The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing, in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire and the School of Medicine and Dentistry held its first Health Mela in Burnley on Saturday 11 May 2024 at UCLan’s Victoria Mill campus.

Mr Russell Hogarth, community engagement officer of the nfhw and honorary fellow of UCLan, welcomed the guests. Professor Romesh Gupta, OBE and chairman of the nfhw, opened the meeting and introduced the topic of the day ‘The Role of Voluntary Organisations in Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Communities’. This was followed by a lively discussion and many of the audience participated expressing their views and sharing personal experiences. There appeared to be a general consensus that the voluntary organisations play a significant role in the health and wellbeing of their communities along with the NHS. Their roles are complimentary.

At 11o’clock, the health mela started with a Bollywood dance performed by a group from Blackpool. After that the health mela was declared open by Mr Antony Higginbotham MP. He praised the role of the nfhw for organising the event and playing a role in empowering the communities to take control of their health. Also present, amongst many other dignitaries were Dame Sue Ion, Chair of Board of Governors UCLan, Councillor Raja Arif Khan, Mayor of Burnley and Ken Lee, Chief People Officer of UCLan and Professor Robert Campbell.

There were around 50 stall from various organisations at the event. There was the customary Teddy Bear clinic and a smoothie bike. There also was a basic life support (BLS) resuscitation training stall organised by the North West Ambulance Service as well as a taster session of Reiki which many found very helpful.

The free health checks which included measurements of basic parameters such as height, weight, BMI (body mass index) calculation were carried out by medical students of the School of Medicine and Dentistry whereas Blood drop team carried out the blood tests. Those who underwent health MOT then had 1:1 health counselling with healthcare workers. Total 71 visitors availed the health MOT of whom 10 were found to have raised blood pressure, seven were new diabetics and many more with other risk factors such as obesity and  elevated cholesterol were referred to their GPs for further intervention.

The whole atmosphere was buzzing and visitors were engaged to gather health wellbeing related information. Overall there were about 500 visitors during the day and many of them were enquiring about the future dates of the Health Mela in the town.

In the meantime, please enjoy some of the photos of the event.