Health & Wellbeing


BHAWA Newsletter - August 2019

Welcome to August's edition of the Better Health at Work e-bulletin.

Healthwatch County Durham -August news update

Click for the Update

Dementia Friends newsletter.

Welcome to your July Dementia Friends newsletter.

There are loads of great opportunities for you to get involved in this month but first we've got a really heart-warming story from Dementia Friend Liz and her Mum - enjoy!

Healthwatch County Durham - July news update

Click for the Update

BIG 10 Stress

As part of the BIG 10 this week you need to try and spend 10 minutes away from your desk to de-stress.

You could do this by going for a short walk, chilling in the garden or even trying some mindfulness.

Some quick tips for mindfulness could be:

-       Stop, listen and breathe…. Taking a little time out to stop and focus on something different around you will help take your mind off work and help you unwind

-       See life through a different lenses….you could take 1 photo each day, taking time to see how things change around us; taking the focus off the stresses of the day

-       Think in the ‘now’ and be positive….we often spend time in the past or in the future. The truth is, we cannot change what has happened and we shouldn’t waste time worrying about what will happen in the future. Think about what is happening right this minute around you. Take time to appreciate the little things and put a positive twist into every situation. 

There are lots of quick and easy ways to wind down and de-stress, do what works for you!

I have attached some useful links for you to browse at your leisure

BHAWA Newsletter - June 2019

Welcome to June's edition of the Better Health at Work e-bulletin.
Throughout April and May we have been busy planning and delivering training sessions and arranging assessment dates for all of our businesses. Don't forget to confirm your pre-assessment and full assessment with the team!
 If you have any good news stories or events coming up that you would like us to share please get in touch. We are also available for support meetings and to answer any of your questions just send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will get back to you.

Healthwatch County Durham -June news update

Click here for the latest Healthwatch News

UK Report of UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty

I write to share the final report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, on his visit to the UK. The report, released today, finds that the UK Government has doubled down on anti-poor policies and that sustained cuts to social support violate the UK’s human rights obligations.

The report is attached and available here. The official issuance of the press release will occur at or around 12pm, at which point it will be available at this websitePhotos are available here.

Today at 2pm, the Special Rapporteur will take questions and discuss the report live on Facebook. You can RSVP for the event, which is hosted by Human Rights Watch, by clicking here.

The Special Rapporteur is scheduled to present his report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 27 (precise date subject to change), at which point the UK Government will formally respond. The session will be live-streamed, and for more information, you’re welcome to follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletter.

Futurelearn - Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People: Free Online Course

This course will help practitioners to recognise low mood and depression in teens, understand Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – an evidence-based treatment, discover practical techniques to help support young people and, access sources of further advice.

Mental Health Foundation - Mental Health Body image: How We Think and Feel About our Bodies

This report presents new data on the extent of body image concerns across the UK, how body image impacts mental health, plus practical steps we can take as a nation. Findings show; Among teenagers, 37% felt upset, and 31% felt ashamed in relation to their body image. Just over one third of adults said they had ever felt anxious (34%) or depressed (35%) because of their body image. 
Recommendations include:

  • The Online Harms White Paper should address harms relating to the promotion of unhelpful or idealised body image online, beyond content related to eating disorders. An improved practice on how social media platforms promote unhealthy imaging should be enforced by the new independent regulator.  
  • Industry responsibility to promote body kindness. Social media companies should sign the Be Real Campaign’s Body Image Pledge and investigate new ways of using their platforms to promote positive body image and to ensure that a diversity of body types is presented positively to their users.
  • Children and adults in distress should receive fast and empathetic support when they need it, regardless of where they live in the country.

Speedy referrals vital for wellbeing of those living with dementia in County Durham

New research from Healthwatch County Durham reveals that a speedy diagnosis, and being able to access specialist support quickly, makes a great difference to the wellbeing of people with dementia and their families.

A new report from the organisation, which speaks up for all those who use health and social care, also highlights how health professionals could improve how they signpost to the wealth of dementia support groups in the county.

