Healthwatch Wandsworth Newsletter - November 2016
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 Healthwatch Wandsworth

 November Newsletter

Historically, some pretty interesting things have happened during the month of November, to name a few:
  • Highwayman Jack Sheppard was hanged at Tyburn, in front of an estimated crowd of 200,000
  • Guy Fawkes was arrested when the plot to blow up England's King James I was uncovered
  • The First World War, also known as the Great War, came to an end
  • Nancy Astor was elected Member of Parliament for Plymouth, becoming Britain's first woman MP
  • Princess Elizabeth married her cousin Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey
Although we can't claim that things have been equally eye-popping, jaw-dropping or ground-breaking at Healthwatch Wandsworth lately, we thought we'd update you on the work and events we've been involved with over the last couple of months.
Wham! Bam! 
Earlier this year we tried to think of ways to better engage young people in discussions about their health and social care via social media. So... we decided to create an Instagram page and to start it off we came up with a health focused photo campaign, and the hashtag #whatkeepsmewell.

This campaign encourages young and old alike to think about the things they do, as well as the people in their lives, that enhance their well-being and help to keep them happy and healthy.

To make sure that our campaign would really connect with young people and help us understand how they feel about their own health and the health services available to them, we presented the idea to the
Wandsworth Youth Council, a group of 30 local young people who make sure that young people's voices are heard by politicians and decision makers. They came up with some interesting suggestions for our campaign, including:
  • Prizes for the best post, the best photo caption or the best picture
  • Visit Youth Clubs and school assemblies to advertise our campaign
  • Monthly prizes for participation, e.g. vouchers or work experience
  • Get people to share their personal story along with a picture
We also held a fundraiser event and worked with 9 young volunteers from 'NCS; The Challenge' who raised £192.38 on our behalf, which was donated to the Wandsworth Care Alliance LGBT Mental Health Project and to MIND. We are very grateful to all our volunteers for their fresh ideas and approach and for their enthusiasm on the day.

The response to our campaign so far has been very encouraging with over 130 participants to date, a large majority of them young people. We also sent a
pictorial report on the campaign to Wandsworth's Public Health department, whom we hope will be able to use some of the information contained in it to inform their own work with young people.

We hope that this campaign will continue to encourage people to take a closer look at the positives in their lives; the things that make us smile, bring us joy and keep us physically and mentally well.

Healthwatch Wandsworth
Executive Member Elections
   February 2017
Do you want to make a difference to health and social
care services in Wandsworth?
Are you dynamic, a team player and good at strategic thinking?
Then why not get involved with Healthwatch!

Healthwatch Wandsworth will be electing four new members to its Executive Committee next year. By becoming a Healthwatch Wandsworth Executive member, you will have a share in determining the overall direction and development of our organisation (including future projects and workstreams) through good governance and clear strategic planning.

All members of Healthwatch Wandsworth are eligible for nomination and to vote. What else might you need to know about the elections?

  • Application forms for candidates will be available on our website from early December 2016
  • Nominations should be returned to us by email or post by the 4th of January 2017
  • Candidates will be announced in early January 2017 via email and the Healthwatch Wandsworth website
  • Voting will take place at our first public meeting in early February 2017
  • Postal votes should be requested no later than the 13th of January 2017 and returned to us by the 1st of February 2017

If you are interested in becoming an Executive Member of Healthwatch Wandsworth, please get in touch with us ( or visit our website in early December to apply.


Healthwatch Wandsworth Assembly
& Voluntary Sector Forum

30th November
Tooting United Reformed Church
On the 30th of November we'll be holding our next public Assembly and Voluntary Sector Forum.

At the Voluntary Sector Forum (11am - 1pm) we'll be hearing from several of our local voluntary and community organisations, and there will also be an update from the Voluntary Sector Coordination Project.

During the Assembly (1.45pm - 3.30pm) we'll find out more about the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which the NHS will use in future to deliver local health services. We’ll also have an update on the refreshed Mental Health Talking Therapies service. And as always, there will be a chance to ask questions about how these changes might affect you.

Both meetings will be held at
Tooting United Reformed Church, on Rookstone Road. Refreshments will be provided throughout the meetings, and lunch will be available from 1pm.

If you would like to book a place, email or call 020 8516 7767.


Stay Warm This Winter & Keep Costs Down

The cold and damp weather can be bad for anyone's health, but if you're aged 65 or older it can make you more vulnerable to winter illnesses, such as coughs and colds, or the flu virus which could lead to serious complications.
Low temperatures also increase the risk of other respiratory problems and can raise blood pressure, which takes longer to return to normal in older people and could put you at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes. Basically, the colder your home is, the greater the risk to your health.
So what can you do to stay warm this winter, and keep the costs down? Here are a few tips taken from the Age UK website:
  • Check your thermostat regularly to monitor room temperature, but if you feel cold turn the heat up regardless of what the thermometer reads
  • Close the curtains at dusk and fit thermal linings if you can. This will keep the heat in
  • Don’t block up air vents, as fires and heaters need ventilation
  • Keep your bedroom window closed at night when the weather is cold. The coldest time of the day is just before dawn and breathing in cold air raises the risk of chest infections
If you're worried about the cost of your fuel bills over the winter months, you can contact your local Age UK for a benefits check and advice on any financial support you may be eligible for. If you’re having difficulty paying your heating bills, Charis Grants can direct you to extra funding to help with utility bills.

