Kinder Leeds launched its first Festival of Kindness, Compassion and Wellbeing in September 2020, and this event proved a powerful opportunity for people to come together and share inspiration for a kinder community, and a kinder world.
The Festival was shaped around members of the local community asking a simple question: What would a city of kindness & compassion look like?
Thanks to funding from Leeds Community Foundation and the National Lottery Community Fund, and involvement from many partners, what started as a grassroots initiative to celebrate existing caring initiatives and boost community spirit has evolved into the inaugural Festival of Kindness.
Like many other events, the festival was forced to go online due to the pandemic. However, this gave it a much wider reach. The Festival included 33 events which attracted well over 1,000 people from across the UK, and from 16 countries around the world.
Exploring Different Forms of Kindness
Organised by volunteers, the festival week covered six themes: kindness to self, kinder relationships, kinder business, kinder places, kindness to the environment.
Guest speakers included the author, peace activist and NOW Trustee Satish Kumar, Eden Project Community’s Tracey Robbins and Jo Cox Foundation Founder Iona Lawrence.
Here at NOW, we supported the Festival as a partner organisation and we ran an event on Kinder Relationships as part of the Festival Week, which also formed part of our Community Action for Wellbeing series with Eden Project Communities:
When talking about the goals of the Festival, organisers said: “we are putting a flag in the ground for people who want to see the values of kindness, compassion and wellbeing as the prosperity we should be investing in.”
The Festival offered people a powerful experience of kindness which inspired many. One participant said, “I’m so moved by what I’ve seen and heard attending…and yes, I’ll continue to do my bit in making a difference in whatever way I can.”
The open atmosphere of the Festival also helped encourage a feeling of support and connection, with another participant saying: “It spells such hope in sharing this conversation that we are all in the fray together.”
The Festival continued beyond one week, with further events under the banner of ‘Catalysts For A Kinder World’ being run by festival partners. NOW’s Flo Scialom helped to support by facilitating a special event on Activism and Eco-Spirituality with guest speakers from Extinction Rebellion and St Ethelburgas as part of Heart Shift inter-faith and civil society dialogues.
You can watch all recordings of Festival events here. And you can stay updated about further Kinder Leeds activities on their website, on future Heart Shift events here and keep an eye out for the Leeds team as start planning the 2021 Festival!