The Healthwatch report - published to coincide with Dementia Action Week 2019 - is based on feedback from people with direct experience of local dementia services. Fifty surveys with people with dementia were completed online or face-to-face as part of the research and the majority of the respondents (80%) were happy with the support they received. However, around a quarter (24%) said they did not feel supported by their GP.

Nearly all the people with dementia who took part in the research had been referred by their GP to other services but for almost half (45%) these referrals took longer than four weeks, which they said made their dementia journey more difficult.

The experience of one carer - “Dave” - is highlighted in the report to demonstrate how local independent support groups and services are helping people with dementia to live well. However, “Dave”, like many others Healthwatch spoke to, discovered these on the recommendation of friends and family, because professionals had not signposted him to them.

Based on all the first-hand experiences received, the report concludes the speed of diagnosis and referrals can make a huge difference to the lives of people with dementia and those around them.

Neil Jarvis, strategic commissioning manager for adult and health services at Durham County Council, and chair of the Dementia Strategy Implementation Group, welcomed the Healthwatch report. He said: “We have made dementia one of our priorities so having good feedback on that is great for us.

“Clearly the main issue to come out of this for future work is the need for speedy referral into support services and the role of the NHS in that process. Though we have done quite a lot of work on that already we definitely need to make sure we keep the focus on it in future as a priority.

“As we move to integrated commissioning with the NHS it can only help with knitting services together and making sure the whole system works for people.” 

For more information on this story contact Marianne Patterson, project lead for Healthwatch County Durham, on 0191 378 1037.

For more general information about Healthwatch County Durham visit  

Diabetes patient newsletter - June-July 2019

Any increase in physical activity can have benefits and it’s a really important part of managing diabetes.  Benefits include - improves mental health, lower blood pressure, more energy, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, helps weight control, lowers blood glucose levels and strengthens bones. The less time you spend sitting down being sedentary the better, but always work within your personal limits.

Click for the Newsletter

Stress Awareness month!

Did you know that 85% of adults are experiencing stress regularly.

Below are some handy tips to help reduce stress if you are struggling.

Seven steps to help protect yourself from stress

  1. Eat healthily
  • Eating healthily can reduce the risks of diet-related diseases39
  • There is a growing amount of evidence showing how food affects our mood40 and how eating healthily can improve this
  • You can protect your feelings of wellbeing by ensuring that your diet provides adequate amounts of brain nutrients such as essential vitamins and minerals, as well as water41
  1. Be aware of smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Try not to, or reduce the amount you smoke and drink alcohol
  • Even though they may seem to reduce tension initially, this is misleading as they often make problems worse42
  1. Exercise
  • Try and integrate physical exercise into your lifestyle as it can be very effective in relieving stress
  • Even just going out and getting some fresh air, and taking some light physical exercise, like going for a walk to the shops can really help43

4.Take time out

  • Take time to relax
  • Strike the balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself, this can really reduce stress levels
  • Tell yourself that it is okay to prioritise self-care · Are you needing time out but saying 'I just can't take the time off', if so read more about how taking a break is important for good mental health
  1. Be mindful
  • Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to life that helps us to relate differently to experiences. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings in a way that increases our ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices
  • Try to practice mindfulness regularly
  • Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time
  • Research has suggested that it can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and related problems such as insomnia, poor concentration and low moods, in some people44
  • Our Be Mindfulwebsite features a specially developed online course in mindfulness, as well as details of local courses in your area
  1. Get some restful sleep
  • Are you finding you are struggling to sleep? This is a common problem when you’re stressed45
  • Could your physical or mental health be impacting your ability to sleep?
  • Could you amend your environment to help improve your sleep?
  • Could you get up instead of staying in bed when your mind is worrying at night?
  • Could you make small changes to your lifestyle to help your get a restful sleep?

