Don’t miss the Holi Festival

The Holi Festival will take place in Holywells Park on Sunday – a year after a thousand people enjoyed the first outdoor event of its kind in Ipswich.

“Holi” is the Hindu festival that welcomes the spring and celebrates the new life and energy of the season.

Holi is called “The Festival of Colours” and people celebrate the festival by smearing each other with colour and throwing coloured powder around in a good humoured atmosphere.

The festival is taking place on Sunday 6th April from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. It is being organised by the Ipswich & Suffolk Indian Association in partnership with Ipswich Borough Council.

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Art workshop at Town Hall event

Fine Art students will be leading an interactive community art workshop at the Town Hall as part of the Access All Arts event on Sunday (6th April).

The workshop is open to all ages and abilities, with chosen pieces inspired by the Town Hall, to be displayed in the venue at a later date. All participants will be invited to a private viewing of the exhibition.

University Campus Suffolk student Hannah Maynard, organiser of the event, said: “We welcome everyone to come and create a piece of artwork inspired by the Town Hall and to have it displayed in a public exhibition in the Town Hall Galleries, with participants invited to attend organised tours of the venue as part of the experience.”

Access All Arts is free to attend, open from 10am to 4pm and includes a range of activity for the whole family to enjoy, including and arts & crafts Market in the Grand Hall. Venue tours are scheduled for 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
Access All Arts is supported by the Ipswich ReCreate, a partnership between the Borough Council, CSV Media and the eastern Enterprise Hub which is supported by the European Union and aims to boost creative enterprise in Ipswich. For more information or to get involved in the ReCreate Project please go to

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In Praise of Mental Health Cop

Unsafe Spaces

This morning I woke to the very sad news that Mental Health Cop (also known as Inspector Michael Brown of the West Midlands Police) has closed down his blog, Twitter and Facebook page. I don’t know the reasons for this, and those who do know seem to be rather tight-lipped about it. I have noticed, however, that several other police tweeters have also closed their accounts.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael at the Mind Media Awards 2012, where he won the Mark Hanson Award for Digital Media, and interviewed him afterwards. We’ve also conversed online many times, and what’s frequently struck me is how dedicated he is to promoting better understanding of the intersection between mental health and policing. Over time, I’ve come to the view that I was speaking not only with an outstanding police officer, but also a genuinely nice guy. He has certainly…

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From Birth to Death – Our #NHS

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by Glen Chisholm

By the law of averages it is highly unlikely that if you’re reading this in the UK, that you have had no experience of the NHS. I’ve had many myself; from being born in an NHS hospital to trips for sports injuries over the years, from treatment for a heart problem to watching my father die to seeing my son born, the NHS has played a part in many moments of my life.

But firstly, I want to talk about an experience that is not directly connected to me. A few years ago my ex mother-in-law, Gwen was rushed to hospital after falling ill. She had slipped into a coma and we knew the end was near. Even though I was divorced from her daughter, she was still my son’s grandmother and her family were people who had been a part of my life for many years.

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Alexandre Dumas: An Original Writer of Colour

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by Glen Chisholm

A new generation of viewers are being introduced to the swashbuckling adventures of D’Artagnan and his friends and brothers in arms Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Many will know their motto,

“All for one, One for all”

as their adventures are played out in the BBC’s new Sunday night family drama series. The Three Musketeers has been produced on screen in film and TV numerous times. even in the form of a cartoon,Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds in the early 80’s.

For me it’s great that once again these works are getting exposure as I’ve felt a love for stories of adventure ever since I was a child. I remember my father had a collection of classic books, bound in faux leather with gold leaf print. This of course caught my attention and when I started reading them they captured my imagination. As I got…

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What does a “Mental Patient” look like ?

What does a ‘Mental Patient’ look like ? For Asda it looks like a grotesque figure with a hideous face blood stained clothes brandishing a meat clever. For me my image of a ‘Mental Patient’ is something different and if I want to see what one looks like I just look at my reflection. I had struggled for years and undergone treatment for Depression I had suffered from a mental health problem but I’m not unique in that. As many as 1 in 4 will suffer from a form of mental illness.

So in case you have not heard Asda and Tesco decided that an ideal Halloween costume would be the grotesque figure complete with blooded shirt and meat cleaver. They then decided to label it ‘Mental Patent’ “so what’s wrong with that” some said “its only a harmless bit of fun” some declared. Unfortunately it is not just a harmless bit of fun. Imagery can be very important and what this costume did was reinforce stereotypes and help enforce the stigma that surrounds mental health. We already have people facing discrimination and fear of coming forward, this outfit just feeds the misconceptions and myths around mental health. Now everyone can make mistakes with imagery. I myself have used the “Headclutcher” image in a blog before something I regret as it does not truly represent who people with mental health problems are.

What happened next was an example of people power. As the image from Asda’s website went viral the angry reaction on Twitter forced the Asda to withdraw the outfit. The Supermarket chain apologized and explained they would make a donation to Mind. This showed that people can make a difference and also that people where not prepared to sit back and let this happen.

But this was not the story ended, twitter not only forced Asda to drop the outfit it then had the inspired #Mentalpatient hashtag, turning something positive from the incident. Thousands of people posted pictures of then self’s in their ‘mental patient’ costumes and these pictures consisted of normal people doing normal things. Because that is what a ‘mental patient’ looks like we are all individuals from all walks of life, we need to work together to end the stigma. And like I said at the start if I want to see what a mental patient looks like I just need to look in the mirror.

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Being Mixed Race: Am I A Human Rorschach Test?

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byGlen Chisholm

Just last week I was standing at a bus stop when a gentleman; a complete stranger came and joined me. Nothing unusual about that, we then politely nodded at each other and a conversation started up.

Me: “Evening”
Stranger: “Evening”
Me: “it’s still quite warm isn’t it”
Stranger: “yes it is”; pause; “excuse me mate, but were do you come from?”
Me: “Ipswich”
Stranger: “no, you know, were do you originate from”
Me: “I originate from Ipswich, my mum is English and my dad is Jamaican”
Stranger, sounding surprised: “Really I wouldn’t have thought you were Black, I’d have thought you were Italian or Spanish or something”
Me, politely smiles: “yeah, I sometimes get that”

Now I wasn’t offended by this and this wasn’t the first time or probably won’t be the last time that I’ll have this conversation. I am a light skinned mixed race person…

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