Formed in 2001 as the Lancashire Gujarat Health Users’ Forum, the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing is a registered charity that specialises in helping local communities to take greater responsibility for protecting and managing their own health.
A Message from our Chairman
Dear Reader and Friend,
I am so glad that you have made this visit to our website today because it gives me the chance to extend to you our best wishes for the health and wellbeing of you and your family.
As we learn to live through these challenging and unprecedented times our heartfelt condolences go to all who have lost loved ones to the Coronavirus and our gratitude extends to all the heroes, sung and unsung, who have staffed the hospitals, pharmacies and surgeries, care homes, transport and communication services and more, to make life as near normal as possible for the rest of us.
In this strange new world the simple acts that we all took for granted; hugging loved ones, visiting friends, the daily shop, going to the gym or on holiday and much, much more, must wait until Covid 19 is under control. Just what the new world that awaits us then will look like is only slowly becoming apparent, but it is likely that we shall all have to adopt new ways of doing things.
Two of the early casualties of the pandemic were the Health Melas planned for Preston and Bradford. These promised to be bigger and better than ever this year and their loss to Coronavirus was ironic given the events’ emphasis on the promotion of public awareness of issues related to community health and wellbeing. It is essential that this vital work continues, for the very factors that have contributed to the vulnerability of individuals to the virus are essentially the same old enemies targeted by the Health Mela programme.
Our organisation, with its programme of information and friendly expert advice, has consistently promoted the positive effects on wellbeing of good diet, exercise, cessation of smoking, the responsible use of alcohol etc. The message is reinforced by the popular Health MOT the results from which have set many on the track to achieving long term health. In our new world we will need to address additional issues including the place of social distancing, good hand hygiene, appropriate use of face masks, good travel practice, ethnic vulnerabilities etc. More fundamentally we may need to re-consider the very format of the Health Mela if events involving large gatherings of people remain Challenging.
The current crisis has been notable for the impetus it has provided for groups like ours to exploit the power of the social media and other new ways of communicating. As a start, in planning for this new world, our Steering Group has successfully navigated its way around the novelty of a first web meeting and more are planned. One idea that emerged from our first ‘electronic’ session is to extend the scope of our website to include short video presentations with information and advice on topical health related issues. In the longer term these could be increased in number and scope and together form the basis for a ‘virtual’ Health Mela. We will keep you informed as our planning progresses. If you have any comments or suggestions to help NFHW plan and develop its role in these difficult times, we will be delighted to hear from you.
We will continue to look positively to the future and things will get better.
Until we meet you again – stay alert, control the virus, save lives.
Professor Romesh Gupta OBE
Chair National Forum for Health and Wellbeing
“The Health Mela is an example of good practice to health professionals across the UK. It’s an example of how to work with community leaders to engage with ethnic minority groups who traditionally don’t access NHS services because of fear or apprehension. I was delighted to open the event, which is a great way to encourage people from minority ethnic communities to meet health experts and get informal and friendly advice.”
“This is a unique experience. I have not experienced anything of its kind and on this scale in my life. I
am pleasantly surprised and impressed to see people from various generations and backgrounds coming to the Mela and taking full advantage of the various health advice and health checks available.”
“The Health Mela is a shining example of good practice to health professionals across the U.K. of how to work with community leaders to engage with ethnic minority groups. The importance of encouraging greater health awareness cannot be underestimated, particularly among communities, which traditionally have been reluctant to access health services because of their fear or apprehension. It also serves as a showcase for Asian lifestyle and culture to boost community links.”
“The energy and commitment of everyone involved in the Mela was plain to see. I was particularly pleased to have the chance to talk to the Manchester medical students about the health checks they were doing (under appropriate supervision!) and they were hugely impressive. Raising awareness about how we can take control of our health and well being is a really important issue in the UK today – the Mela manages to do this, while being fun and relaxed too.”