For full details on tips on getting a good night’s sleep read our guide How to sleep better and ten top tips for good sleep

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
  • Try to keep things in perspective.
  • Remember that having a bad day is a universal human experience
  • When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said
  • If you stumble or feel you have failed, don’t beat yourself up
  • Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive
  • Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself

East Durham Cancer Support Group …

Please see attached flyer regarding a new cancer support group in Horden.

Health Partners Newsletter - May 2019

Please find attached the latest edition of the Health Partners Newsletter.

Healthwatch County Durham

May news update

Please find attached the latest edition of the Healthwatch County Durham Newsletter

ISHS Survey Monkey

The Integrated Sexual Health Service delivered by County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust, are seeking the views of young people aged under 25 years and adults over the age of 25 years to help shape their services.  The consultation is now live and will run through until 17th May 2019.  Could you all please share the links below through your networks

In addition to the above links, the surveys will be accessible through CDDFT website and paper copies will be available for those attending clinics. 

Share your thoughts for the NHS long term plan

NHS England has set out plans for the next 10 years – but now people in County Durham have the chance to influence what actually happens where they live.

Healthwatch County Durham is seeking views from across the county to contribute to a national project that will help determine the final shape of the NHS 10-year Plan.

Ideas are wanted for how the local NHS could better support communities in County Durham to stay well and how the support that is currently available could be improved. Feedback is also wanted on how services for people with specific priority conditions - including cancer, heart and lung diseases, and learning disabilities - could be made better and how people can be given more control of their care.

Your feedback can be submitted via two online surveys (links below) or you can request paper copies to complete by calling Healthwatch County Durham on 0800 304 7039 

Survey 1 – general needs:

Survey 2 - specific conditions:

The deadline for submissions is the end of April. This is your chance to influence the health services that will be available across the county in future, so don’t miss it!

For more general information about Healthwatch County Durham visit  


The County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service is helping to promote a cannabis related health campaign aimed at encouraging people across the county to review their cannabis consumption.

County Durham’s Respect THC campaign aims to help people who are concerned about the amount of cannabis they are smoking. The new Respect THC campaign uses posters and social media incorporating the #RespectTHC hashtag to help people understand the issues around using cannabis and shows easy ways people can get support from the County Durham service.

Clare Chambers, Director of Services, said: “More people who use cannabis are becoming aware of the potential problems associated with the drug. In general, cannabis sold on the street is getting stronger, with higher levels of THC; the cannabinoid compound in cannabis that effects the brain. Stronger cannabis can result in users experiencing a number of issues, including anxiety, depression and mental health issues.

“We hope that by providing more information on the negative effects of cannabis, anyone in County Durham who has a problem themselves or knows someone who does can speak to use about the advice and support we provide.”

The campaign will focus on issues that can affect cannabis users, using social media posts and posters distributed to relevant locations across the borough. Research has shown that regular users of high-potency cannabis carry the highest risk for psychotic disorders, compared to those who have never used cannabis.

If you live or work in County Durham and are affected by cannabis misuse, telephone 03000 266 666 or visit  to find out how we can help.

Healthwatch County Durham - April news update

Click here for the latest Healthwatch News

Silver Talk telephone Service

Do you struggle to get out and about?

Silver Talk is a FREE telephone befriending service which gives people over 60 the opportunity to connect for regular social telephone chats.

Our team of friendly, fully trained volunteers are on hand for an up to 30 minute social chat at the same time each week.

It’s really up to you what you talk about, your Silver Talk companion will provide you with both friendship and information about services and activities that could benefit you.

More Information 

Alcohol Free Childhood

In December 2017, Balance, – the North East Office for Alcohol with support from Public Health England, held a conference which highlighted broad support for a regional vision of an alcohol free childhood for every child growing up in the North East to help de-normalise alcohol in families and communities so they can have the best start in life. This is a vision that every child can grow up:

  • free from the impact of other peoples’ drinking
  • free from commercial, social and environmental pressure to drink
  • free from health and social harms caused by drinking alcohol themselves
  • supported and encouraged to make heathy positive lifestyle choices as they enter adulthood 

Local Directors of Public Health have supported the vision and a regional strategy, which includes media campaigns to effectively communicate the safest, most evidence based approach for families to engage parents around an Alcohol Free Childhood. 

