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A healthy start to the new year

Sefton residents are being encouraged to take advantage of activities offered by local community groups to kick start a healthy new year.

Local partners of wellbeing organisation Living Well Sefton have something to appeal to a wide range of people looking to keep to their new year resolutions. Additionally, the Living Well Sefton mentors work on a one-to-one basis over a period of time with people to set – and achieve – realistic lifestyle goals.

Active Lifestyles – the Active Ageing Programme is a free 12-week programme designed to help with the prevention of falls for those aged over 65 in South Sefton with classes held once a week at different sites. People’s strength and balance will be improved through a series of exercises and there is also a social element to the programme.

Brighter Living Partnership – a free16-week Brighter Mondays course covering arts and crafts, cooking and healthy eating sessions as well as learning coping skills and days out starts on Monday, 29 January between 1pm and 4pm at its base in Southport Community Centre, Norwood Road, PR8 6HQ. “Through the programme we want people to meet new friends, learn new skills and pass on their own knowledge and experience,” explains Matty Smith, senior Living Well Sefton mentor.

Citizens Advice Sefton – whether it’s wondering if you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to, needing help with benefit forms or trying to cope with debt after Christmas then the Living Well Sefton mentor can help. “These types of money worries can affect your health and wellbeing but the mentor supports people over a period of time and it could be that our other partners can also help,” says Jane Groves, Operational Development Manager. 

Feelgood Factory – to help increase people’s mental wellbeing, the Netherton-based healthy living centre is running several Think Differently, Cope Differently courses. The first of these free five-week sessions to learn coping skills begins on Thursday, 8 February from 10am to 12noon at the Feelgood Factory, Glovers Lane, Bootle. A further one is being run at the Woodvale Community Centre, Meadow Lane, Ainsdale, PR8 3RS at the same time on Thursday, 21 February.

Fun4Kidz – social activities include craft classes and photography club, plus a job club, food banks and, through a Reaching Communities grant, the L30 Community Centre group is planning to extend these in 2018 to include programmes, workshops and events that the Netherton community say are important to them. Debbie Stephens, Chief Executive, remarks: “These additional sessions will help local people and families to start friendships which will also strengthen the Netherton community.”

May Logan – the Bootle-based healthy living centre has just the thing for those in pursuit of a healthy life. There is a free health walk every Thursday starting at 10am when people can have a chat while strolling and on a Wednesday between 1pm and 3pm the Roots gardening project welcomes anyone interested in learning about growing fruit and vegetables.

Living Well Sefton mentor Natasha Wilksberg is starting a free body yoga fusion session at the Knowsley Road centre from Thursday, 25 January at 4pm until 5pm involving a mix of kettle bell, body weight and yoga exercises for women aged over 18. Steven Richards, a Living Well Sefton mentor, explains: “We are aiming to improve healthy eating behaviours and fitness levels for residents living within Sefton by providing exercise sessions which can be sustained within a home environment.”

Smokefree Sefton – Public Health England’s new year smokefree campaign highlights how smoking kills 79,000 people per year in England (1).  Smokefree Sefton is an e-cigarette-friendly service which can help anyone wanting to stop smoking and have clinics throughout the borough offering free advice and support. “By quitting cigarettes 2018 can be wealthy as well as healthy,” says Colette Kearney, Team Leader.

For more information on the partners and their activities, ring the central number 0300 323 0181, email: or visit the website:

Sefton health experts offer five tips to help you avoid the flu

Leading health figures from Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG have joined together to offer expert advice to residents on how they can best avoid catching the flu this winter.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Flu can have really serious effects for many vulnerable people including the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those living with long term health conditions.

 “For this reason the following advice also includes tips that will help residents to limit the spread of flu within their community and I strongly urge everybody to take the advice on board.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “People with chronic long term health conditions or reduced immunity should get vaccinated even if they have no symptoms. A bout of flu can greatly worsen any existing condition and increases the risk of complications like pneumonia.”

