The following is an excerpt from a report about the Leyland Health Mela, written by Brian Jack and Bill Laurie of The Rotary Club of Falkirk. They visited the event on 13th September with a view to making contacts that could help the potential spread of the Health Mela concept in Scotland and elsewhere.
Visit to Leyland Health Mela (Fair) on Saturday 13 September 2014.
To fulfill the Club’s obligation as International Partners for the Global Grant Award GG1415721 ‘Provision of defibrillators, associated training activities and community awareness events in District 1190’.
In the course of the visit, we met:
- Kevin Walsh, past District Governor of D1190 and prime mover of the successful Grant Application
- Roger Mason, current DG of 1190
- Tony Harrison, President of the Rotary Club of Leyland, and many of his Club members
- Professor John Ashton CBE, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health
- Professor Romesh Gupta OBE, Chairman of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing
- Graham Walton, Mayor of South Ribble Council
After the opening ceremony Brian, Kevin and Bill had a meeting with John Ashton at which Kevin gained a number of contacts for developing the Health Mela concept in Cumbria and North Lancashire. There is no doubt of his enthusiasm for the concept of the Melas as a vehicle for raising awareness and taking responsibility for one’s health and wellbeing, particularly amongst the elderly.
There are plans in hand to develop the concept in Bradford, where a Mela has already been held, and Birmingham.
We then toured the many stands at the event, approximately 48 of them covering topics from anorexia to arthritis, dementia to diabetes, carers’ allowances and credits to volunteering for older people.
We also visited the Health MoT room where members of the public could obtain a free check on their height, weight, blood pressure, and by means of a ‘blood drop test’ their blood sugar and cholesterol. The testing was supported by a counseling service for anyone who wished to discuss a result. This impressive facility involved health professionals from the local hospitals together with medical students from Manchester University based at Preston.
The Health MoT check is a major attraction of the Mela. It requires a multi-agency organizational exercise with health professionals, medical students and high value equipment all involved.
We were impressed by the enthusiasm of everyone manning the stands and their willingness to engage with the public for the services they represented.
It was clear that a considerable effort had been expended in planning and organizing the event, the third Mela to be held at Leyland in three years. We learned subsequently that 400 members of the public attended the event with nearly 100 taking the health check. These are impressive figures given that they are nearly equivalent to the figures of the two previous years.
The next Mela is at Fleetwood on 4 October 2014 and as it is a first-time event in that town it should prove to be another interesting visit.
We were made very welcome by everyone at the event. We would like to thank Kevin Walsh, Professor Gupta and the members of the Rotary Club of Leyland for their kind hospitality.
Bill Laurie & Brian Jack
The Rotary Club of Falkirk
30 September 2014