become more involved with healthcare.  The 2019 event was a similar style of event with music, dance, theatre and other activities added to the information stands to highlight how important the arts are to recovery and wellbeing.  The theme for 2019 was 'Living Well through Activity' and visitors to the event were encouraged to take part in pre-bookable activities or ad hoc sessions at stands or in the main central arena.  There was also a football tournament held on site for patients and staff run by the Occupational Therapy team. 

In 2020, as a result of pandemic restrictions, the planned HealthFest event themed as 'Thriving with Nature' could not be held.  As an alternative, 2020 became an online festival with virtual stalls sharing information on services, support and ways to support yourself and others through that first difficult pandemic year. 

The focus for 2021 and 2022 has been more internal, recognising that it is often the people who give care who forget to care for themselves and providing a host of wellbeing activities for staff, governors and volunteers across the Trust. 

It is hoped that we will return to a physical event in the future and look forward to what HealthFest 2023 might be.