Dr Andy Mimnagh, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG added: “A flu vaccination is an important part of staying well over winter. If you have any questions about getting vaccinated, simply contact your GP practice and ask for advice, we’ll be happy to help.”

  1. Get the flu jab
    The best way to protect yourself and others from flu is by getting the flu vaccination. The vaccination is free for those aged over 65, pregnant women, people living with long term health conditions, young children aged 2 and 3 and to registered carers.If you’re not eligible for a free vaccination you can purchase it for as little as £10. Speak to your local pharmacist for find out more about this service.
  2. Know the symptoms
    It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of flu in order to help you to best treat its effects and avoid passing the illness on to others.Symptoms include a sudden fever, aching body, feeling tired or exhausted, chesty cough, sore throat, headache, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, diarrhoea or tummy pain, nausea and being sick.
  3. Get the right advice
    If you think you may have the flu try to avoid visiting your GP or pharmacist to reduce the risk of spreading the illness. Instead call the free NHS helpline service 111 or visit the NHS Choices website.Be sure stock up on flu and cold remedies in advance so that if you become ill you have everything you need at home. Remember that antibiotics should not be used to treat flu and should only be used upon the advice of your GP.
  4. Wash your hands
    Washing your hands regularly using soap and warm water will help you to prevent the spread of germs that can cause flu. By washing your hands you will destroy bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people, such as light switches and door handles.

    Not only will this reduce the chances of you catching the flu yourself, but it will also help to limit the spread of flu across Sefton.

  5. Be mindful of others
    Try to avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu.If you think you have symptoms of flu be mindful of the people around you. Catch coughs or sneezes in tissues and bin them immediately. Try to reschedule plans with friends or family to when you’re feeling better.

    Remember that while many people can recover from flu themselves within about a week, it can become extremely serious for more vulnerable residents.



 To find out more about flu and the flu vaccination visit the NHS Choices website:

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service introduces blood pressure checks as part of ‘Safe and Well’ visits

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has funded Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) to offer blood pressure (BP) checks, advice and signposting as part of the ‘Safe and Well’ visits carried out within the community from January 15 2018.

The Safe and Well programme builds on the fire service’s established Home Fire Safety Check initiative and supports local health needs by delivering recognized health interventions with specially trained fire service advocates.

Undertaken in conjunction with the NHS, fire service staff can provide advice on how to avoid a trip or fall in the home, the benefits of quitting smoking or reducing their alcohol consumption and awareness of the National bowel cancer screening programme.

The inclusion of free Blood Pressure checks into the scheme is a result of a partnership with Champs Public Health Collaborative following their successful bid for a BHF grant to support a community based project aimed at preventing, detecting and managing cases of high blood pressure across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The initial 3 month pilot, which launches in January, will see the ‘Safe and Well’ visits include BP measurement, advice and signposting. The BHF funding has also enabled the relevant FRS teams to be equipped with standards compliant BP machines, and to receive appropriate training.

BP checks will be offered to residents over 65 and other at risk groups determined by the FRS.

It is estimated that there are 163,000 people in Merseyside with undiagnosed high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent and potentially deadly condition that significantly increases a person’s chance of a heart attack or stroke. This initiative will increase opportunities for blood pressure testing and monitoring outside of GP practices as many people are unaware that they have high blood pressure.

Dr Muna Abdel Aziz, Director of Public Health (DPH) for Warrington, and the Cheshire & Merseyside DPH Lead for Blood Pressure said:

“We are delighted to have our Fire and Rescue colleagues on board to include blood pressure checks in the Safe and Well Checks. As a trusted and respected public service organisation, the Fire and Rescue service will help us reach people who might otherwise have slipped the net.

