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medway growsFamilies are being encouraged to take up the good life and take part in free workshops to learn how to grow their own food.

Medway Grows workshops are being run across the area from March to July and will be a fun way for all the family to learn something new – and cut down on household bills by growing their own grub.

Medway Grows is about healthy fresh produce , digging, planting, weeding, watering, landscaping and much more.

The workshops will encourage people of all ages to learn about a wide variety of projects from growing your own food, how to start planting and how best to get going at home.
And there’ll be lots of games and activities for children while mum and dad pick up top tips on how to grow the greens.

Councillor David Brake, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, said; “These free workshops are a great way to get all the family involved in planting and growing.

“Not only will they teach the basics and give everyone a good idea of how to grow, but also they’ll encourage families to get healthy and, hopefully, save money by growing their own produce.”

Workshops will take place across Medway, at weekends and after school and booking is essential.

The first workshop dates include March 15 and May 28, Medway Park; March 20, Luton Library, Chatham, April 5, Bishop of Rochester Academy; April 8 and May 28, Burnt Oak Primary, Gillingham.

To find out more information visit http://www.abettermedway.co.uk/healthyeating/medwaygrows.aspx” target=”_blank”>our website or call 016344 334309 to book your place.

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Volunteers are set to play an important role in delivering community support in Medway.

As part of a new scheme, money is to be invested in community organisations and trained volunteers are to provide enhanced support to older people and adults with disabilities.
Medway is one of seven councils in England involved in the programme set up by community interest company, Developing Empowering Resources in Communities, also known as DERiC.

Social investment bank, Big Society Capital, has loaned DERiC £1million to invest in community organisations, set up to support people who receive personal care budgets.
Personal care budgets are given to eligible people by local authorities and the NHS to enable them to have choice and control over the support they receive.

This can include anything from personal care, support with daily living, or needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty.

There are now four DERiC schemes in Leeds, one in Sandwell, Birmingham, one in Belfast, and one in Medway.

Together these programmes cover 3,000 people who are eligible to receive support.
The schemes draw in community supporters – local, trained volunteers who will provide appropriate support to people receiving personal budgets, enhancing their care and support arrangements.

The pilots in Leeds and Belfast showed a 25 per cent increase in personal contact for older people and vulnerable adults which is an important element of how we as a society address social isolation and loneliness.

Many councils applied to be part of the scheme and Medway Council will be running the programme in conjunction with Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CGG).

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr David Brake said: “We are delighted to have been selected to be part of DERiC. The organisers particularly liked that we have the CCG as close partners and also recognised the council’s strong links with volunteers.

“The scheme is set to increase the level of care offered to the people of Medway, and for it to be available to them at less cost.”

Dr Peter Green, Chief Clinical Officer for the CCG said: “We are delighted that Medway has been chosen as one of the first areas in the country to make much greater use of volunteers to enhance the care and support for those people who have a personal care budget, and we are looking forward to working with Medway Council to drive this forward.”

The initiative aims to provide support for at least 60 per cent of those eligible for support over the next three years.

In addition to those people, a further 1,500 who are not eligible for statutory support, but who are identified as needing support, will be helped by the scheme.

Big Ride picThey’re off! Cyclists in Medway have hit the road to Rio – host city for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

Over the next four months, everyone is being invited to take part in a community challenge to cycle the distance equal to the journey from Medway to Rio – about 7,500 miles.
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Between now and 17 May the Cycle the Road to Rio roadshow will be on tour to help Medway cyclists clock up miles on static bikes mounted on turbo trainers.

The initiative is part of the build up to Medway Sport’s new mass participation cycling event – The Big Ride – which takes place on Saturday, 17 May.

The roadshow was launched at Medway Park at the weekend during the Medway Big Splash. It will be visiting locations across Medway including sports centres, libraries, shopping centres, schools and businesses such as Questor Insurance, sponsors of the Medway Sporting Academy.

Cycle computers will calculate individual people’s mileage, as well as logging the cumulative total across Medway. So you can cycle one mile or a hundred! Everyone taking part will be invited to take part in the mass participation event at the Big Ride, where they will receive a free souvenir t-shirt and the chance to win one of the bikes.

The main Big Ride event at Medway Park in May will feature lots of free cycling activities including a family treasure trail ride organised by the Better Medway team, an interactive mountain bike skills track, karting, Go-Ride races and training, have-a-go arenas and exhibitions. Something for everyone regardless of their ability.

Additional events linked to the Big Ride event will be Sportive rides for more experienced cyclists and a mountain bike competition at Capstone Park country park, both organised by British Cycling.

