Winter wellbeing clinics from Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network are offering health checks, coaching and welfare advice – all from trusted local settings.
The first clinic, at Tooting Islamic Centre in September, attracted more than 60 people. It was followed, a month later by an event hosted by Community support group Elays Network at Nine Elms, Battersea.
Elays (beacon of light) Network, was founded 20 years ago to for young people at risk of school exclusion, and who are not in employment, education or training.
Residents are encouraged to pop in to the events to take up the offer of essential health checks for blood pressure, heart rate, diabetes risk and expert advice on mental health, smoking, healthy eating and alcohol use.
Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN) director, Malik Gul said the enhanced programme built on the resounding success and positive reception of clinics last year which aimed to empower the local community to access healthcare services.
We ran these clinics last year, exceeding our attendance targets. This is the only encouragement we needed to relaunch them with improved professionalism and a more comprehensive service offering.”
He said: “We are constantly on the lookout for ways to break down the many barriers that are put up by systemic inequality excluding people from engaging with their local health services. We ran these clinics last year, exceeding our attendance targets. This is the only encouragement we needed to relaunch them with improved professionalism and a more comprehensive service offering.”
The revitalised clinics are expanding their reach to a wider range of locations, including significant gathering places within the community such as churches, temples, mosques, and major youth clubs.
Residents will be able to meet health coaches and take part in educational workshops covering exercise and weight management, taking a healthier approach to cooking traditional foods.
There will also be social welfare rights and advocacy advice to address the cost of living crisis. The community-led health clinics also work closely with mental health services through the organisation’s NHS-backed Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Programme (EMHIP).
Health inequalities are the unfair and avoidable differences in people’s health across the population, and between different communities. Research shows that people living in areas where incomes are higher could expect to live almost two decades longer, in good health, than those where the average income is lower.
People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are also more likely to experience inequalities, such as being more at risk of certain health conditions.
Juni who was one of the team carrying out the health checks said: “A simple check could prevent future health issues such as having high blood pressure where a person may be unaware they may be at a higher risk of stroke. The checks empower residents to take control of their health and total wellbeing.”