The Government has also provided a
free information booklet with advice on how to stay warm and well this winter.


The Voluntary Sector Coordination Project aims to:
  • Help the voluntary sector be stronger, better connected, and act as a link to the NHS in Wandsworth
  • Help evidence what the voluntary sector can do to keep people healthy, physically and mentally
  • Help the NHS in Wandsworth identify where they might invest in the voluntary sector  - for example, projects that are helping people to improve their health, both physical and mental
  • Identify and share good practice across the sector and with the NHS in Wandsworth, looking for opportunities to replicate or build on projects that are improving people's well-being
  • Help groups or organisations form partnerships, both with each other and the NHS
Since the Coordination Project was established earlier this year, it has spoken at the last Voluntary Sector Forum in June this year, held 3 focus groups during August, had several 121 conversations with local organisations, contacted a total of 77 community and voluntary groups and organisations, and built its mailing list to 306 and still counting!

Local organisations were asked:
  • What do you currently do, or plan to do, to meet the health and well-being needs of local people?
  • What are the challenges and potential solutions to demonstrating your value and showing the NHS (or other funders) what you do?
  • What are the challenges and potential solutions to working in partnership with each other and the NHS?
  • What do you think the priorities and objectives of the coordination project should be?
The notes of these events can be viewed on the project's webpage; however the main themes have been summarised in their Initial Findings & Recommendations report which has also been shared with the NHS.

The Coordination Project has also been administering the Seldom Heard Grants on behalf of Wandsworth CCG, and the Grassroots Fund on behalf of the South West London Collaborative Commissioning programme. This has enabled the Coordination Project to start conversations with smaller groups who might otherwise not have been contacted.

Earlier in the year the Coordination Project formed an Advisory Group to inform, appraise and support the project, and to make sure that it represents the voluntary sector as best as possible. 11 representatives from local voluntary organisations/groups have volunteered to join so far, and the group met for the first time in October.

If you are interested in joining the Voluntary Sector Coordination Project Advisory Group, please contact Lauren - email, or call 0208 516 7768.

Healthwatch Consults!
The NHS and Wandsworth Council have consulted on a number of issues over the last few months, including Suicide Prevention, Carers Support, the Sexual Health Strategy and LGBT mental health. We were able to collaborate with them on a number of these consultations and make sure that your views and needs were heard and taken into consideration.

Delia (our Outreach & Engagement lead) and Ayo (our Information & Outreach lead) have both been very busy chatting to people in the local community, getting valuable feedback from them on current services, service changes, strategies and planned improvements. Below are a few of the projects they have been working on.

Suicide Prevention
Statistics show that the suicide rate in Wandsworth has increased and is actually higher than the London average. Wandsworth Council planned to address this issue via their new Suicide Prevention Strategy and we wanted to understand people's experiences of local mental health support services, and find out how they thought mental health services could be improved.

Our Suicide Prevention report was sent to Wandsworth's Public Health department and helped to inform their overall strategy. Our report on suicide prevention is available to read 

Carer Support
The Department of Health’s development of a new strategy for carers addresses their needs and looks at how more can be done to support them. Our survey was designed to gain insight into carers’ lives and to measure their satisfaction with the support services currently available. We found that a significant number of respondents were either not aware of available support services or were not using the services.

Our report was sent to the Department of Health to be included in their Carers Strategy. Read our report on the Carers consultation here.

LGBT Mental Health
The London Assembly Health Committee recently carried out a review into the mental health experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We launched a survey to find out what the local issues are and to contribute to the London Assembly's review. Research indicates that members of the LGBT community have higher instances of mental health problems than the rest of the population, and report negative experiences when accessing healthcare.

Our report on LGBT mental health service provision was sent to the Greater London Authority to inform their work on the subject and is available to read

Wandsworth LGBT Mental Health Project

The Wandsworth LGBT Mental Health Project lies within Wandsworth Care Alliance, an established local Charity. Our aim is to address health inequalities that the LGBT Community experience.

The prevalence of Mental Health issues within the LGBT Community is significantly higher than that of the general population. Our aim is to work towards health and social care services that work well for everyone, but especially for those in the LGBT Community.

We hold meetings where people can raise issues, exchange information, get advice and support or be signposted to other organisations. Also, we are well connected with NHS Providers and Commissioners to whom we can take issues regarding service provision.

  • Anyone who has a vision or cause which they believe could improve their well-being and that of their community
  • The LGBT community in Wandsworth
  • Local voluntary sector and community groups
  • Young people, adults and older people
  • Commissioners and service providers

If you would like to get in touch with the Wandsworth LGBT Mental Health Project, please contact John Morrill, the Project Manager by emailing or call 020 8516 7716.
John Morrill, Wandsworth LGBT Project Manager
"Our aim is to address health inequalities that the LGBT Community
in Wandsworth experience."

Don't forget to get in touch and let us know what you think about your local health and social care services. Or if you'd like to get involved with our work email 
 call 020 8516 7767.
But until next time, it's 'bye for now' from all at
Healthwatch Wandsworth!
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Healthwatch Wandsworth · Trident Business Centre – 3rd Floor · 89 Bickersteth Road · London, London SW17 9SH · United Kingdom

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