Upbeat Streets to put the happiness back into Blue Monday

Happy-CityI am delighted to be a Happiness Champion! Please read news of their latest event that I look forward to taking part in below.

We are told that January 20 will be the worst day of the year, so in Bristol, the Happy City initiative is fighting back, with the launch of a very special project to help us remember how much happiness there is right in front of our own noses.

Blue Monday, is when the chickens of Christmas spending come home to roost in the form of the first credit card bills of the year. Allied to that, summer is far away and some of our New Year’s resolutions are already guilty memories. What better day then to remind ourselves that amidst a lot of gloom, there’s plenty to be happy about? January 20 marks the start of an ambitious happiness-making project for everyone, it’s called Upbeat Streets, and is Happy City’s first project of 2014.

It calls on everyone to capture and share what makes them feel good about their local neighbourhood and where they work, rest and play. You can use a camera or a mobile phone. The main thing is to take a picture of something that makes you happy and upload it to our website, http://www.happycity.org.uk/project/upbeat-streets

Or you can upload an image using Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest with the hashtag #upbeatstreets along with a post code or street name, where it will become part of a rolling gallery of the best things in every corner of Bristol. It might be a quirky bit of street art, the kindness of a stranger or a sign of nature bursting through the urban jungle. Whatever it is that brings you a moment of real happiness, capture it, share it and add to the growing pride in Bristol and its people.

At the Mansion House on January 20, Lord Mayor Faruk Choudhury will launch Upbeat Streets, alongside many of the Bristol 2013 Happiness Champions. To help spread the word, Bristol-based film-maker Marina Perez has made a short-film celebrating all that’s good in the city; there’s a lot of it. Her work will be shown on the big screen in Millennium Square, as well as being screened at the Watershed.

Bristol’s Blue Monday fight-back doesn’t stop there though. To make sure there’s more than just winter doom and credit card gloom, Happy City has organised a travelling choir that will criss-cross the city, the singers belting out some songs chosen for their special, joy-making, qualities.

“We are encouraging people to take notice of their surroundings and to share with others the everyday built and natural environment that make them feel good about living and working in Bristol. We plan to create a digital resource and touring exhibition of photographs that capture people’s favourite places”says Happiness Champion Asif Khan, Project Manager for Upbeat Streets.

“I knew Bristol was the place for me when I saw the statue of Bengali philosopher and poet Raja Rammohan Roy on College Green, a few days after I had arrived in the city,”says the Lord Mayor Faruk Choudhury. “Bristol was recently recognised as the best city to live in the UK – a happy place with an abundance of parks and green spaces.”

“Noticing the good things in life every day is a proven way to build lasting happiness in life. This project helps us to do just that and together we can build wellbeing and resilience across our communities,”says Liz Zeidler, Director of Happy City.

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