Carnforth is well on the way to becoming a healthy town due to the awareness raising event held when the town hosted its first ever ‘Health Mela’.
This unique festival, modelled on the South Asian tradition of community fairs was dedicated to the celebration and promotion of community health and wellbeing.
The initiative was sparked by the former Rotary Cumbria and Lancashire District Governor, Kevin Walsh, who worked in partnership with the NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Better Care Together and the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing.
This dedicated team received enthusiastic support from the Head-teacher, staff and students of Carnforth High School.
The activities of the day started with a breakfast meeting, addressed by Dr Chris Moulton, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, who provided an entertaining and thought provoking presentation on the current problems faced by emergency care services.
The public event was then opened by Chief Guests, Dr Moulton, and Councillor Pat Wooff, Deputy Mayor of Carnforth Town Council.
They then went on to join over 600 visitors, many in family groups, to enjoy exploring over fifty stalls representing organisations dedicated to the promotion of health and wellbeing.
The stalls presented the widest range of perspectives imaginable.
All in one place you could get the facts about Alzheimer’s or diabetes, find out about hemochromatosis (iron overload) or the Women’s Institute, practice resuscitation skills on a realistic dummy, get your face painted and more.
Visitors were entertained by singers from the Carnforth Community Choir, led by Dr Andy Knox, everyone helped judge the ‘Let’s Get Moving Run a Mile’ posters in the competition for local primary schools.
Also on offer on the day was the ‘Health MOT’, a comprehensive series of health checks and counselling offered to visitors by volunteer health professionals, which proved extremely popular with the visitors and stall holders.
The checks included measurement of height, weight and BMI, blood sugar and cholesterol. 100 visitors took advantage of this opportunity. 57 cases of raised cholesterol and 12 of raised blood glucose were identified and the individuals concerned referred to their GP for follow up advice
Dr Andy Knox, a local GP and NHS Lancashire North CCG Executive Lead Health and Well Being commented on the success of the day by reinforcing the message for Carnforth to be one of the healthiest towns in Lancashire is now tangible, he stated “What a fantastic day all round. Everyone seemed really engaged with all the activities and interested in the information the stalls had on offer. There was a positive buzz in the room all day.”