You can register for the Medway Big Ride mass mile online at www.medway.gov.uk/bigride. You will also find more information online about the Big Ride event and when the Cycle the Road to Rio roadshow will be visiting your neighbourhood.

If your organisation or venue is interested in hosting the Cycle the Road to Rio roadshow, it’s not too late. Call 01634 338255 or email medwaysport@medway.gov.uk.

Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Cycling is becoming even more popular following the success of British riders at the Olympics and the Tour de France.
“As part of our sporting legacy, mass participation events like the Road to Rio roadshow and the Big Ride will give Medway cyclists plenty of opportunities to join in with serious riding as well as fun activities.”

Cycle the Road to Rio Roadshow locations are below. Timings 10am-4pm.

DATE VENUE
18-26 January Medway Park Sports Centre, Mill Road, Gillingham
30 January – 1 February Tesco, Cuxton Road, Strood
5– 7 February Medway Council offices, Gun Wharf, Chatham
8-9 February Hundred of Hoo Sports Centre, Main Road, Hoo
10 – 12 February Questor Insurance, Station Road, Rainham
Fri 14 – Mon 17 Strood Sports Centre, Watling Street, Strood
Half term week 17– 21 February Public Health Write and Play activity sessions. Venues to be confirmed.
28 February – 2 March Kings Rochester Sports Centre, Maidstone Road, Rochester
5 March Mini Youth Games Table Tennis, The Howard School, Rainham
6 – 10 March Splashes Leisure Pool, Bloors Lane, Rainham
10- 12 March Mid Kent College Campus, Medway Road, Gillingham
13 – 16 March Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham
16 March Families On Your Marks Day at Medway Park
21 March Deangate Ridge Golf Complex, Dux Court Road, Hoo
27 March Mini Youth Games Netball, Rainham Netball Centre
4 –7 April Diggerland, Medway Valley Leisure Park, Strood
10 – 12 April Rainham Library, Birling Avenue
17 – 19 April Community Hub, High Street, Gillingham
24 – 26 April Community Hub, Dock Road, Chatham
1 – 3 May Community Hub, Eastgate, High Street, Rochester
17 May Medway Big Ride, Medway Park, Gillingham
24 May British Cycling Mountain Biking Competition, Capstone Park

health checks

Is your heart healthy? Do you need a Health Check to find out?

As part of National Heart Month, Salveo Healthcare are delivering NHS Health Checks in their pharmacies in the weeks commencing 10th March. These health checks identify those at risk of heart disease and also stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. You are eligible for a free health check if you are aged between the ages of 40 and 74 and have not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions. It’s important that you find out if you’re at risk, the earlier the better and then we can help support you to stay healthier for longer!

National Heart Month is taking place during February. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the single biggest killer in the UK and there are about 2.3 million of us living with this disease. Every single one of us has a heart which means every one of us is at potential risk.

Your local Salveo Pharmacy is working to help you find out whether you are at risk of heart disease, but also other conditions such as stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. As part of the NHS Health Checks service we are asking everyone between the ages of 40 and 74, who has not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions or have certain risk factors to come and see us. We will perform a check to assess your risk of one of these conditions and then we will give you support and advice to help you reduce or manage that risk.

We will be performing these NHS Health Checks in your local Salveo Pharmacy* in the weeks commencing 10th March. Come and see us, there’s no need to make an appointment – it’s quick and easy for you.

It’s important that you get a check sooner rather than later – the earlier the better! Once you know whether there’s a health problem then we can work with you to identify self-care tips and to signpost you to other health and social care support in the community.

Dr Bora, a local GP says, ‘Pharmacists have a huge role to play in today’s healthcare. Unfortunately to date, this has remained an underutilised resource. As a part of the joint working I would like to see the Pharmacist play a much bigger part. The delivering of NHS Health Checks is a major step in this direction. As a GP and the Chairman of the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG I am looking forward to working together for better outcomes for our patients’

Salveo pharmacies can be found at:www.salveohealth.co.uk

mums support groupMums in Medway have been breastfeeding in confidence for more than three years now, thanks to the Medway Breastfeeding Network.

The friendly, knowledgeable support network for local families provides regular drop-ins and useful local information and tips so mums can enjoy breastfeeding their baby.

The success of this community service is to be celebrated at an event on Thursday 27 February and midwives, health visiting staff, family nurses, children’s centre staff, peer supporters and anyone else who works with breastfeeding women, is welcome to attend.

