Agherton Parish hosted a very successful health and wellbeing event which gave parishioners and others in the community the opportunity to speak face-to-face with health and wellbeing providers.
Thirteen different organisations attended the fair, held in the parish centre on September 21, to share details of their work and the support they can offer. See our PHOTO GALLERY below.
The rector, the Rev Malcolm Ferry, said it had been of value to the exhibitors as well as those who attended. “They got so much from it,” he said. “They saw it as a real networking opportunity.”
“We offered space for teas and coffees. Some charities taking part made use of our break-out room, for example, Aware ran 10-15 minute classes speaking about their work.”
The RNID representative not only spoke about the support offered by the organisation, but also fixed hearing aids for a number of people. Denise Stone, a member of the Agherton Parish Choir, is North West Co-ordinator for Defibrillators, and she ran defibrillator training.
The parish has its own defibrillator. “We have done a couple of big sessions in defibrillator training, but this gave people one-to-one training which gave them more confidence to try,” Malcolm said.
There were lots of opportunities for people to sit down and get one-on-one information. Representatives of the Library Service, for example, were able to help individuals to get the Library Service app on their phones.
There was information on securing the home and representatives later went out to homes of those who needed assistance to install safety chains on doors and grab raises. There was advice for those living alone, for carers, for those who are struggling with bereavement, for people feeling generally overwhelmed.
“A lot of ladies who live alone felt really empowered,” Malcolm said. “For the more active older men, there were talks from Men’s Shed.”
Those attending with younger children were able to leave the kids to have fun with Christina Acheson who opened the parish’s Little Surfers Club specially for the day.
Agherton Parish employs two parish nurses, and this event was nurse-led. “When they are doing their work, the nurses identify people who may be concerned about things like falling, home security, or living alone,” Malcolm said.
“We are constantly signposting people to services, but bringing everybody together in one place they can see more and they can interact directly with the agencies. This was a one-stop-shop for support. Sometimes, when people are trying to access support themselves, they can spend ages on the phone and get nowhere.
“When our nurses carried out a survey, people said they wanted more information and signposting, so we knew this would be popular.”
The parish nurses run health walks once a month. “We are trying to build good health and good practice,” Malcolm said.
While the health fair ran over four hours, Malcolm said it had led to lots of follow-up advice and calls.
“As a parish, we now have a reputation and status within these health and wellbeing organisations. We have no town hall and we are a bit out of services in Portstewart, so I can see the benefit of a quarterly health hub. That would be a long-term goal.
“Already Surestart has begun using our hall. This has all come from building our reputation as being advocates for good health, independence living and professional service.”
Following the health and wellbeing even, Agherton Parish Nurses expressed their thanks to the exhibitors (below) for their displays and sharing their information:
They also thanked the ladies of the church organisations for their beautiful displays and the time they gave to speak to others, and Alicean who prepared and served the refreshments and Wendy and Beryl who assisted.