AS the Government moves to put mental health closer to centre stage on the political agenda Bridport is gearing up for a major five-day festival.

Bridport Mind Fest is being organised by the Hughes Unit Group Supporters (HUGS), and it will coincide with World Mental Health Day in October.

The event is first of its kind in the town and organisers are appealing for donations to help pay for it.

The crowdfunder campaign is more than half way to the £6,000 target with the total raised so far £3,695.

Spokesman Simon Williams said: "We are absolutely delighted with the response so far.

"The festival, which highlights on World Mental Health Day October 10, aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and celebrate the achievements of people with mental illness.

"Local venues including Bridport Arts Centre, the Lyric Theatre, Chapel in the Garden, Bridport Leisure Centre and more, have offered generous support. Workshop leaders, artists, performers and volunteers have given their services."

The organisers are putting on a wide-ranging programme of events. under the heading “Mental Health – Mental Wealth”, to both emphasise the importance of mental health and to celebrate the achievements of those experiencing mental illness. Both national and local organisations will be involved, including local schools.

Workshops will include dance, puppet-making, yoga, cartoon drawing, creative writing, photography and well-being, and mental health first-aid, with further inputs from Clive Whaley of Bridport Runners, and Dr Max Mackay-James with a dialogue on ageing. There will also be an art exhibition, films, a mood wall, and a choir performance by children from local schools.

Highlights will be an ‘in conversation’ evening with internationally known human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, talking about the book he is currently writing and its relevance to the festival, and the appearance of stage, television and radio star, ‘The Queen of Black Comedy’, Angie LeMar, who will be bringing the festival to a close.

A leaflet outlining the festival will be available from September on offer from Bridport Tourist Information Centre.

The page includes a video from Mr Williams and artist Laura Callaway who explain why the festival matters.

Anyone can donate and there is also a range of pledges on offer from local businesses and organisations. You can also make donations, cheques to “Bridport Mind Fest” at Aroma, 31 East Street.