It will be an occasion to celebrate the achievements of volunteers and hear positive stories from families and staff. It is also an opportunity to meet peer supporters and find out more about the network and the infant feeding strategy. Lunch and a crèche will be provided.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr David Brake said: “A community support system for mothers is essential, and the Medway Breastfeeding Network can offer information and friendly support to help mums breastfeed their babies for as long as they choose to.

“The celebration event will be a wonderful occasion and a chance for everyone to see what a difference the service has made since its introduction in 2010.”

The celebration event will run from 9.30am to 12 noon at Kent Life, Village Hall, Lock Lane Maidstone, ME14 3AU.

To register to attend or to find out more, contact Beverley Hunt, Infant Feeding Project Officer, on 07908 817569 or email ifp@medway.gov.uk

For more information on local breastfeeding support and breastfeeding welcome venues please visit www.abettermedway.co.uk/breastfeeding

main copy.qxdWith Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s time to think about your heart.

NHS Medway Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people to consider their lifestyles during February’s Healthy Heart Month. Making simple changes to diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease. In Medway there are 7,500 people diagnosed with the disease, but it’s thought to affect many more.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries that surround the heart. This can make coronary arteries narrower and restrict the flow of blood to the heart which increases the risk of heart attack. People are at higher risk if they:

• Smoke
• Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
• Have a high blood cholesterol level
• Do not take regular exercise
• Have diabetes

Other risk factors include being obese or overweight and having a family history of CHD. This risk is increased if someone has a male relative with CHD under the age of 55 or a female relative under the age of 65.

People from an African Caribbean background have a higher risk of high blood pressure than all other ethnic groups in the UK. Coronary heart disease rates are at their highest in South Asian communities.

The CCG’s clinical lead for long-term conditions, Dr Chris Markwick, said: “We’re urging everyone to think about their lifestyle and their heart in February.

“Are there things you can change to help you have a healthier heart? Can you quit smoking, lose weight, or be more active? How about trimming the fat from meat or grilling instead of frying? If so, there’s no better time to do it than now.”

Things you can do to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels include:

• Eating a balanced and healthy diet – and going easy on salt
• Avoiding eating too much food that contains saturated fat, such as cakes and biscuits, cream and hard cheese
• Being more physically active
• Keeping to a healthy weight
• Quitting smoking
• Reducing alcohol consumption and sticking to recommended guidelines
• Keeping blood pressure under control
• Cutting down on sugar – too much sugar in the diet can increase the chances of diabetes which will, in turn, increase the chances of developing CHD.

Healthy Heart Month runs from 1 to 28 February. For more information about heart disease, visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk or the British Heart Foundation website www.bhf.org.uk.

If you’re concerned about your heart, visit your GP.

health appAn innovative new NHS service is helping to put Medway people more in control of their own health and find the right treatment quickly when they need it.

The web app Health Help Now advises people on the best treatment for different symptoms, and helps them contact the best service for them, whether that is a pharmacy, their GP practice, NHS 111 or many other services.

In the first month since its launch on 13 December 2013, Health Help Now has been used more than 3000 times by more than 2100 people.

Dr Chris Markwick, Urgent Care GP at NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Health Help Now has useful information and advice for people of every age. By using Health Help Now, people should be able to find the service in Medway or Kent that can help them, whether they are at home or out and about.

“We know that it can be confusing to know where to get help. People who are unsure often just go to A&E, even if they only have a minor injury or ailment.

“Health Help Now can help these people to get the right treatment without having to wait in a busy A&E department.

“That will help them and, by keeping A&E free for those who really need it, it will also help the NHS focus lifesaving care on the most seriously ill and injured patients.” Now, everyone who lives, studies and works in Medway and Kent can have details of local health help at their fingertips, whatever the time and wherever they are.

Health Help Now shows the user where their nearest services, such as GP practices, minor injuries units, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists are. It also suggests support phone lines for mental health worries, and contains a wealth of information on common health conditions, and links to reliable resources.

The web app is available via the website www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net and can be saved to your phone, tablet or computer for easy use. Why not save it so you have it readily to hand when you need it?

Statement from NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group

The Care Quality Commission today issued the report of an unannounced inspection into maternity services at Medway Maritime Hospital. While noting examples of good practice and that the staff were dedicated and caring, the inspection found that actions were needed to improve care in all six of the areas inspected. The CQC has issued three warning notices under section 29 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

The inspection comes at a time when Medway NHS Foundation Trust continues to be in ‘special measures’ as a result of the findings of the review led by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s team, a review that was triggered by poor mortality rates. NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group welcome the arrival of the trust’s new Medical Director and new Chief Nurse.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and by Monitor, the two national regulators of foundation trusts. They are the organisations that can impose warnings or undertakings on the trust, as the CQC has done here, to require change.

