Thu 4 Jan 2024 Polly Shute

Pride in Wellness Week


It was three years in January that the idea for Out & Wild began. We were still in a world of lockdowns, face masks and home working. Like many others, I struggled with my mental health during lockdown and the forced isolation had made me hunger for more adventure and experiences going forward.

When I spoke to friends, it was also clear that many in the community wanted to find new ways to connect with others in the LGBTQ+ community that were not in crowded streets and focused on drinking.

I got introduced to Amber Lort-Phillips, who runs the Big Retreat, a self-titled ‘feel-good festival’ set in Pembrokeshire Wales. I was blown away by the space she had and her model and immediately set up a pilot Out & Wild weekend for 30 people in September 2021. It was a massive success and all attendees told me I needed to make a larger Festival a reality.

Fast forward to 2024 and this year’s Out & Wild is set to triple in size from the original festival in 2022. We are also rolling out Pride Swim, after a successful pilot in September 2023 and plan more smaller events, like our Dartmoor Walking and Yoga Weekend last year.

Out & Wild, and our events, are focused on bringing a LGBTQ+ female and non-binary community together. And whilst there is a focus on music, comedy, sport and spoken word. Wellness is consistently our most popular area.

So, for 2024 we are launching the first Out & Wild Pride in Wellness Week. I have pulled together the event, working with our lead curator in this area, Ruth Harlow. Ruth runs Rainbow Retreats and has long been focused on creating inclusive wellbeing events, especially for LGBTQ+ women and those who are non-binary.

We wanted to do this is January, not just because it’s usually a time for health and wellbeing resolutions. But also, because it can be a challenging time for the queer community, who can live alone and have challenging relationships with family. Research also shows you are much more likely to live with a mental health condition if you identify as LGBTQ+ and/or are gender diverse.

We have truly blessed by the wellness and workout leads that have offered their time for free to run both virtual and in person events. These range from beginners’ yoga, to gong baths, life coaching, mindfulness to a Menopause Café we already run monthly.

There is no need to book the virtual events, there are zoom links, so you can just turn up at the agreed time. Attendees get a free introduction to some great classes, get to meet some of our amazing Out & Wild leads and of course meet like-minded others.

Running a festival and events is not easy. 1 in 6 festivals went bust last year, many unable to recover fully from the combination of lockdowns and rising costs. And I will admit, at times my own wellbeing has been challenged by the pressure of keeping going and making sure Out & Wild events are accessible and inclusive. But, what the last three years have taught me, is that we need more activities, experiences and events that bring the community together to focus on holistic wellbeing and authentic connections.

For more information on Pride in Wellness click HERE

Related posts


Sun 10 Dec 2023 Polly Shute

How the Lesbian Community is reinventing modern dating


Sun 10 Dec 2023 Polly Shute

Travel and experience trends for 2024


Sun 10 Dec 2023 Polly Shute

10 reasons to take part in Open Mic nights


Tue 31 Oct 2023

Wellness in Winter