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Wednesday, 24 April 2019
THE first Henley Health and Wellbeing Day has been hailed a success despite being hit by freezing conditions.
Staff from the town council, which organised the event, shovelled snow and ice from Falaise Square to ensure it was safe for visitors before Saturday’s event.
Scores of people took part in taster sessions for a range of activities that were held in Market Place, Queen Elizabeth II hall at the town hall and King’s Arms Barn, off King’s Road.
Dance teacher Jennifer Benavidez-Glasspole, from Shiplake, led two free salsa and Zumba classes in the square. She taught participants a few basic moves then led them through a series of routines set to Latin dance music.
Henley MP John Howell was among the dozen or so people who took part in the afternoon session.
He said: “I found it quite intriguing and I was pleased to be asked to come forward and join them. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I’m not sure whether I was any good at it. Jennifer was very encouraging and very good at helping people to learn the moves quickly. It was marvellous and I’m pleased to say that I was not the only man who took part.”
Henley Cricket Club had a stand outside where children could try their hand at the sport using a plastic ball and miniature stumps.
The Henley and Goring Ramblers led two guided walks for different ability levels which started and finished in Market Place.
Staff from NHS Health Walks led a short walk and there were also two half-hour walks led by Nordic walking instructors Anthea Osborn-Jones and Pipsticks Walking.
Visitors could book a consultation with staff from Fitness Space, of Station Road, and the Love Fitness gym, based at Henley Rugby Club, or get weight loss advice from Kimberley Maddox, of Slimmer Future.
Instructors Paul Agar and Chloe Marsh, of Fitness Space, led three free classes on strengthening the body’s core muscles.
A team from Better, which runs Henley leisure centre, were there to discuss the NHS’s exercise on prescription scheme and the physical and emotional benefits of being more active.
Several businesses and community groups had information stalls in the town hall including the Henley Regatta for the Disabled, Badgemore Park Golf Club, which had a miniature putting green for children, Henley Podiatry Health and I Am Mine Therapies, which gave information on digestive health and lymphatic massage.
The town council had a stall showcasing its nature walks and allotment sites off Reading Road and Matson Drive. It also gave out information on the Refill scheme, which reduces plastic waste by encouraging businesses to refill visitors’ water bottles on request.
The Be Well holistic therapy centre, which offers a wide range of alternative and complementary therapies during term time, was offering treatments at the King’s Arms Barn in exchange for a £5 donation to the My Cancer, My Choices charity.
Pranic healer Neena Saith, from Caversham, led two meditation sessions in the council chamber at the town hall, one for children and another for teenagers.
The event was sponsored by Wellbeing Henley, a mobile phone app that offers access to a GP 24 hours a day. It had a stall giving information about the service, which donates £1 per month from subscription fees to the Nomad youth and community project at the d:two centre in Upper Market Place.
Organiser Helen Barnett, the council’s town and community manager, said: “We were delighted with our first event of this kind and everyone who took part was really keen to do another next year.
“We weren’t exactly helped by the snow but I’m very grateful to our parks services team and other colleagues who did a great job of making sure it wasn’t dangerous underfoot.
“There was a huge cross-section of stallholders covering different aspects of health and wellbeing. They typically work in isolation but it was a good chance for them to discuss new ways of working together.
“We’ll be asking if they would prefer another time of year but we thought the end of January was a good time to focus people’s minds on health when their New Year’s resolutions might be flagging and show them the many different approaches they can take.
“It was organised at relatively short notice but next year we will allow ourselves much more time and we hope that more clubs will be able to get involved.”
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