The CCGs’ role is to commission healthcare that is safe and meets the needs of our population, and to work with providers of healthcare to assure the public on the quality of services. In our response to the Keogh review, we made it clear that it is the responsibility of the trust’s board to ensure that services are safe, that the necessary monitoring is in place to provide that assurance and that any necessary rectification plans are implemented.

We will continue to work with Medway NHS Foundation Trust to improve the quality of care patients receive. NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group plans and buys healthcare for the people of Medway.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is holding it’s next governing body meeting on Wednesday 23 October. The meeting is at the CCG offices at 50 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime between 1pm and 5pm and is open to the public.

The agenda and papers will be available on the CCG website (www.medwayccg.nhs.uk) this Friday (18 October) and any questions should be tabled in advance where possible although they will also be taken on the day.

Visitors’ parking is available in the CCG overflow car park at Dickens World. Permits should be obtained in advance. To table a question or request a parking permit, contact Sharon Davies by email sharon.davies6@nhs.net, by phone 01634 335177 or in writing to Executive Support and Governance Assistant, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, 50 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4EL.

Medway has 25,000 carers according to the last census and Medway Council and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) believes many more people are caring for friends or family but not recognising the extent of their role. More

Death is a certainty that we all face and can be a time of distress for not only the person whose life is ending, but the loved ones they are leaving behind. When asked, most people express preferences about their end of life such as wanting to die at home. But few people currently have conversations about this. A short film hopes to change that, and encourage people to let loved ones and health professionals know their wishes. Read More

Patients and carers from Medway and Swale took the opportunity to receive one-to-one welfare benefits advice and support at an information event at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester on Thursday 10 October 2013.

The event was held in support of Hospice Care Week 7-13 October 2013, a national week to raise awareness of the range of support available to people with life-limiting conditions and their families. Read More

World Mental Health Day on October 10 will be marked in Medway with special information stands to provide people with help and guidance. Read More

Medway Council’s Trading Standards team are urging local businesses and residents to be extra careful when buying food supplements that claim to burn fat.

Across the country a number of deaths have been connected with the consumption of supplements containing 2,4 Dinitrophenol, sometimes referred to as ‘DNP’. This is a product unfit for human consumption and should not be sold as food.

However, it is available online and has been found being sold under the counter at some gyms in other parts of the UK. Read More

Around 40,000 people across Medway are diagnosed with high blood pressure, and the NHS believes many more may not know they suffer.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) predicts there may be as many as 65,000 people in total with high blood pressure across the Medway towns and is urging people to get tested and ‘know their numbers’. Read More

Photo - Jo, Lola and James Clackett

Photo – Jo, Lola and James Clackett

Medway’s skin care nurses from Medway Community Healthcare are encouraging local people to know the signs of eczema during National Eczema Awareness Week, being led by the National Eczema Society, from 14 – 22 September 2013.

Eczema causes skin to become itchy, dry, sore and cracked and in severe cases can make skin bleed. Atopic eczema is the most common form and mainly affects children but can continue into adulthood. Read More

28 People that completed a Healthy Weight programme in June 2013, lost a collective 60kg and shaved 97cm of their waists.

The Gr@nd’s Healthy Weight team have been supporting adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 or above on a 12 Week programme .Participants learned about nutrition and tried a variety of exercise taster sessions, which has helped them to make little changes to lead a healthier lifestyle. Read More

Cyclists are being asked to get pedalling around the world next week – or up to eight miles of it – to promote better mental health. The Active Medway Cycle Group will be meeting at Riverside Country Park in Lower Rainham from 6-7pm on Thursday, 12 September. Read More

sandc stride Shorne Woods Country Park, Brewers Road Sunday 20th October 2013 10:00am Shorne Woods Country Park consists of ancient woodland, heathland, an old clay extraction pit, meadows and wetlands. The ponds and lakes are beautiful and rich with reeds, rush and willow. A sensory garden has been developed for everyone to enjoy. Within these fantastic surroundings, we have 3 distances available for you to walk: The 10km route takes you through Shorne Woods Country Park onto Cobham Hall Grounds, down through Cobham Village and into Ashenbank Woods and back into Shorne Woods Country Park. The 3km route takes you around the Shorne Woods Country Park. The 1km route is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. We’d love to see you donning your pink and hope you’ll join us for another wonderful event. Registration costs £10, under 18’s are free but must be accompanied by an adult. This event is open to all. Click HERE to take part

Gr@nd staff encourage young people not to keep their feelings locked up, and talk about mental health. Workers from The Gr@nd Healthy Living Centre Gravesend, took their newly formed group of peer mentors to look around the Old Town Hall on Friday 16 August in preparation for the Young People’s conference they are planning at the historical venue on Thursday 10 October, for World Mental Health Day. Read More

healthy foodWould you like tips on making family meal times healthier? If you are a parent or carer with children aged 2-4 there are free advice sessions taking place near you from September.