In late 2018 Balance, launched a new campaign with an overarching aim of promoting an Alcohol Free Childhood. 

What’s the Harm Campaign

The initial campaign is a radio, social media and website campaign and aims to supply parents with valuable information about their children’s health and alcohol.  Many parents know drinking increases the risks of accidents, injuries, smoking and drug taking. But many are less aware of the damage alcohol can do to children’s developing brains, liver, bones and hormones, affecting their mood, their mental health and risking them falling behind at school.

Parents are encouraged to visit  to find out about the facts and the myths about children and alcohol, and how best to have a conversation about alcohol with their child.  The best advice is to talk to your children about alcohol before secondary school, don’t consider letting them drink before 15 and if you can, delay it until they’re 18 as that is definitely the best start in life. 

The campaign launched 19 Nov and featured:

  • Radio advertising targeting parents for three weeks on Metro FM, TFM, Capital FM. Two health harms adverts will communicate the risks around physical and mental health and the risk of children who drink becoming heavy drinkers. A third positive advert will raise awareness that most children do not drink regularly, aimed at empowering parents not to provide alcohol.
  • A campaign website at where parents can get evidence-based, need-to-know information. This will explore the myths, provide advice for parents on talking to their children, and include real stories and videos. For launch Balance will have short videos with a national children’s charity, a GP, and with parents. They are hoping to follow these up with films with schools and police.
  • A downloadable A4 fact sheet on the website aimed at families – this is for partners such as schools and community associations to print out
  • A digital campaign on Facebook and digital display adverts on high traffic websites
  • Printed posters and A5 flyers for partners
  • Electronic screens artwork for waiting areas, email banners
  • Social media infographics
  • A dedicated Knowledge Hub group (–) – an online platform giving our partners access to a wide range of resources around the campaign and the alcohol free childhood agenda more widely, as well as a discussion forum where you can share and generate ideas and stay in touch.

How can you help?

Please promote the Alcohol Free Childhood campaign through your own communication channels. Encourage parents to visit to find out about the facts and the myths about children and alcohol, and how best to have a conversation about alcohol with their child or children.

The Alcohol Free Childhood campaign will continue to develop into 2019.

Thank you as always

Sean Barry

Public Health Practitioner

Healthwatch County Durham - March news update

Please follow This Link for the latest from Healthwatch Co Durham

Dementia Friendly Communities

We would like to announce that we now have recognised as Dementia Friendly Communities, Lanchester, Pelton, Brandon/Meadowfield/Langley Moor and Medomsley - More Information will follow

Thank you.

Rebecca Haynes

Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator

Office: 0191 3890400

Direct Line: 0191 3893179

Mobile: 07708510082

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talking Changes IAPT

Are you 65 or over? Feeling anxious, stressed or depressed? If so, Talking Changes can help

Who are Talking Changes?

Talking Changes is a short term NHS self-help and talking therapies service designed to support adults living in County Durham and Darlington to deal with common mental health problems.

Mental Health in Older Adults

People living longer is a cause for celebration but older people can be more vulnerable to mental health problems due to factors such as retirement, physical health problems, bereavement and loneliness.

What is Depression?

Depression is more common than many people realise - it affects 1 in 5 people and is more common in later life. However, it is estimated that 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS.

Being depressed can show itself in different ways and each person’s experience will be different. Symptoms include:

  • lack of interest and unable to enjoy things you normally enjoy
  • being reluctant to engage in usual activities or leave your house
  • feeling tired or sleeping too much/ too little
  • loss of appetite or eating more than usual
  • losing or gaining weight over a relatively short time
  • losing confidence in yourself and feeling life is pointless
  • being self-critical and feeling guilty
  • having suicidal thoughts.

