As January came to a close and New Year’s Resolutions began to wane, the Henley Town Council offered up a little dose of health motivation with the first ‘Henley Health & Wellbeing Day’. Held on Saturday 2 February, the event invited residents to explore the many local services on offer that help to boost our health and fitness. From free Zumba in Market Place, to complimentary healing in the Kings Arms Barn, and organised walks around the area, it was an opportunity to shake away the winter cobwebs in whichever way you wanted.
Despite Friday’s onslaught of snow, Market Place was completely cleared of ice by the Wellbeing Day team and their shovels, ready for Zumba with Jennifer Benavide. The two energetic dance classes acted as bookends to the day, kicking it off and closing it down with some fitting, fitness fun. For those who fancied a gentler form of exercise, the NHS Walking Group, Henley & Goring Ramblers and Nordic Walking society were all running beautiful strolls through the great and fresh outdoors.
A Foot in the Chilterns Nordic Walkers took part in the Henley Health and Well being day on Saturday with regular walkers demonstrating Nordic walking to visitors including John Howell MP. Anthea from A Foot in the Chilterns said, “In order to get the benefit of nordic walking which is not just ‘walking with poles’ you need to learn the technique – suitable for nearly everyone from the super fit to those with mobility problems. A number of people signed up for the free tasters taking place Saturday 9th February at Greys Court at 10am and Tuesday 12th 1.30pm at the River and Rowing Museum. Some places still available so if you would like to give it a go email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.
Meanwhile, in the Town Hall, Henley’s healthiest businesses exhibited their services. Local gyms, including Love Fitness, B:More at Badgemore, and the Fitness Space, were all promoting the benefits of exercise, whilst other stalls focused on food and nutrition. One such stand advertised a brand new meal prep service, ‘Prepped Henley’, founded by Kelly Johnson only last month. Having recently relocated from San Diego, Kelly’s business offers freshly made food customised to the goals of her clients. She said, “I did this in San Diego and it was huge. Henley didn’t have anything like it so I thought I’d bring it over here!”
As well as health-focused companies, the Town Hall also showcased a couple of local charities and organisations helping to change lives through exercise. Henley Regatta For The Disabled took the chance to raise both money and awareness, hopefully reaching a few more people that might want to take part in the event. Volunteers from Smart Works, too, were shining a light on their ‘Spin For Smart Works’ challenge, the week long fundraiser starting on 1 March which asks teams of 5 to cycle 500 miles. Proceeds from the cycling challenge will go towards helping unemployed women in need to find work, and as such, power and confidence.
Holistic health and wellbeing also held a space in Saturday’s timetable, with therapists from the Be Well clinic holding free treatments in the Kings Arms Barn. Be Well, which traditionally takes place every Mondays in the same location, offers alternative therapies and holistic treatments for free, donating any money they raise to local charities. Visitors to the Wellbeing Day could try taster sessions in Thai massage, Pranic and energy healing, and hypnotherapy, amongst others. Pranic healer, Neena Saith, was also running meditation sessions for children and young adults in the Town Hall’s Council Chamber.
Helen Barnett, Town & Community Manager, organised the event on behalf of the Town Council. She said on Saturday, “I’m delighted to be having our first new Henley Health and Wellbeing Day. We organised it in a very short time and we’ve had so many people who’ve been so helpful and falling over themselves to come today. We’ve got Zumba outside, we’ve cleared the rest of the ice away from the town. It’s been a fabulous team effort. People are very keen to have another event next year, so we’ve been talking to the doctors surgeries about how we can make it bigger and better for the residents of Henley to let them know what’s going on in the town!”
The first Henley Health and Wellbeing Day was sponsored by Wellbeing Towns. The Wellbeing Henley app offers 24/7 GP service, along with counselling services, health advice, and discounts. Visit their website for more information.