Healthy Living Centre launches new monthly column for Star readers

Each month Gillian Lewis, Healthy Living Manager at the Resurgam Healthy Living Centre in Lisburn will be sharing some useful information and advice on services and support that is available to people in the city.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 9:36 am
Gillian Lewis, Healthy Living Manager and Jodie Portis Heathy Living Centre Adviser

This week she will be introducing the Healthy Living Centre, which is based in Old Warren, and letting readers know just what goes on inside the centre on a day to day basis:

Welcome to Resurgam Healthy Living Centre!

‘‘So what do you do in here?’’ That tended to be the question shouted at us from the street or when someone popped their head round our door in the good old days when people could walk into Resurgam Healthy Living Centre which is based in Old Warren in Lisburn.

That is quite a big question! You could think the clue is in the title - we are all about ‘health’ but what does that really mean?

When we talk about health we quite often automatically start thinking or talking about sickness, illness or things we know we need to think about to help us be healthy.

We are not a medical service, so unlike your local doctor we are not trying to diagnose and treat any condition and quite often we have the luxury of more time to have a chat with you and that gives us some space for you to tell us what you need, ask what you would like to know, what support you might find useful, what new skills you would like to learn or what you are finding difficult that you need some help with.

We prefer to ask, ‘what matters to you?’ rather than ‘what is the matter with you?’ and we go from there.

So, what does that look like? Well, if you are living with a health condition, we know you are more than your diagnosis, so while we can help you to live well with your condition or link you into services that can help, we will also help you to use all those skills we know you have, or those interests you have and encourage you to do more of what you enjoy.

You can get in touch with us if you want to make some changes in your lifestyle – eat more healthily, be more physically active, concerned about your or someone else’s alcohol or drug use, want to stop smoking, gambling or improve your mental health and wellbeing, or something else.

We can provide some information, support, referrals into organisations across Lisburn that can help – whatever you feel might be useful to you at a pace that suits you and all our services are free.

We work closely with the many different services in Lisburn and beyond that provide help and support to people.

If there is a support need we do not know about, we will work hard to find the local support for you.

We are also part of the Healthy Living Centre’s Alliance which is a network of 29 community health organisations throughout Northern Ireland which also gives us a source of resources and expertise which we can call upon when needed.

One of our biggest programmes is the SPRING Social Prescribing project.

SPRING is all about connecting people aged 18+ to support in their community.

This may be supporting someone who is attending their GP regularly but could benefit from some support beyond what a doctor can provide.

We take referrals from every GP practice across the 11 GP practices in Lisburn, rural Lisburn and other health professionals such as pharmacists.

The reasons people might come to SPRING are varied but being socially isolated or lonely, living with a chronic health condition such as pain, or feeling anxious or in low mood, are among some of the reasons why people connect with us.

Nichola Smyth, who is our Social Prescribing Co-ordinator, will meet with the person and talk about what matters to them and how Nichola can support them to achieve whatever they feel would help them move forward.

This can be a whole combination of things from housing support, accessing a gym, financial support, befriending, connecting into groups in the community, volunteering, help navigating the health or other care services to name a few - everyone’s needs are different.

To be referred to SPRING please ask at your GP practice, pharmacist, or other health professionals you may engage with or give us a call.

In addition to SPRING we also provide pain support programmes.

The Better Days pain support programme is delivered by the staff from the Healthy Living Centre, and our volunteer is a person who lives with a pain condition.

The support groups are provided across Healthy Living Centres and are currently available on zoom so anyone can attend any of the courses regardless of where you live.

We cover topics such as sleep, nutrition/healthy eating, physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, understanding chronic or persistent pain and medicines for pain management.

We are in our fifth year of providing these programmes and last year they won the Integrated Care Category of the Prescquipp Awards (NHS), so we are officially an award winning programme.

We are happy to speak with people one-to-one to talk about how they can live well with pain, we also run weekly chat groups and zoom/ face-to-face informal support sessions for anyone living with pain.

So if you are living with long term pain please contact us to find out more about all the local support that is available or for our Better Days programme, go online to see where the nearest course is to you.

Better Days Pain support programmes are available on www.hlcalliance.org pain support.

We also deliver a Community Food Initiative all- Ireland project funded by safefoods. The project is about finding ways to support families to eat healthily.

We know issues such as being able to afford food, being able to afford healthy options, having equipment, being physically able and having the skills to prepare and cook a meal, having fussy eaters, knowing what the healthy choice is and being able to access healthy food options all impact on the food that we all eat.

This project works with other community groups in Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and the South-Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

We have developed several innovative projects to make it easier for people to try and taste new healthier options, develop cooking skills through family cooking challenges and learning more about healthier eating in the process. Our first event this year will be to support Men’s Health Week on June 14-20, when we will be encouraging all dads, sons, uncles, brothers, and grandads to get involved in the cooking challenge. We will also be working with schools and families to roll out cook at home challenges.

To find out more contact Jodie Portis at the Healthy Living Centre.

That is just a taster of some of the support we provide. If you would like help with your health and wellbeing, please get in touch.

We are a free service. To keep up to date with the events, programmes or services we offer, please follow us on Facebook @ResurgamHLC or email [email protected] or call us on 028 92 528233 and we can add you to our mailing list to be kept up to date or connect you to some of our groups and services.

If you would like me to focus on a particular health issue in further articles please get in touch and let me know.