Almost 3000 students attended WellFest 2021 at Hartpury University and College, an event that highlights the variety of safety, health and wellbeing support services on offer for young people.
40 specialist organisations were in attendance including the Samaritans, GayGlos, Gloucestershire Young Carers, Pets as Therapy, Teens in Crisis, Farming Friends and the Hollie Gazzard Trust. The local NHS and Gloucestershire Constabulary also attended the event that took place on campus on Thursday 23 September.
First run in 2013 and originally named Drive for Live, WellFest is now a UK-wide event. Having evolved from its original road safety theme to now helping young people to be safe, happy and healthy, this year’s event saw another record attendance.
Showpiece events included workshops around student safety, drug and alcohol use, as well as a strong focus on mental health. Route Puppets put on arguably the most popular show of the day, with an engaging presentation covering issues around equality and diversity, British values and knife crime, all in an entertaining and educational way. The UK-based theatre company has received widespread acclaim for its work in colleges combining important educational material within entertaining performances.
In a student survey, around 91% of Hartpury students said that WellFest had improved their understanding of personal safety, health and wellbeing. This has contributed to the institution being awarded Outstanding across all four strands of the Residential Ofsted inspection and is now an annual event that is part of Hartpury’s fabric of support.
Having been a pilot university for the Student Minds University Mental Health Charter, Hartpury University is now working towards full charter status, further reinforcing its stance on the importance of a comprehensive mental health agenda.
Lesley Worsfold, Vice-Principal (Resources) of Hartpury University and Hartpury College, said: “WellFest is a fantastic event and we are delighted to have been able to welcome it back in 2021. After the many challenges of the pandemic, it has never been more important to remind young people of the importance of wellbeing, physical and mental health, and personal safety.
“We know how daunting it can be for students potentially having moved away from home, meeting new people and adjusting to the next stage of their lives, so it’s vital that we make them aware of the help and support available to them around the clock.
“We’re grateful to the many exhibitors who attended this year, many of whom Hartpury has forged long lasting relationships. We also used the event to promote our Student Zone, a one-stop shop where our students can find and access all the support they need in one place.
“The event is the perfect way to start a new academic year.”