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Heath Hands: Charity's Hampstead Heath summer festival returns - with cake and capoeira

PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 June 2019

A picnic at last year's Heath Hands Community Festival. Picture: Heath Hands

A picnic at last year's Heath Hands Community Festival. Picture: Heath Hands

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The second annual Heath Hands Community Festival is taking place this weekend.

A sunny Heath Hands Community Festival in 2018. Picture: Heath HandsA sunny Heath Hands Community Festival in 2018. Picture: Heath Hands

Dedicated to encouraging people to use the Heath who might not otherwise, this year's festival has a "storytelling theme", and sees Heath Hands continue to celebrate its 20th birthday.

Heath Hands project assistant Karin Oleinikova told Heathwatch: "It's the same idea as last year. There will be lots of cultural activities, music, stalls.

"It's open to anyone and free, we've got a storytelling theme this year, and we're really trying to be hugely inclusive."

Attractions at the party, which will run from 1 till 5 on Saturday June 8 at and around the Parliament Hill Bandstand, include live music, zumba sessions and a henna tattoo stall.

Dancing at the 2018 Heath Hands Community Heath festival. Picture: Heath HandsDancing at the 2018 Heath Hands Community Heath festival. Picture: Heath Hands

This year, a capoeira group from East London - Capoeira Bemvindo Angola - will even be bringing the traditional dance of the Portuguese diaspora to the Heath.

To celebrate the charity entering its third decade, it will have also be selling birthday cake, with proceeds hopefully helping keep it going for another 20 years and beyond.

Heath Hands was founded by Hampstead doyenne Bobby de Joia in 1999.

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The City of London Corporation (CoLC) is one of the organisations supporting the festival.

The CoLC works closely with Heath Hands and its Heath Management Committee chair Karina Dostalova said: "Heath Hands plays an incredibly important role in the life of the Heath and this event is a shining example.

"The festival is very much a celebration of the local community and the countless hours these volunteers put in to help the Heath thrive.

"We are all custodians of this wonderful green space and Heath Hands are fundamental in making sure that we keep the Heath inclusive and welcoming for all."

If all of that sounds a bit too energetic, Heath Hands is also holding a more sedate mindfulness walk around the Heath tomorrow (Fri).

Karin said this would be aimed at making the most of the Heath's restorative atmosphere.

She said: "It's an introduction to mindfulness which will use the Heath to help focus the mind.

"We ran it really successfully for staff and it's a great walk."

The walk begins at 2, also from the bandstand on Parliament Hill.

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