Group is aiming to get Hastings smiling again

Action for Happiness group, Southwater Centre, St Leonards
Action for Happiness group, Southwater Centre, St Leonards
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AN upbeat community group is on a mission to turn the town’s frowns upside-down.

The Action for Happiness (AFH) organisation based at the Southwater Centre, Stainsby Street, Leonards, is determined to make Hastings a happier place to live and is half way through its Good Week scheme.

This has included talks, workshops and complementary health sessions and seen members handing out happiness hints to commuters at St Leonards Warrior Square train station.

Paul Crosland, who heads the group, said: “We are concerned that a lot of people - ourselves included - lose track of what is important in life and do not get information about how to stay on an even keel in the turbulence of modern society. Despite all the technology and resources we have, society is less happy than it was.”

The AFH programme is based on scientific studies which have identified five key factors that can boost people’s happiness - connecting with other people, being active and healthy, learning new skills, giving to others and taking note of the good things in their lives.

These tips have been shared with train passengers every morning this week and Mr Crosland found the range of responses quite revealing. He said: “Some people have said it is wonderful and just what Hastings and St Leonards needs to lift its mood but we have had the occasional person tell us they are not interested in happiness. Some people approach happiness from a body and mind point of view, some think it is about changing things politically and economically and some have a spiritual way in, but we want to bring all these groups together.”

The Good Week events continue today (Friday) and tomorrow with film screenings, stress-busting sessions and talks on the group’s aims but long-term Mr Crosland hopes they can build on this week’s achievements. They are offering Happiness 101 sessions in residents’ homes and they want to reach out to professions that work with the public on a regular basis like taxi drivers and hairdressers. “When those in frequent sustained contact with members of the public have more knowledge of how people can be happier and talk about it, we believe that well-being will spread quicker,” Mr Crosland said.

Visit actionforhastingshappiness.blogspot.com for more information about the scheme.