Kingston residents are regularly accessing a range of healthcare services, thanks to a monthly wellbeing drop-in session at Piper Hall, on the Cambridge Estate. The project forms part of our Core20PLUS5 work, which aims to reduce healthcare inequalities, overseen by Kingston Voluntary Action (KVA).
The events, held the first Tuesday of every month between 11am and 2pm, run alongside a local foodbank, and offer health checks, Covid and flu vaccinations, mental health support and advice around the cost of living alongside other useful services. Already, several people have been referred to their GPs having been found to be at risk of long-term conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
RBKares, the charity which runs the project, was set up by former doctor, Kate Kenyon who lives in Kingston. She explains:
Bringing services to the hard to reach groups with no need for appointments gives people access to the tools they wouldn’t access elsewhere, enabling long term behaviour and attitude changes.”Kate Kenyon, Founder of RBKares
“RBKares is all about bringing the local community together to help themselves. This has all grown from our work as a local sewing club which ended up supporting residents and staff at nearby care homes and hospitals during the start of the pandemic.
“I could see the difference that we could make when we worked together, and these wellbeing sessions have grown from that. I am really grateful for all the support we get from the ICS and our volunteers. Those coming along really benefit from being able to access a range of services, some of which they wouldn’t seek out if we didn’t host them here. Bringing services to the hard to reach groups with no need for appointments gives people access to the tools they wouldn’t access elsewhere, enabling long term behaviour and attitude changes.”
The most recent event was particularly aimed at supporting people through winter and the challenges that this time of year brings. As well as the usual services, those that went along had the opportunity to speak to council representatives about benefits that they might be entitled to, the chance to pick up donated warm winter clothing and hygiene products and to see a podiatrist.
Sanja Djeric Kane,Chief Executive Officer at Kingston Voluntary Action, added, “We are so pleased that we can use our Core20 funding to support such an excellent project. Watching a community come together in this way is fantastic and we can see that it is making a real difference for local people.”
The first phase of work to deliver 2,000 new homes on the Cambridge Road Estate has now begun. Kingston Council is working with development partner Countryside to deliver much-needed new homes. While this work is ongoing, it is hoped that RBkares will be able to continue to run the monthly sessions at nearby Queen Mary’s Hall in Norbiton Gardens. The next event planned for Piper Hall is on Tuesday 6 December.