It's More Than Just a Hug

Today’s post is solely dedicated to the free hugs event that takes place in Cardiff, Wales.

The number one question people tend to ask is, why?? Why would you take time out of your own day to stand around with a sign, giving out hugs to complete strangers?

It’s not for charity, no, and there’s no catch either! Hard to believe isn’t it? The volunteers of the event do it for one reason overall and that is to bring a smile to somebody’s face.

You’d be surprised at the difference a single hug can make on someone’s day – especially if it’s been a difficult day for them. Somebody can be having an awful day, yet a small gesture of kindness off a stranger can have SUCH a positive impact on their day.

The free hugs event is an opportunity for us city goers to connect with each other, even if only for a short while, it also offers a hug, a smile and even a chat.

It is incredible to think that we’ll happily walk down the street without acknowledging those around us, yet a simple sign and a volunteer willing, can bring those same people together!

The event is all about bringing a smile to somebody’s face – even when they don’t want a hug but smile anyway. It’s about offering a positive and kind gesture to another human being – a complete stranger even – just because.

To back my post up even further I asked a couple of volunteers to comment their WHY on volunteering for the event.

‘Just to see the people’s smiles when a hug happens makes it worth attending.’ – Matt Callanan.

Where hugs are concerned, there is no difference between giving and receiving. For every hug I give, I also receive one, and each one brings warmth and joy’ – Menna Penddol.

‘I participated in it as I love to make people smile. And this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Also I was/am going through tough time in my life, with academic stress and anxiety. It just makes me forget my stress for a while. The responses I receive just gives me hope that there is still much good out there in the world.’ – Violina Sarma.

‘There is nothing to compare to a Welsh “cwtch” as a sign of welcome, greeting, warmth, affection and acceptance. It is part of our culture and tradition.’ – Tony Lloyd.

I, myself, used to cringe every time I walked past the event, thinking why would you do such a thing?? Then I got involved by taking photographs and my perspective completely changed…

The Free Hugs Event is certainly more than just a hug.


Ciao for now x

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.