As COVID-19 swept across the globe, NHCP’s annual celebration of health and social care staff seemed destined for postponement. But going virtual kept the festival alive – delivering a week-long extravaganza of wellbeing fun and learning.

Undeniably, the pandemic enforced major changes to the traditional festival format. Instead of an exhibition-style event, organisers replaced in-person activities with a combination of pre-recorded material and live sessions.

Virtual Wellbeing Festival 2020 headliners, including Clarke Carlisle, Colin MacLachlan, Col. Dame Kelly Holmes, Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Steve Backshall.Huge headline keynotes

Though the feel of NHCP’s Virtual Wellbeing Festival 2020 was certainly unique, the new online format didn’t lead to any loss in quality or engagement. The week-long programme attracted some big celebrity names, with headliners each leading a keynote session to begin every afternoon. Over the course of the week, local health and social care workers were treated to inspirational speakers, including ex-footballer and mental health activist Clarke Carlisle, former SAS soldier Colin MacLachlan and physician Dr Rangan Chatterjee. The legendary British athlete Dame Kelly Holmes roused colleagues, while naturalist and TV presenter Steve Backshall also made a special guest appearance.

A host of wellbeing activity sessions

Alongside the headline events, a series of daily pre-recorded videos completed the full line-up. Each day colleagues were moved and got moving, with sessions encouraging positive and active mindsets towards wellbeing. In keeping with the nation’s lockdown trend, ‘Running for Health’ proved an incredibly popular activity, while tai chi, a club fit mix and the fantastic Disco Diva kept viewers on their toes. Meanwhile, colleagues also came together to celebrate personal stories and tackle some emotive topics – the menopause, anxiety and grief all provoking constructive discussions among peers.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the Virtual Wellbeing Festival 2020 united over a thousand colleagues across Northamptonshire – during the week and since the event, with pre-recorded material remaining online via NHCP’s YouTube channel.

Did you get involved in last year’s event? If you missed out, the upcoming Virtual Wellbeing Festival 2021 is the perfect remedy. Activities begin on Monday 28 June and will run for the entire week. Make sure you follow @ourNHCP on Twitter or look out for updates from your organisation for details of this year’s exhilarating programme.

We cannot wait to do it all again later this month!