The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing (NFHW) in close co-operation with The Rotary Club of Fleetwood, held its second Fylde Coast Health Mela on Saturday 4th October 2014 in Fleetwood.
The event, which took place at Fleetwood High School, was opened by Professor Dame Sue Bailey immediate past president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Prior to the formal opening of the event, Dame Sue Bailey addressed the now customary breakfast meeting on the theme ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People’.
Professor Bailey congratulated NFHW, and Rotary Cumbria and Lancashire District for their initiative in bringing Health Melas to the community. She praised the commitment of the very many organisations actively involved in supporting the event and drew attention to the neglect of provision for issues related to the mental health of children in the allocation of national resources.
She stressed the need to consider and acknowledge mental illness and health on par with physical illness and said when children and young adults are affected, one should consider involving not only parents but teachers, friends, and others in social circle of the individual affected.
This set the tone for what was to be a unique and exciting new approach to health promotion on the Fylde coast.
Following the breakfast meeting Professor Dame Sue Bailey performed the opening ceremony. Also taking part in the opening of the Mela Rtn. Roger Mason, District 1190 Governor of Rotary International expressed his wish to encourage the development of similar Health Melas across the whole of Lancashire and Cumbria.
During the event it was announced that the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing had won the E3 Social Enterprise of the Year Award 2014.
As is customary, at every Health Mela, NFHW awards Fellowships to those who have contributed significantly towards promoting the values and ethos of the Health Mela. During this Mela, Fellowships were presented to Rtn Ramesh Gandhi and Rtn Kevin Walsh for their support and invaluable contribution towards promoting and spreading the concept of Health Mela within the region and thus contributing towards promoting health and wellbeing of the community.
The meeting was attended amongst others by several local community leaders, healthcare providers, councillors, clinicians, medical students, healthcare workers, etc. Some of the dignitaries attending the event were: Professor R Campbell, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Bolton; Cllr Ron Shewan, Mayor of Wyre Borough Council and Cllr Kevin Eastham Mayor of Fylde Borough Council; Mr Eric Ollerenshaw, OBE, MP for Lanxcaster & Fleetwood; Professor S Rajbhandari, Consultant Physician, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Rtn Kevin Walsh, Immediate Past District Governor (Rotary Cumbria and Lancashire); Rtn Robert Wright, President of Fleetwood Rotary Club; Rtn Ashok Khandelwal, President Blackpool Palletine Rotary Club; Rtn William Laurie and Rtn Andrew Niven, International Partners Rotary Club of Falkirk Scotland; Governors and senior clinicians from the Blackpool Hospital.
The overall theme of the event was ‘Mental health of Children and Young Adults’. The Sports Hall provided space for around 70 exhibitors and central focus was on the extensive range of health information, health checks and counselling opportunities which were on offer. Appropriate catering facilities allowed for the provision of refreshments to visitors and exhibitors. Free on-site car-parking facilities were kindly provided by the School.
It was also a great pleasure to welcome to the celebration officers of Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan and Healthwatch Blackpool who provided the efficient and creative administrative support essential for the success event of this event.
Some 500 members of the public were registered as visitors to the Health Mela. The actual attendance was significantly higher as some visitors managed to overlook the registration process!
The central component of the Health Mela is the range of health checks, the ‘Health MOT’, offered to visitors. The checks were conducted by the Health Olympics Team from the University of Manchester partnered with the Blood Drop Team from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and staff from the Biochemistry Department of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Of the 500 or so visitors to the event, 98 chose to have Health MOT. As a result of these checks 45 were referred to GP for further tests/follow up.
Reasons for referrals included raised cholesterol (22); raised Glucose (15); high Blood Pressures (6) and combination of above (2).
In addition to the Health MOT, a wide range of stallholders provided information and advice on a variety of health related topics both traditional and alternative.
There was also an opportunity to join in health related activities such as Reiki and to enjoy the entertainment provided by Fleetwood High School students.
The Health Mela movement is supported by Rotary International, various NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Authorities, Universities, Schools, the Fylde Coast Hindu Society and the Gujarat Hindu Society, as well as a wide range of health-related companies and voluntary organisations.
The organisers hope and believe that, in return for the invaluable support provided by our foundation partners, the Health Mela provided them with an opportunity for public engagement and networking in a unique and supporting community based environment.
Further Health Melas are being arranged for 2015 as follows:
Bolton……………..Saturday, March 14th
Preston……………Saturday, April 18th
Leyland……………Saturday, Sept 12th
Bradford………….Saturday, May 16th
Fylde Coast…….Saturday, Oct 3rd
Volunteers from the National Forum for Health & Wellbeing have provided advice and support to organisers of similar events in places as far apart as London, Cardiff, Manchester, Chorley, Blackpool, Bolton and Bradford. The Forum is happy to help any group thinking of developing their own version of this event.
For further information please contact
Mrs Sarifa Kabir
Secretary,National Forum for Health & Wellbeing
The University of Bolton
Bolton BL3 5AB