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Free hugs! CALM takeover Rivington Street Festival

People sometimes ask, what is the campaign against living miserably? And normally we tell ’em about why guys need a campaign that empowers them to get support and advice on their own terms, about how suicide’s the single biggest killer of young men aged 15-34 nationally, and all our cracking work in Merseyside supporting young men up there for over ten years. But you know, sometimes something comes along which explains all that without words. We’re talking about free hugs. Hugging hipsters. In Shoreditch. Spreading the love the CALM way. This is the best video you will see this year, guaranteed.

The idea was from Blaise and RKZ, CALM ambassadors, 16BARS editors and all-round nice blokes. RKZ explains the thinking behind the hugging:

“After an inspiring meeting with Lindsey from CALM, Blaise & I decided we wanted to make people in London smile more. Things like hugs and smiles are so little but can have such a big impact to someone’s day. FREE HUGS were the perfect way to make that happen. We could literally see the transformation of peoples moods once they got hugged! Everyone from kids to grown-ass men were loving the feeling of being loved! Quite a few people said they loved the idea and how it made them feel. What’s better than that?

We had @theCALMzone / @RKZUK / @NytArcanum / @Jinksies / @JimmyJamesJones all giving out free hugs on the day. But that wasn’t all. Nathan Bowen, urban visionary and mate of CALM returned with his uncanny figures adorning Rivington Street. Check out his fine work below:

We were proudly joined by Lee Bofkin, a curator with a huge task on his hands – collecting together the best of global street art right now. Lee put together 27 back-t0-back movies as part of Global Street Art for Rivington Street Festival, as well as taking time out to spread the hugs. If you’ve not come across it yet, check out for a quick dose of inspiration – there’s over 50 000 images on the archive right now. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter too. Needless to say, the films were fantastic.

Otherwise, CALM’s little market stall was mobbed, running out of CALMzines twice over and talking to plenty of good people on that fine sunny afternoon. We’ve not got the final figure in but extra special thanks to Bayo and Chloe at Juno for organising the event and bringing CALM on board as charity partner. It was a free street party but collecting donations for CALM’s work and we know it raised a lot of money.

Final shout out and huge thanks to: Charley, Hannah, Nimo, Gian, Elena, Hannah, Caroline, Phil, RKZ, Blaise, Jimmy James, Beth, Nathan, Lee, Hattie, Bayo, Chloe, and everyone else who came by and said hello. You guys all rock. Spread the hugs!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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