The Bridport Mind Fest

The Bridport Mind Fest is an independant, open access, all age festival; from 1 to 101 we believe in creating a supportive community that looks after its mental wellbeing. We are an annual festival, run by the people of Bridport and taking place in October to coincide with World Mental Health Day. We want to celebrate Mental Health and Wellbeing through a programme of performances, talks, events and much more….Find out more about Our Vision.

The Bridport Mind Fest has grown out of HUGS (Hughes Unit Group Supporters) with the idea of providing a framework and reaching out to connect the many local and national organisations which provide support for people experiencing mental health problems, and promoting wellbeing.

The inaugural festival was held in 2017 and we were overwhelmed by the way the Festival mushroomed from a simple idea exploration to a six-day festival with eighteen workshops by different organisations, five ongoing events throughout the festival and seven major events! Including performances by Angie Le Mar and Clive Stafford Smith both of whom have international reputations, and kindly donated their time to Mind Fest.

Work in schools and for young people is really important to us, and our logo was designed as part of a competition at Sir John Colfox Academy.


HUGS, The Hughes Unit Group Supporters, is a mental health organisation founded by eight in-patients from the Hughes Unit. There are about a hundred members. Mostly from the old Hughes Unit catchment area of Bridport, Lyme Regis and Beaminster, but with an increasing number from North Dorset. About two thirds are service users and one third carers, some of the carers are also service users. It holds regular meetings. Its work is fact based and as such the Chairman was asked to participate in the redesign of Mental Health services in Western Dorset by the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group. A number of reports on mental health provision have been written by members.

The Minds behind Mind Fest

Having witnessed the effects of mental illness on peers and loved ones throughout his life, Simon Williams, chair of HUGS (Hughes Unit Group Supporters), thought it would be a good idea to have a festival of the mind. Led by Simon, the event has been organised by members of HUGS and a wider team drawn from the Bridport area community.

The 2018 committee is:

  • Simon Williams Chairman coordinating structure, programme and Website
  • Max Mackay-James Treasurer covering fund raising, crowdfunding pledges and finance
  • Cressida Dicks Secretary Facebook contributor and media
  • Lesley Archibald
  • Arthur Woodgate covering liaison with the Sir John Colfox Academy and Primary school contact David Powell
  • Peter Wilson covering Music
  • Colin Tracy covering House Design publications and the art Exhibition
  • Kelvin Clayton coordinating contacts with third party organisations and the Town Council
We are very grateful to:
  • Gemma Alldred for updating the web site, the Crowdfunder & social media
  • Ellie Sturrock and David Powell for creating the video
  • Tom Hughes for editing the video
  • To all those who have volunteered to lead a workshop