The annual Haven Wellbeing Festival is returning for its fifth year this month, bringing a mix of online and in-person events to Stonehaven.
The Haven was set up in 2017 as a community wellbeing space in the Market Square and has a fully-equipped yoga studio, healing room and mindful room.
At the start of the pandemic the yoga studio was quickly transformed into a community larder to support those most vulnerable in the area.
Chair of the board Anna Gale said: “The festival is a celebration of all things community wellbeing.
“It is a great way for anyone to take part in a range of exciting wellbeing activities from yoga to mindful play to magical dancing.
“It encourages people to be curious and learn more by hosting guest speakers on a range of topics which impact our wellbeing.
“This year we are delighted to have talks from some inspirational speakers on Trauma Informed Law (Tony Bone Legal Solicitors) and What is Community? (Suzanne Zeedyk).”
The Haven Helpers
Talking about recent developments at The Haven, Anna said: “With restrictions easing, the larder continues to run but out of its new home at the Stonehaven Community Centre by an amazing group of volunteers, the Haven Helpers.”
The yoga studio has now returned to being used for its original purpose and there are weekly activities including kids’ yoga, African drumming and pilates.
“The Haven is very much a community hub, people are involved and interact with the Haven in many different ways,” said Anna.
“This could be by attending a pregnancy yoga class or visiting the larder or volunteering as a Haven Helper – it is place for everyone.
“To me what is special about the Haven is how they adapt and evolve to meet the needs of the community.
“Their approach to the pandemic and setting up the larder was my reason for firstly getting involved.
“The model is not about solely handing out food parcels but about building a sustainable food community to address poverty, challenge stigma and reduce food waste.”
The Haven is a not-for-profit organisation which also provides space for a number of practitioners to work out of.
The larder runs the Roots to Resilience project which supports people to grow their own produce.
What have been the challenges for The Haven and what does the future hold?
Anna said: “We would love to address our vision of finding a building that brings both the wellbeing space and the larder together in one central location.
“We are in the process of applying for charitable status which will enable the organisation to hopefully grow and thrive.
“If the Haven supports an individual with their wellbeing, it has a knock-on effect on their family, which has a knock-on effect on the wider community, this is why the work of the Haven is important to the town.”
The Haven Wellbeing Festival runs from March 18 to 20. All events are on a donation basis and all funds raised are put back into the community.
To find out more or to book visit www.thehaven.co.uk