Older people with depression usually experience more physical symptoms – such as tiredness, weight loss, and problems sleeping. If you’ve experienced some of these symptoms on most days for 2-4 weeks please consider referring into Talking Changes.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling a worry or fear that everyone experiences from time to time. Anxiety affects older people as much as it affects younger people: 1 in 4 adults have had anxiety.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • feeling restless or ‘on edge’
  • irritability
  • racing heartbeat
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • sweating.

These symptoms are completely normal but can affect your daily life. If you find yourself worrying all or most of the time, and you’re experiencing physical symptoms such as a fast heartbeat, shaking or sweating please consider referring into Talking Changes.

Can Talking Changes Help Me?

Yes. Our data shows that ‘Older Adults’ benefit greatly from the range of talking therapies that we offer. In fact, around 72% of adults aged 65+ ‘recover’ as a result of completing treatment with our service, with many more experiencing a significant improvement in their symptoms.

How can I refer into Talking Changes?

You can self-refer into the service by calling 0191 333 3300 or via our website When you call into the service, the admin team will book you into a 30-40 minute telephone assessment call. Following on from this, if we feel that we are suitable for you as a service, a treatment recommendation will be made for you.

Healthwatch County Durham - February news update

News update - February 2019

Access to GP Appointments

Healthwatch County Durham has been asked by the two Clinical Commissioning Groups in County Durham to gather feedback on the impact Care Navigation has had on the patient’s experience in Primary Care ie GP services.  Care Navigation is the system where trained, non-clinical staff, talk to patients when they book an appointment, providing information about the professionals or services that may be suitable for a patient’s needs.  Our role is to carry out an independent, confidential evaluation of Care Navigation. 

The survey closes at the end of February and all responses are anonymous.  Our aim is to find out what is working well and what could be done better.

If you’d like to get your voice heard follow this link –

Support service tackling loneliness

Are you currently feeling a little lonely or isolated? Many of us will experience feelings like these at some point in our lives usually due to reasons which could include coping with the loss of a loved one, struggling with health problems, going through a divorce or adjusting to life as a new parent.   

The British Red Cross Connecting Communities Service offers support for people aged 18+ living in North Durham. Together with one of our friendly volunteers you can rediscover your interests, rebuild your independence and confidence - and be supported to gradually make new and lasting friendships.   Our support is tailored around you, enabling you to achieve the things you want to achieve and can last for up to 3 months.   

Referrals are accepted from health professionals, family members and the person themselves. If you feel you, or someone you know, could benefit from our support or if you would like to join our team of volunteers call:  07808 243720 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Macmillan Joining the Dots

Joining the Dots is a new service which supports people with a diagnosis of cancer, their friends families and carers, with the practical, non-clinical issues that may arise throughout the cancer journey. We work closely with professionals and community organisations to help the client access the right support at the right time around areas such as housing, finance, social isolation, transport

Macmillan Joining the Dots County Durham is a free, personal service for people aged 18 and over who have been diagnosed with cancer. Providing support for friends, carers and relatives of any age, the team can speak with you about your needs at a time and a place that’s best for you. The friendly team can support you with any issues that may be affected during the diagnosis.

Freephone: 0800 8766887 Mobile: 07342710882

Pioneering Care Partnership Cancer Awareness Team

Andrea and Elliott are the Cancer Awareness team… do you have any events coming up so they can promote the work that they are doing.. If so please get in touch .. they want to be out there in the community and they are doing a great job…so please contact them to come along.. We are the community cancer awareness team based in county Durham, we are looking for opportunities to work within the county to raise awareness of cancer. The cancer awareness programme supports healthcare professionals and organisations to improve prevention and early diagnosis. We offer free tailored, practical support to help you change the way you manage cancer. The team are eager to make people aware of signs and symptoms as well as pushing and promoting all kinds of checks, screening and checking saves lives.

The Community Cancer Awareness Team is ran by Andrea and Elliott who are based in County Durham. The team supports healthcare professionals and organisations to improve prevention and early diagnosis. Offering free tailored, practical support to those affected by cancer including friends and family, to help people change the way they manage cancer.

