Spring has sprung…and so did the first Macmillan Wellbeing Day of 2018!

Spring into action was the order of the day, at the first Macmillan Wellbeing Day of 2018.

The North Bristol Wellbeing Day on Wednesday 21st March was hosted by our Macmillan Prevention and Re-enablement project, and saw over 30 people aged 55+ living with and beyond cancer, and their carers and supporters, come along to try a variety of fun and physical activities available across North Bristol.

The event which was kindly supported by BAWA Health & Leisure, kicked off with a warm welcome from Sally Crocker, Macmillan Project Manager, followed by an introduction to all of the stall holders present. A wide range of stallholders including Bristol Charities, Home Instead, NBT Macmillan Wellbeing Centre, SportsPound and the Community Navigators were available to showcase the services they offer throughout North Bristol.

Opening speaker Alistair Macfarlane, Exercise Referral Manager of Energise!, spoke in depth about the numerous benefits that engaging in physical activity can have on improving overall health and wellbeing, specifically highlighting benefits for those recovering from treatment such as: aiding recovery and reducing the risk of recurrence.

Participants were then treated to a Singing session led by tutor Adele and accompanied by a gaggle of the Golden Oldies Singing Group, who sing in Henbury and Brentry. The group belted out classics such as ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ and ‘Summer Holiday’. Participant Wendy commented, “The singing was very uplifting’.”

Singing was followed by Gentle Exercise with tutor Michelle, whose sessions are available in Lockleaze and other locations across North Bristol. Michelle got everyone up on their feet to a joyous session where coloured scarves were waved; simple arm and body movements were demonstrated, all to fun and familiar music.

Participant Margaret beamed,

It was such fun, throwing the scarf around – you need laughter, you’ve got to! You have to carry on; you don’t choose to have it [cancer]. It makes it so easy with all those other people around you.”

Alongside Gentle Exercise was Walking Sports tasters of Football and Rugby. Some participants took to the fields to try a game with Bristol Sport Foundation. With many of these participants joining the day from Prospect Prostate Cancer Support group, one participant shared how he felt trying walking football after a cancer diagnosis, Now, within an hour I’m tired, I feel guilty about not doing stuff. But you can do it; you’ve just got to measure it. I like football, now I’ve tried it; the game is modified to me – Slower. I have to be realistic.”

The event glided into the afternoon with a Ballroom taster session with tutor Barrie. Participants learnt some simple steps that soon got them moving around the floor, swapping partners and having a whirl. The laughter continued straight into lunch time, where the focus was on fresh, nourishing food, and time to socialise. There was also time left for people to have a massage with the lovely Helena and Marion, who treated people throughout the day to complimentary therapies.

The day finished with a Relaxation session led by Hannah Currant, Health Care Engagement and Community Development Lead at Penny Brohn. This provided a great space to reflect, and to unwind.

We would like to say a big thank you to Alex Rotas Photography and Cheryl Martin for capturing some inspiring photographs on the day. We would also like to thank all of the stall holders, tutors, volunteers, participants, therapists and staff who made the day.

On reflection of the day one attendee said,

All of it was so informative, altogether, comradery, not on our own. Each person all in the same boat, the togetherness, they all know how you’re feeling. When you meet with someone who’s had the same illness, you don’t need to explain, they have empathy, and they know where you’re coming from. I came home feeling refreshed.”

All of the activity taster sessions showcased at this event are available through the Macmillan Taster Token scheme. If you are aged 55+, are living with and beyond cancer, please contact our Macmillan Prevention and Re-enablement team on 0117 353 3042 to get your hands on a tailored pack and your tokens.

And if you missed the North Bristol event don’t worry, Wellbeing Days will be taking place in South Bristol on Thursday 17th May at Hengrove Park Leisure Centre and in Central/East Bristol later this year. Booking is essential for these events, so to register your space today please call 0117 353 3042.