The Happy List: 8 Ways To Have Fun And Give Back This Week

We’ve got another great week of awesome ethical fun for you on the #HappyList this week. Want this straight to your inbox? Just pop your email address in the...

We’ve got another great week of awesome ethical fun for you on the #HappyList this week. Want this straight to your inbox? Just pop your email address in the form below and we’ll do the rest.

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1. Celebrate truly good food @ Today Bread – Wednesday 13th

Urban Food Fortnight kicks off this week with all kinds of events, pop-ups and activities across the city. Our pick for the week is London Food Link’s celebration of people doing good through food in London – showcasing some of the city’s most inspirational food-based social enterprises. Confirmed speakers so far include: Nemi (previously Chaigaram), creating employment and training opportunities for refugees around their chai business; Luminary Bakery, a non-profit bakery in East London working for the empowerment of women; Headway East, a charity supporting people affected by brain injury; and Change Please, a project training people who are homeless to be baristas. As well as these inspiring talks, there’ll be demos, a chance to share good food and drink and to make new foodie friends. Other events not to miss are Tooting Foodival sustainable food festival, and Headway Eats – a unique supper club with food prepared by brain injury survivors.

The event starts at 6pm. Tickets can be bought from the Eventbrite page for £20, which include a welcome drink and a light supper. A full list of Urban Food Fortnight events can be found here.


2. Art the arms fair @ SET Studios – All week

One of the world’s largest arms fairs is setting up shop in London this week and yet most people have no idea that it even exists. Art the arms fair is all about making it visible, so expect a week-long free exhibition with poetry, performance art, comedy and music. The gallery will be open all week. All donations for events and from selling art will support the work of Campaign Against Arms Trade. Highlights include the opening night featuring the brilliant satirical mash-up artists Cassetteboy and DJ Rubbish (remember this?) and the Spoken Word night on Tuesday headlined by fantastically-named Attila the Stockbroker and his social surrealist performance poetry, energetic acoustic songs, punk rock with medieval tinges.

All events will take place at SET Studios in Poplar (E14 2BA). Tickets and timings available on Evenbrite. Suggested donations for Campaign Against Arms Trade on the door – £5 unwaged/£10 waged/£20 loaded.

3. Check out a farmers market with a difference @ London Fields Primary School – Sunday 17th

A new market has arrived at London Fields, but with a twist that GOtilers will love… the young team behind it have decided to make this weekly event all about bringing people together and giving back to the community. So for the big launch festival, you can expect arts workshops, wellness activities and a range of other exciting social initiatives and stalls. Community-building movement Tea With Strangers will be running simultaneous tea times, bringing strangers together for a chat over a cuppa. For those looking for a feelgood fix, there’s going to be pay-what-you-can yoga sessions. And among the traders, you’ll find a healthy number of social and ethical enterprises including Better Health Bakery (providing trainee placements to adults recovering from mental ill health) and Young Vegans (a sustainable and cruelty-free alternative to traditional pie and mash).

The market festival will run from 11am – 4pm. It’s taking place at London Fields Primary School.


4. Go vegan at Viva! Festival @ The Drum – Saturday 16th

The vegan charity Viva! is bringing its awesome festival to Wembley this weekend. Whether you’re already part of the movement or thinking about making a change, then this is certainly worth a visit. Expect much more than a food market: 200 stall across two floors, a huge vegan cafe, talks and cookery demos, receive nutritional guidance and browse and buy lots of vegan goodies.

The festival will be happening from 11am – 6pm. Standard entry £5 on the door, under 16s free, VIP £15 (includes goody bag and no queue – email here to secure one). Further details here.


5. Spend an evening with Pussy Riot’s ‘Masha’ Alyokhina @ Union Chapel – Monday 11th

Maria ‘Masha’ Alyokhina is coming to social enterprise venue Union Chapel, to celebrate the launch of her new book ‘Riot Days’ in conversation with British journalist, writer and comedian, Viv Groskop. Alyokhina is an extraordinary woman whose account of her anti-Putin protests, arrest, trial and imprisonment in a Siberian jail – where she fought for her rights and those of her fellow inmates – is both shocking and inspiring. Filled with rage, attitude and edgy black humour, ‘Riot Days’ is destined to become a classic work of political discourse. Plus, Alyokhina herself will be available on the night for book signing.

Tickets are £15 (and £27.99 with a copy of her new book) and available on the website. Get there early and grab a meal at the Margins Cafe – part of Union Chapel’s homelessness project.


6. Unearth the power of your community @ Offline Festival – Friday 15th to Sunday 17th

Take a trip out of the big smoke this weekend into the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside for a festival all about making a difference. The “unconference” being run by Project Dirt will bring together people who are passionate about having a positive impact on their communities… and equip them with new ideas and tools to do even more of it, even better. We’re talking three days of hands-on learning, business skill-building, and insightful discussions. Alongside epic stories, personal growth sessions, the chance to connect with like-minded individuals and explore the power of creating impact through community and business. And if you want something more chilled you can unwind in the Woodland Retreat, wake up to yoga, laughter therapy and stress busting meditation and energise with our Power of Outdoors activities on The Village Green. As the sun goes down, dance to the foot-stomping ceilidh band, kick back to the comedy and roast marshmallows with the Fireside Storytelling camp.

Tickets for the weekend are £80 (including camping)… but we’ve secured GOtilers an exclusive 30% discount. Just use the code GOTILO30 when you buy on the Evenbrite page. Further details and the full programme can be found on the Offline website.


7. Support the launch of Helping Hands Foodbank with live music and great food @ Lewisham Irish Hall – Saturday 16th

As a thank you to their supporters, Helping Hands Foodbank are inviting you to join them for an evening of world music and delicious Syrian food. Expect amazing amazing musical performances from artists including The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, The Worn-Out Shoes and an octet and gospel choir from Street Orchestra London. Serving up food will be the renowned Damascus Chef and there will also be speeches from local MPs and Fareshare, who are supporting the Foodbank.

Come along from 6pm – 10pm. Further details available on the Facebook page – please RSVP to so they can confirm numbers.


8. Join the Hackney Arts Season Launch @ Netil360 – Wednesday 13th

Enjoy a night of free arts taster sessions led by local creatives to celebrate the release of Hackney Arts’ Autumn events programme. Hackney Arts is a social enterprise offering local residents creative opportunities and providing a platform for local artists to share their work. Artists on the night include: screenprinting with Jairo and Nicola, cyanotype Printing with Melanie King and henna design with Hackney Henna House. Let your imagination and hands roam free on their Doodle Table courtesy of Great Art – show your best skills to win prizes including a month’s supply of guilt-free ice-cream Oppo.


Tickets are free but places are limited. Book in advance on the Hackney Arts website to gain entry.


Join the conversation and find other people going to these events at our Facebook community group: London’s ethical city explorers.


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