A PIONEERING mental health festival has been deemed a success.

Bridport’s Mind Fest celebrated ‘the power of the mind’ with a five day event at various locations across the town.

Organised by the Hughes Unit Group Supporters (HUGS) the event led up to, and coincided with, World Mental Health Day on Tuesday. (Oct10)

It saw a huge variety of workshops and activities take place around the town.

Organiser Simon Williams said: "It went extremely well. All the workshops were well attended and it exceeded expectations."

Mind Fest was supported by the community from the very beginning, having raised £6,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to go-ahead.

Workshops covered topics such as the impact of drugs and alcohol on families, awareness and support for those without families, the difficulties of stigma surrounding mental health and the profound impact on society of depression.

Activities included dance, puppet-making, yoga, cartoon drawing, creative writing, photography and well-being, and mental health first-aid.

Young people in the area were a key part of the festival, which aimed to raise awareness of mental health, how to take steps to ‘heal’ the mind and tackle stigma.

Bridport’s Minerva Learning Trust Choir - made up of Bridport Primary School, Burton Bradstock School, St Mary’s School and the Sir John Colfox Academy -performed in the Arts Centre on the festival finale and children from all schools involved in the trust created posters in the lead-up to the event that focussed on issues around healthy minds.

Schoolchildren also wore yellow on World Mental Health Day.

Mr Williams said: "The children's choir was marvellous. All the local schools got involved - it was brilliant."

Mr Williams and fellow organisers have high hopes for the future of Mind Fest and are aiming to make it an annual, all-age festival which includes education in schools.

They hope the festival will address the fear and stigma associated with mental illness, believing that ‘less stigma and more openness will reduce the impact on people with mental illness and everyone else substantially.’

Mr Williams added: "It was wonderful. I'm very satisfied and everyone is Bridport is talking about it. We're hoping to be back next year."