By Ayesha Begum, Education Project Coordinator
It’s so important to stay active, try new things, and get involved with the community to help stay on top of your wellbeing. From a visit to the local farm to a unique story-telling photo exhibition, there’s no shortage of fun and exciting activities for yourself, your family, and friends to get stuck in with in Islington next week. Many of our recommended activities are community-centred and involve connecting with local initiatives and local people.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, remember to take some time for yourself. Take part in activities that you enjoy, or may not even have thought to try before! Exercising, spending time in nature and being selfless have all proven to help reduce stress, improve your emotional wellbeing, and can even benefit your physical health.
So roll up those sleeves for your visit to the farm next week, increase that step count, and take in some local culture – all while boosting your wellbeing!
Date: Sunday 12th May, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Venue: Culpeper Community Garden, 1 Cloudesley Rd, London, N1 0EJ
Come along to Culpeper’s plant sale - eat cake and meet your neighbours. Buy some plants to bring new life to your living space and help you feel more relaxed at home.
The Culpeper Community Garden is a public open space in the heart of Islington, which serves both as a city park and as an environmental community project. The garden is managed by and for local people, and is a unique project which invites people from all walks of life to come together to appreciate and enhance their local environment.
Date: Monday 13th May, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Venue: Highgate Wood
Join the Culpeper Community Garden as they head out to Highgate Wood to enjoy a forest bathing session as part of their Nature Meditation project.
What is a forest bathing session, you ask? I had the same question.
Modelled on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, this practice combines mindful awareness, meditation and nature-therapy. Forest ‘bathers’ are guided through simple activities designed to help quieten the mind, awaken the senses, and create a sense of calm. The practice aims to help people develop a deeper connection with themselves and with the natural world.
Booking is essential.
3. Support the arts in Islington and book tickets to a show
Do something different this week, and treat yourself to a show at the Almeida Theatre! The Almeida Theatre produces a diverse range of British and international drama with some of the world's best artists. It has developed a reputation as a local theatre with a world-class profile.
For kids and adults, enjoy a puppet show at the Little Angel Theatre. Established in 1961, The Little Angel Theatre is children's puppet theatre and is 'the Home of British Puppetry'.
Get your rubber gloves and bin liners at the ready, and help clean Islington’s littered public spaces and parks. As evidence of your efforts, post before and after pictures on social media, and then nominate someone else to clean up a local space.
The Capital Ring is a strategic walking route promoted by London's 33 local councils. Divided into 15 easy-to-walk sections, the walk covers 78 miles (126km) of open space and nature reserves, and offers you the chance to see some of London's finest green spaces.
Section 12 of the walk boasts some of the greenest scenery along the Capital Ring Walk, which includes our very own Finsbury Park!
Date: 5 April to 3 June 2019
Opening times: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Wednesday and Sunday (and public holidays): Closed
Venue: Islington Museum, 245 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4NB
Head over to the Islington Museum to see a photo exhibition where everyone has a story to tell about their connection to Islington. With photographs by Kimi Gill, the exhibition is inspired by the Islington Faces blog set up by Nicola Baird in 2012, which now features over 300 interviews with people who live or work in Islington.
Islington is one of the boroughs with the least greenspace in London. Freightliners City Farm offers a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city, with 2.5 acres of green space where you can get involved in farming and gardening. The farm is an open access space, and is free to the public.
Getting fresh air and being among nature can bring benefits to both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can help improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress and frustration, and can even help to improve your confidence and self-esteem.
This month is National Walking Month – the days are longer, so there’s no excuse not to venture outside and get some fresh air. Walking is a great way to explore the city, and you can pass some of London’s most famous landmarks along the way.
Follow the Parkland Walk route, which will take you down a trail to Highgate Woods, passing an abandoned platform and graffiti art until you arrive out the other end of Finsbury Park.
NCVO champions the voluntary sector by connecting, representing and supporting voluntary organisations. Take a look at their website to sign up for a volunteering opportunity that suits you.
10. Got a quiet period at work?
If you have spare time at work and want to do something to benefit the local community why not organise a meaningful work experience programme for local Islington students?
Mentoring Works is our flagship mentoring programme, which matches business volunteers to students in London secondary schools and sixth forms for a 10-month period.
Mentors and students develop a supportive relationship in which young people are encouraged to expand their visions of what they want to achieve in life, and acquire the professional and interpersonal skills needed to be successful in their chosen career.
Get in touch if you’d like to get involved!
At the BIG Alliance, we also facilitate employee volunteering opportunities. From team challenges to business skills volunteering, we have lots for you to take part in.