They are able to work as a long term partner to organisations, providing face to face support tailored to the needs of your organisation and local area.

Work Mobile: 07912 293196

Office: 01325 321234

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Healthwatch County Durham and Healthwatch Darlington host information events for vascular services

Healthwatch County Durham and Healthwatch Darlington are hosting a number of information and listening events about vascular services in County Durham. We have been asked by NHS England to facilitate these events to capture the views of patients and the public about improving the experience of services.

You will be able to hear from and share your views directly with NHS staff, including vascular consultants. More information about the changes and the benefits to patients will be given at the events being held across County Durham and Darlington on the following dates:

  • Thursday 17th January 2019, 5-7pm at Spennymoor
  • Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 5-7pm at Stanhope
  • Monday 28th January 2019, 5-7pm at Durham
  • Wednesday 30th January 2019, 5-7pm at Darlington
  • Wednesday 13th February 2019, 5-7pm at Consett
  • Wednesday 27th February 2019, 5-7pm at Barnard Castle

The events, while directly impacting patients who may need to access vascular services (for treatments, procedures and surgeries), are also available for any member of the public who would like to attend. Decisions on changes to services may also impact on family, carers and friends of a patient.

To register your interest in attending one of the above events or for more information, please contact Healthwatch County Durham by calling 0800 304 7039 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Healthwatch County Durham - January news update

You might remember from last month's newsletter that we were offering any new joiners to our mailing list the chance to win a luxury hamper in time for Christmas. The response was extremely positive and we are pleased to announce that lucky Dee Lyle, from Ferryhill, was our randomly selected winner. Faye Smith, our outreach officer, visted Dee with one of Santa's elves to present her with the jam-packed hamper made by Knitsley Farm Shop in Consett in time for Christmas. Mum-of-two Dee said: “…the girls are going to really enjoy the goodies in the hamper – it feels like Christmas has come early for us!" Thanks to all of you who signed up like Dee - and welcome to our monthly newsletter!

Dry January Social Media Promotion

Dear colleagues,

Durham County Council has teamed up with Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, to encourage residents to see in 2018 with a resolution to ditch the drink for 31 days.

The Dry January campaign launches Thursday 13 December, with the public now able to sign up to commit to a booze-free month at

Polls suggest around 4m people in the UK take part in having a Dry January each year - with nearly one in 10 people in the North East taking part last year.

An alcohol-free month has a positive impact on blood sugar levels, blood pressure and the liver. And around 60% of people who complete Dry January say they are drinking less six months later and enjoying healthier, happier lifestyles.

Please find attached social media post templates and corresponding images to share on your Facebook pages with the public. @DryJanuary should be linked to the Dry January Facebook page<> and @balance.northeast should link to Balance North East's Facebook page<> respectively.

The North East has led the way in terms of Dry January sign ups, with the highest proportion of people taking up the challenge, compared to any other region in the country. Let's continue this trend in 2019!

Healthwatch County Durham - December news update

We were absolutely thrilled when two of our recent projects to improve health and social care in County Durham were recognised at the Healthwatch England Awards. Our project to make it easier for people to find quality information about care homes won the "#ItStartsWithYou" award at the event in October. Our work with vulnerable women on the accessibility of health screening was also highly commended in the "Helping people have their say" category. The #ItStartsWithYou award recognises an individual or group that has worked passionately to improve care in their community and it was our volunteer Tony Bentley who caught the judges' eyes. It was Tony's own experience of looking for a care home for his mother that originally inspired the project and he has spearheaded much of the work involved.

More Information


Cancer Awareness Team … Can you help –

Andrea and Elliott are the Cancer Awareness team… do you have any events coming up so they can promote the work that they are doing.. If so please get in touch .. they want to be out there in the community and they are doing a great job…so please contact them to come along.. We are the community cancer awareness team based in county Durham, we are looking for opportunities to work within the county to raise awareness of cancer. The cancer awareness programme supports healthcare professionals and organisations to improve prevention and early diagnosis. We offer free tailored, practical support to help you change the way you manage cancer.

