NHS South West London has been offering small grants to community organisations to run health and wellbeing events this winter. Up to £500 was available for events where local people would be encouraged to stay healthy and well, and have good conversations about NHS services and vaccinations.
Applications for funding were encouraged from community and voluntary groups who work with a diverse range of communities from across our six boroughs – Croydon, Kingston, Richmond, Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton.
We were particularly keen to encourage events for those who may need the most support during winter including older people aged over 65, parents of under 12s and African, Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.
We’ve had a very positive response from our communities – with almost 100 applications from across our six boroughs, including from organisations we’ve not worked with before. Our borough engagement leads are currently supporting up to 10 events a week.
At these events, community groups will talk to local people about important winter issues including vaccinations and mental health services, cost of living support as well as appropriate use of NHS services.”Mathew Kershaw, Chief Executive and Croydon’s Place Based Leader for Health
This week, Babyzone, a drop in play space for 0–3-year-olds, in Thornton Heath invited parents of young children to not only play, but chat with GPs, seek free nutritional advice and take part in child friendly first aid sessions.
Parents were presented with information on Strep A, Covid-19/Flu vaccinations, local mental health services, and given the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences of health services with Croydon’s Engagement team.
As children occupied themselves in interactive play sessions, the space provided the perfect opportunity for parents to talk with Croydon GPs, Dr Michael and Dr Sirajuddin about staying safe and healthy this winter.
Other examples of some of the successful bids so far include:
- In Croydon, an organisation is providing fresh cooked meals for elderly residents, who will then eat together on zoom to battle isolation. Another is developing a weekly drop in to support local for families with children with mild neuro-diversity from Black African and Black Caribbean communities.
- In Merton, the Ethnic Minority Centre will run a knitting session and host conversations. Another organisation is running ‘walking outings’, supported with befrienders and chances to connect.
- In Kingston, an organisation is running a well-being drop in event for the Korean community and a New Year themed football for mental health event.
- In Richmond, organisations are partnering to deliver a ‘youth zone’ drop in service to support young people with their mental health and wellbeing.
- In Sutton, a community organisation are running ‘Warm & Well Tuesdays’. This will be an opportunity for anyone within the community to come to a warm, safe and welcoming place, each week.
- In Wandsworth, a local mosque is hosting a woman’s afternoon tea and bazaar, with active workshops in fitness, nutrition and wellbeing.
At the events, we will share information and resources designed to support communities to stay safe and well this winter. Information includes advice and information about:
- Covid-19 vaccinations who is eligible for a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or booster vaccine and how to book and where to walk-in
- Free flu vaccinations to protect your family, friends from the worst outcomes of flu – who is eligible and how to book and where to walk- in
- Strep A a common bacteria which causes some mild and some more serious infections – information and when to call 111 if you are worried
- Mental health support and crisis lines
- Community pharmacy for quick and easy health advice
- Cost of living practical advice and help as well as emotional and wellbeing support available from local borough councils