Wellbeing in the community
Community connections are vital to wellbeing
Through our work in Totnes, we aim to help the local community to connect and to put wellbeing into practice in different ways. We have run workshops, open meetings and stalls, and attended meetings and events, engaging with many wonderful local organisations and kind-hearted volunteers who have all contributed to NOW Totnes in valuable ways. We aim to be open and responsive in our engagement with the community, and this approach has led to a range of activities.
Our Community Potluck suppers sprang from the need for somewhere new for people to go on a Friday night to connect with each other; somewhere accessible, affordable, and family-friendly. Our Community Potlucks are shared meals in which everyone is invited to bring food to share. We began with a one-off event, which was so popular that these now take place monthly, with attendance of over 100 people. As open spaces, our Potlucks have evolved to reflect the needs and interests of the community, who contribute many activities from face-painting to music performances. The Potlucks always attract a warm and enthusiastic audience, and have even been attended by the Totnes Mayor. Click here to find out more about our Community Potlucks.
Engaging with wellbeing thinkers and activists
NOW has hosted and co-hosted a range of talks and workshops locally, including talks by:
- Nic Marks on wellbeing at work
- Diego Isabel La Moneda on Economy for the Common Good
- Lorenzo Fioramonti on his book Gross Domestic Problem
We have shared interviews with inspiring thinkers such as Dr. Ha Vinh Tho and Fritjof Capra. We have also run training programmes and co-hosted workshops on topics such as maximising wellbeing. These events represent valuable opportunities to meet new people and develop ideas, which help to bring wellbeing to the fore and engage wider audiences.
Celebrating international events locally
We have found that a really powerful way to come together in the local community is to participate in wider, international wellbeing events. For example, we have organised local events in Totnes to tie-in with International Happiness Day. We have contributed the Tagore Festival, where in 2014 we hosted a wellbeing area which brought together complimentary therapists and local groups. We are also involved with Totnes Pride, where we have participated in the community section of the event since its inception in 2013.
Connecting with local food can support personal, community and environmental wellbeing in many ways. For example, community gardens can bring people together to learn, connect with each other, with their food, and with nature, whilst also offering people the opportunity to give and share their time and skills. All of this shows how powerful community gardens can be for generally supporting all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing.
We have helped bring together different local organisations to work on new gardens, such as the linear forest garden at Totnes Station. We have also previously helped support Big Dig events, which have brought together a variety of local edible gardens and growing projects, and helped to raise awareness about the importance of these projects to the local community. In Totnes, as throughout many parts of the UK, we are blessed with many other organisations doing incredible work on local food, which we would recommend you take a look at, such as Transition Town Totnes, which has an active Food Group running many projects, and Gardening for Health, which demonstrates the tangible health benefits which can result from gardening.
Through our activities with various local organisations, we have identified the value and impact of a small starter funding for new projects aimed at supporting wellbeing, and so we therefore set up our local Wellbeing Fund, further details of which can be found on the Wellbeing Fund page.
Overall, the intention of all of our local work in Totnes is to support community wellbeing and learn from these experiences so that we can share tools and resources to help other communities instigate wellbeing activities too. If you would like more information about our work please feel free to get in touch.