Patients and families praise ‘invaluable’ Southport cancer event

More than 100 people whose lives have been affected by cancer have been learning about the local support available to them at an ‘invaluable’ event in Southport.

The health and wellbeing event was organised by the Southport Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre in conjunction with NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, held at the Royal Clifton Hotel and provided an afternoon of information for local people.

Hannah Bland from Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) was a guest speaker talking about the role of ‘community connectors’. These volunteers work to reduce social isolation by supporting people to access local groups and organisations and help them to become more involved in their local community.

Those attending the health and wellbeing event said they benefited from hearing from other people affected by cancer and sharing ideas, as well as the two breakout sessions on ‘the fear of recurrence’ and ‘the importance of self-management’, which were led by local healthcare professionals.

The range of support available locally for people was displayed on more than 30 market place stalls that people were invited to browse. Stallholders ranged from the clinical nurse specialists from Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust and Aintree Hospital NHS Trust, to support groups, voluntary organisations and other services that can help people live with and beyond cancer.

Going beyond physical health, visitors were treated to a mini-makeover provided by Boots No7 or a hand massage courtesy of Sefton OPERA. Taking time to care for your mental wellbeing is just as important as physical treatment.

Macmillan southport event
Volunteer David Lees at the health and wellbeing event organised by the Southport Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre in conjunction with NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

One of those patients who attended the event said: “Whether it’s your first time of going or your third, you always get to hear new information and help which can only be a good thing.

“These events are invaluable as you can speak to specialists and ask questions which you may have forgotten to ask a doctor or consultant.

“It’s good that friends, family and carers can go to these events as they too can get help and advice and without these events where could they turn to.”

Graeme Allan, primary care cancer lead and Macmillan GP at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “It’s great to see so many people coming to find out about the local services available to them.

“Cancer touches so many people’s lives and it’s important that we support people as they go through treatment, or are caring for someone else who is.

“I want to thank The Southport Macmillan Centre staff and volunteers, Sefton CVS, our local Trust and everyone else who helped bring this day together.”

The next health and wellbeing event promises to be even better as the focus of the afternoon will be all about living life and having fun. The staff at the centre will be combining this event with the Christmas fair so there will be plenty to see and do. More details will be released later in the year.

‘Big Chat’ about health in Southport and Formby

Health commissioners are inviting Southport and Formby residents to come to their ‘Annual Review meets Big Chat’ event on Tuesday 11 September 2018.

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is combining its annual review meeting with a ‘Big Chat’ style event, and this year will also be celebrating 70 years of the NHS.

As well as finding out about the CCG’s performance and achievements over the past 12 months, the event is a chance for residents to give their views about the organisation’s latest work to shape services.

This year the event will include a marketplace with a range of health and wellbeing related stalls that people can browse ahead of the start of the main programme, which will combine a mix of presentations and interactive, table-based discussions.

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of the CCG, said: “This will be our 10th ‘Big Chat’ event in Southport and Formby. We really value the feedback and suggestions we gather from all those who come along to the events, so we hope to welcome many local people to our annual review.”

Group photo. Big Chat Southport and Formby
NHS Southport and Formby CCG invite you to their Big Chat event (picture taken at last year’s event). From left: Tracey Forshaw, Fiona Taylor, Anne-Marie Morrison (Sefton CVS), Dr Rob Caudwell, Jan Leonard, Susanne Lynch

He added: “We are also hosting a marketplace, where colleagues and partners from neighbouring health organisations will have information stalls promoting a range of local health services.”

Copies of the CCG’s annual report and accounts for 2017-2018 will also be available for people to take away.

The event begins at 1pm with a marketplace and refreshments, with the main agenda taking place from 2pm to 4.30pm at The Royal Clifton Hotel, One the Promenade, Southport, PR8 1RB. The marketplace and refreshments will be available from 1pm.

Anyone who would like to come along is asked to confirm their attendance, along with any special requirements they may have, by calling 0151 317 8456 or emailing

Summer holidays don’t have to spell unhealthy habits

The school summer holidays are a chance to relax, sleep in, and enjoy a break from homework, but it’s best to maintain some routines to stay healthy and avoid a ‘shock to the system’ come September.