The MEND 2-4 Programme, run by Medway Council’s Public Health Team offers a great chance for local families to learn about healthy lifestyle choices in a fun and creative way.

The course involves children and a parent or carer taking part in a 90-minute session, once a week for 10 weeks. Each session deals with issues that many parents face from fussy eating to temper tantrums.

There is also advice on reading food labels and encouraging children to try new fruit and vegetables, all of which builds a foundation for lifelong healthy living habits. Read More

John Getley with wife Katrina Getley and granddaughter Olivia aged 13Local man John Getley who has recently recovered from a stroke is encouraging other stoke survivors to attend a new support group which meets for the first time in Medway in September. More

GPs are appealing for Medway residents to take some precautionary measures in case they fall ill over the bank holiday weekend.

Summer months are a busy time for the NHS, with soaring temperatures leading to increased numbers of patients suffering heat exhaustion, sunburn and allergic reactions from insect bites. More

A free 30-minute health check could change your life – that’s the message from Medway Council’s Public Health Team, which is promoting the NHS Health Check programme in Medway. More

POSTPONED UNTIL THE 15TH OCTOBER

Date: Tuesday 17 September 2013. Time: 2.00pm – 5:00pm Venue: The Royal Engineers Museum, Field Marshal’s Suite, Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham ME4 4UG More

Medway Council is expressing its concerns over planned changes to mental health inpatient services in the area.

Cllr Wendy Purdy (Con), lead Medway Councillor on the Joint Kent and Medway Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, fears it will place vulnerable people at risk. “Medway needs local in-patient services, and across Kent and Medway all the indications are that we need more not less beds. This is a matter of serious concern.” said Cllr Purdy. More

Summer months are a busy time for the NHS, with soaring temperatures leading to increased numbers of patients suffering heat exhaustion, sunburn and allergic reactions from insect bites. More

LEADING BEAUTY BRANDS LAUNCH EXCLUSIVE PINK RANGES FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Shop with a conscience and shop pink this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Beauty favourites, Avon and ghd, have joined forces with leading charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, to launch exclusive pink products which carry a minimum 10% donation to Breakthrough’s life-saving work.

Avon and ghd, along with many more leading retailers, will all be doing their bit to help the nation turn pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More women than ever before are being diagnosed with breast cancer so it’s crucial that everybody gets involved and helps raise vital funds to stop women dying from the disease.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to saving lives through improving early diagnosis, developing new treatments and preventing all types of breast cancer. With 1,000 women dying from the disease each month in the UK alone, every penny raised is vital in order to help us create a world freed from breast cancer. Do your bit, do it pink.

1. Avon Pro Viva Pink Nail Varnish, RRP £4, 25% donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available from your local Independent Avon Representative or online at avonshop.co.uk
2. ghd pink styler and paddle brush gift set RRP £135, £10 donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available in the finest salons and at http://www.ghdhair.com. ghd has been supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer for 10 years.

The people in charge of planning and buying NHS healthcare services for Medway are due to meet on Wednesday 24 July, 1.30pm at Fifty Pembroke Court, Chatham, ME4 4EL.

Local people are invited to observe the monthly governing body meeting, to find out about decisions being made on NHS healthcare services in the NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.

There will be an opportunity for people to ask questions at the end of the meeting. Anyone who would like to submit questions in advance is encouraged to contact the CCG executive support team by email: sharon.davies6@nhs.net or by calling 01634 335177.

For further information, and to view the agenda and meeting papers (published on Friday 19 July), visit the CCG website: http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk.

Health teams in Medway are asking anyone who’s had a persistent cough for three weeks or more to see their GP, in support of a national campaign to raise awareness of lung cancer. The national lung cancer campaign which started on 2 July and runs until 11 August, is part of Public Health England’s Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which aims to raise public awareness of symptoms of cancer and encourage people with symptoms to see their GP earlier. More

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