“Our collaborative work on blood pressure in Cheshire & Merseyside is exemplary as a whole system partnership; and the addition of these services with Merseyside Fire and Rescue will enhance our achievements and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

Phil Byrne Station Manager for Community Risk Management with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said:

“It is fantastic that we are now able to include the offer of a blood pressure check as part of our safe & well visits.  Fire & Rescue staff have the unique ability to access homes and engage with vulnerable members of the community that other agencies may not.  This places us in a strong positon to support our mission of making our communities safer and stronger, at the same time as supporting the wider health needs of residents.

“Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service advocates have been specially trained to deliver the checks and working with our health partners we are able to refer those with high blood pressure to receive the correct help and support.  In addition we will be providing advice on how to maintain a healthy Blood Pressure. The safe & well programme aims to engage with 10,000 homes in the first year.”

Jenny Hargrave, Director of Innovation and Health Wellbeing at the British Heart Foundation, said:

“High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease. With 16 million people diagnosed in the UK, and many more undiagnosed, there is an urgent need to address this growing epidemic through more research, better detection and treatment.

“It is essential that we have more opportunities to test for high blood pressure in alternative places to GP surgeries, especially in areas where people are more likely to be at risk.

“We are pleased to support this collaboration and are hopeful the project will allow more people to be detected and monitored, which will undoubtedly save lives.”


Make your Mondays happy in 2018

Whether it’s losing weight, taking up a new hobby or stopping smoking, a new year brings with it the desire to make positive changes. Now that 2018 is on the horizon many people may be planning a new start for in the New Year. Living Well Sefton, the local wellbeing organisation, can help kick start these fresh beginnings.

Its community partners have an array of activities, courses and sessions that provide a route to realising those New Year resolutions. And the Living Well Sefton mentors work on a one-to-one basis over a period of time with people to set – and achieve – realistic lifestyle goals.

This ties in with Public Health England’s One You campaign which encourages people to put themselves first by looking at their lifestyle choices and doing something about putting those choices into action.

One group of people who took on board this message have recently completed a free16-week Brighter Mondays course with the Brighter Living Partnership, a Living Well Sefton partner. The course for those who feel socially isolated has had a positive impact with a woman in her 50s struggling with mental health remarking: “I have felt a lot better inside myself. These people really make a difference and I will definitely keep in touch with them.”

Even though the course has finished, the group are meeting monthly including a 95-year-old woman who said of the course: “I have enjoyed all the activities and the help I got from the others.”

Brighter Living is running another Brighter Mondays course at its base in Southport Community Centre, Norwood Road, PR8 6HQ from Monday, January 29, 2018 between 1pm and 4pm. The course covers arts and crafts, cooking and healthy eating sessions as well as learning coping skills and days out. Contact the Brighter Living team during Christmas via email: and from January 2 also call on 01704 517818.

To see how Living Well Sefton can help you visit the website:

Or visit the One You website and see what you score on their lifestyle quiz:

Couch to 5k set to return in January

Active Sefton has announced that its hugely successful Couch to 5k programme will be returning in 2018.

 Taking place every Monday and Wednesday, from 6-7pm, at Litherland Sports Park, the classes will run for 10 weeks from January 8.

 The free sessions are perfect training for those looking to prepare for a summer running event and will help attendees slowly build up to running 5K at their own pace. Classes are drop in, drop out but it is recommended that runners take part in as many as possible.

The sessions are all held under floodlights making them a great way to take up running in the winter months when evenings are darker.

 At the end of the programme all runners will be invited to take part in the Crosby Park Run on Saturday, March 17.

 Running has many health benefits, including improved heart and lungs; and when combined with a healthy diet can result in weight loss. A more active life style is also known to improve mental health and can act as a great stress reliever.

 Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Taking part in Active Sefton’s Couch to 5k is a great way to get fit, especially if you’ve over indulged during the festive holidays.

 “As well helping to get you in shape, the programme is also a great way to meet new people and make links with the local community. Good luck to everybody who decides to take part, and most importantly have fun!”

 For more information about Couch to 5k, contact Active Sefton on 0151 934 2340 or email

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