The Festival of Connection seeks to lift our spirits on Blue Monday with the help of some stars

The Festival of Connection seeks to lift our spirits on Blue Monday with the help of some stars

Josie Long / Idil Sukan

The free, interactive online events feature music, dance, baking, bingo, comedy and more

It's been a very tough start to 2021 all across Britain and, with what's been branded the saddest day of the year looming, a post-Christmas pick-me-up is definitely needed. Aiming to banish the blues on the day that's come to be known as 'Blue Monday', Mon 18 Jan, virtual venue SocialEyes have announced their Festival of Connection.

The day-long festival is the culmination of the Jo Cox Foundation's Great Winter Get Together, which aims to reduce loneliness and spread cheer. On offer is a packed programme of free online events specially curated to be interactive, bring people together and spark joy.

Kicking things off is an 80s-inspired workout session from Kim Leadbeater, Jo Cox's sister and an ambassador for her foundation. Patsy Palmer will be delivering a DJ set, there's comedy from the award-winning Josie Long, bingo with Scottish drag duo Bingo Babes, a family dance class courtesy of West End and Broadway choreographer Lucy Hind, and a lunchtime bake-along with The Great British Bake Off's Ugne Bubnaityte, with more events to be confirmed.

Lee Beattie, co-founder of SocialEyes, sums it up by saying: 'January is always a tough month, but this one follows a particularly tough year. With the Festival of Connection, we hope to bring people together from across the country to enjoy a series of free events designed to make them smile. We also hope that employers will allow their teams a free hour across the day to attend an event in a bid to make this Monday less blue.'

Tickets for the events are free, but those who are able are invited to make a donation to support the Jo Cox Foundation's work. To book tickets visit socialeyes.club and for more information about the Jo Cox Foundation, go to jocoxfoundation.org.

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