Debbie Fagan, chief nurse at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Routines such as regular bedtimes and mealtimes are important for keeping your children on the right learning path.

“Studies show that memory, learning, attention, mood, behaviour and physical health are all improved through sleep.”

Here are some top tips for healthy eating and drinking during the summer holidays:

There’s room for occasional treats during the holidays but it can get expensive to keep buying a round of ice creams for the whole family – try to plan ahead and take some healthier snacks with you on a day out.

Change 4 Life have some great ideas for healthier lunchbox and picnic swaps that are easy to prepare and fun for the whole family:

It can be difficult to keep food cool on hot days, so follow this advice from NHS Choices on how to prepare and cook food safely, including on barbeques:

Try to limit your intake of sugary drinks – even fruit juices contain sugar. Water is the healthiest option and the best for rehydration on a hot day. You can make the drinks more appealing to kids by adding novelty ice cubes or chopped fruit and cucumber.

Debbie added: “Eating healthily, regular exercise and good sleep all go hand-in-hand and will make the summer holidays more enjoyable and stress-free for the whole family.”

food healthy red summer

Regular exercise ‘best for mental health’

Regular physical activity lasting 45 minutes three to five times a week can reduce poor mental health – but doing more than that is not always beneficial, a large US study suggests.

A total of 1.2 million people reported their activity levels for a month and rated their mental wellbeing.

People who exercised had 1.5 fewer “bad days” a month than non-exercisers, the study found.

Team sports, cycling and aerobics had the greatest positive impact.

All types of activity were found to improve mental health no matter people’s age or gender, including doing the housework and looking after the children.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal, is the largest of its kind to date but it cannot confirm that physical activity is the cause of improved mental health.

Previous research into the effects of exercise on mental health have thrown up mixed results, and some studies suggest that lack of activity could lead to poor mental health as well as being a symptom of it.

Exercise is already known to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Adults taking part in the study said they experienced on average 3.4 days of poor mental health each month. For those who were physically active, this reduced to only two days.

Among people who had been diagnosed previously with depression, exercise appeared to have a larger effect, resulting in seven days of poor mental health a month compared with nearly 11 days for those who did no exercise.

How often and for how long people were active was also important.

Being active for 30 to 60 minutes every second day came out as the optimal routine.

But there could be such a thing as doing too much exercise, the study concluded.

Dr Adam Chekroud, study author and assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University, said: “Previously, people have believed that the more exercise you do, the better your mental health, but our study suggests that this is not the case.

“Doing exercise more than 23 times a month, or exercising for longer than 90-minute sessions is associated with worse mental health.”

He said the positive impact of team sports suggested that social sports activities could reduce isolation and be good for resilience, while also reducing depression.

The findings back up government guidelines recommending that people should do 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

But the study has some limitations. It is based on self-reporting, which is not always accurate, and there is no way of measuring physical activity.

Dr Dean Burnett, neuroscientist and honorary research associate, from the school of psychology at Cardiff University, said the link between exercise and mental health had been difficult to pin down but this large study “strongly suggests that there is a definite association between the two”.

“However, the nature of the study means it’s difficult to say more than that with any real certainty,” he said.

Prof Stephen Lawrie, head of psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh, said it indicated that social and “mindful” exercise is particularly good for mental health – but not if it is overdone.

“I suspect we all know people who seem ‘addicted’ to exercise and if this starts to impact on other aspects of life – like foregoing social activities because one has to be up at the crack of dawn to run several miles – it might actually be bad for people,” he added.

*Article taken from BBC website.

time lapse photo of man riding on bicycle
Photo by Darcy Lawrey on

Stay safe using the internet

With the prevalence of services being offered online, it is more important than ever to clue up on how to stay safe when using the internet. That’s why Include-IT Mersey, a project offering free computer courses and drop ins across the Liverpool City Region, is collaborating with Merseyside Police to offer free online safety sessions.

The sessions will run at Include-IT Mersey’s current free digital drop ins across the boroughs of Merseyside.

Merseyside Police’s Digital Community Support Officer will be attending to answer questions and give information and advice about how to stay safe online.

Lauren Jones, Volunteer Coordinator, who organises Sefton drop ins, said: “The internet is a fantastic tool but you do need to be aware of how to use it safely. That’s why we welcomed working with Merseyside Police’s Digital Community Support Officer to offer the local community hints and tips on just this.

