Islington word festival to focus on mental health

Prof Patel

Prof Patel - Credit: Archant

The borough’s annual Word Festival kicks off this month with a focus on the power of the written and spoken word to boost mental health and wellbeing.

Now in its fourth year, Word2015 will offer a calendar packed with more than 40 events taking place in parks, schools, libraries, youth hubs and the Emirates Stadium. For a month, the festival will cater to people of all ages.

But this year there has been a particular focus on older residents, particularly those with dementia and their carers.

Young people will experience of mental health issues, and young children will also find events to cater for them.

Highlights include Granddad, Dads and Lads – the performance, an evening of poetry and performance for all the family, featuring special guest Michael Rosen and Prof Patel’s Punjeet and Judy-Gee Show with zany puppeteer Prof Patel returning with his popular cross-cultural puppet show.

Cllr Janet Burgess, executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “Word2015 has brought together some of Islington’s best writers, artists and arts organisations, with our fantastic libraries and local people to create a programme of activities for everyone to enjoy. I am especially pleased to see a focus on the important role that reading and writing can play in improving mental health.”

Word2015 is a partnership project between Islington Library and Heritage Service, Islington Arts Service, All Change and Free Word Centre.

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Joyce Wilson, area director London of Arts Council England, said: “The themes that this year’s festival will cover are really important and highlight the value that arts and culture has in engaging children and young people, older people and people with mental health difficulties. We are pleased to be supporting Word2015 through Grants for the Arts.”

Suzanne Lee, artistic director of All Change and creative producer of Word2015, said: “The festival demonstrates how arts organisations and libraries can work together to create extraordinary and imaginative experiences, which enable people of all ages to discover and tell stories, especially those we might not usually hear from, and in places we might not expect to find them.”