“Our course has a module on internet safety and our Digital Champion volunteers can offer support at our drop ins but if anyone thinks they have been a victim of fraud it is really important to report it.”

The dates for Sefton are:

  • Wednesday 22nd August at the library in The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB. Drop in between 10am and 1pm.
  • Wednesday 5th September at Strand By Me shop, ground floor, Bootle Strand Shopping Centre, Bootle, L20 4SZ. Drop in between 11am and 2pm.


Some examples of the types of topics the officer can give advice on are: passwords, types of scams, online banking, online shopping, social media, keeping your child safe online and more. The safety sessions are open to anyone, whether I.T. savvy or not.

Include-IT Mersey’s digital drop ins run weekly and provide support to anyone who would like a bit of extra help on a computer, laptop, tablet or phone. Beginners, if eligible, can join one of the free courses offered by the project if they would like to expand their knowledge of computers.

For more information on this, or to find out where your nearest training venue is, please contact Sefton CVS on 0151 920 0726 (212) or for those online, email


An afternoon of music and dance

Sefton Older Persons Enabling Resource and Action (O.P.E.R.A) is promising an afternoon of music and dancing at their Rock & Roll Charity Afternoon in September.

Val Johnson, Wellbeing co-ordinator with Sefton OPERA, says: “It’s that time of year to get your blue suede shoes and your hair backcombed!! There will be the How’s That Band, John Franklyn, Richie Gayle and George Gallagher joining us to make a fantastic afternoon.”

In addition to the bands, there will be raffle prizes plus a bar serving tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages.

The afternoon is on Monday, 3 September at Bootle Cricket Club, Wadham Road, Bootle from 1pm to 5pm. Tickets cost £5 and are available by ringing 0151 330 0479.

Rock and Roll afternoon


Join the Memory Walk

Alzheimer’s Society Sefton is encouraging local residents to take part in a Memory Walk next month.

Linda Lawson, Information Officer with Alzheimer’s Society Sefton, says: “Dementia doesn’t care who you are; it could affect us all. It’s time to come together to walk towards a cure and improve care. We’d love you to unite against dementia with us by taking part in Memory Walk and raise vital funds for people affected by dementia. Get your friends and family to sign up too and walk together as a team.”

More than 5,000 people are expected to take part in Liverpool Memory Walk at Croxteth Park on Sunday, 9 September where they can choose from a 2km accessible route or a longer 10km route, raising sponsorship before the walk itself! If you’re interested, sign up here There is also the Liverpool night walk at Aintree Race Course on Saturday, 29 September  – sign up here.

Don’t fancy walking? Why not donate your time and help on the day as a volunteer? Organisers need help with marshalling, handing out medals or helping cheer people along! Register to volunteer hereAlzheimers logo

Alzheimer’s Society add: “If you want to gather colleagues, friends or family together and enjoy a day out why not organise your own Memory Walk, your way? Register for an organisers fundraising pack and pick a date that suits you in order to get the ball rolling. If you have any questions about organising your own, from a walking lunch or a challenging hill trek, then don’t hesitate to get in touch! Please visit the website for our FAQs, contact us on, or call 0300 330 5452.”

To contact Alzheimer’s Society Sefton ring 01704 539967.

Heatwave: how to cope in hot weather

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it’s too hot for too long there are health risks. Make sure the current heat wave doesn’t harm you or anyone you know.

The main risks posed by a heatwave are:

A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports

For more information see details on the NHS Choices website.

Keeping hydrated in the summer sun is important

Bootle residents sketch in the great outdoors

Whether you’re a novice or a veritable Vincent van Gogh, sketching outdoors is a fun, relaxing way to spend time with others.

The North End Sketch club in Liverpool’s Stanley Park is branching out from its artistic roots and going on tour, as organiser and artist Jayne Lawless teams up with the Human Library in Bootle to take participants to parks and green spaces across Bootle.

The North End Sketch Club takes place every Friday, 11am until August 10. Everyone and anyone is welcome, just turn up to Bootle Library on the day.

Find out more about the Human Library Facebook page.

Blog at

Up ↑