We help the health system to ;
*Support cancer prevention and promote healthy lifestyles
*Increase informed up take of screening programmes
*Improve recognition and referral of symptomatic cancers

We can work as a long term partner to your organisation, providing face to face support tailored to the needs of your organisation and local area. *Introducing a variety of early diagnosis tools and resources *Providing training on key topics such as screening programmes as referral programmes. *Fun friendly workshops *Information stands at relevant events. Hope to hear from you soon. Screening saves lives

Regards Andrea.
Andrea Mackrell Cancer Awareness Worker Mobile: 07912 293196 Office: 01325 321234 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PCP’s Together 21 Group Finalist for Regional Award

Leading health and wellbeing charity Pioneering Care Partnership are delighted to announce that Together 21 have been nominated as a finalist in the ‘Groups Making a Difference’ category at this year’s North East Equality Awards. Carol Gaskarth said: “This prestigious award, recognises the achievements of local organisations, individuals and groups in embedding inclusivity through good equality and diversity practices.”

This annual event organised by Equality North East celebrates those who’ve pioneered in leading the way to a fairer future for all. Together with those who continue to strive for, and achieve, fairness in an increasingly competitive economy. Those who demonstrate that diversity and inclusion make sound business sense and make a real difference to the lives of people from all walks of life. In April 2016 PCP began working with a group of parents and carers of children with Down syndrome and established a project entitled ’Together 21’. Together 21, which is parent led, aims to help children and young people with Down syndrome and their parents acquire essential skills that will equip them to meet the future with confidence and maximize their potential.

Together 21 allows parents to get to know each other, providing a friendship and peer support network for families at a time when they can feel excluded from their existing friendship groups. The prospect of raising a child with Down syndrome can be daunting, scary and lonely, however Together 21 helps parent to see how the older children have developed and, whilst recognising that children are unique, this provides a positive experience for parents and carers who can be coming to terms with the diagnosis during the first few weeks. Recognising what children can do, practicing techniques to aid development and having good role models is important and Together 21 embraces this. The group works tirelessly to raise awareness and promote positive perceptions about Down syndrome within mainstream schools, local communities and the workplace. A group member said: “This is an excellent provision for our daughter. She loves to come each week and it supports her in her life skills. With pressures of schools to provide an academic service this provision has been vital to support her everyday life, without this it would leave a big hole in her progress.”

Carol Gaskarth said: “I hope PCP’s application has done them justice. Parents and carers should rightly be very proud of the achievements of their children and also themselves. Without the tenacity of the initial parents who contributed in the early planning stages, Together 21 would not exist and be thriving. No matter what the outcome we want you to know that PCP is incredibly proud of all you and the children achieve and it’s a privilege to be able to support Together 21. Fingers crossed!”

The finalist will be announced at an awards ceremony which will be held on 25th October 2018. For further information about PCP or Together 21 please contact us at the Pioneering Care Centre, Carer’s Way, Newton Aycliffe,DL5 4SF tel: 01325 321234 email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. website: or follow us on Twitter: @PioneeringCare and Facebook: @PCPandCentre

Healthwatch County Durham - October news update

We're excited to announce our project to improve care home websites has taken a big leap forward in recent days. Volunteer Tony Bentley (far left) has been working closely with Kaydar, a local care home, to develop a new website that provides all the information prospective residents and their relatives might need. Our research has identified that many County Durham care homes don't have all this information displayed online at present (e.g. about fees, services, and visiting protocols) and our hope is the Kaydar website will act as a template other care homes can follow to improve their own.

More Information

‘County Durham’s local stop smoking service to give away nicotine patches ahead of Stoptober 2018’

The Stoptober campaign encourages smokers to give up for the month, based on evidence which shows that quitting for 28 days means you are five times more likely to stop for good. Smokefreelife County Durham are set to give away 1 week’s supply of free nicotine replacement therapy patches in various locations across the county to help assist those wanting to quit this Stoptober.

Stop smoking advisors will be at Consett Market, ASDA Stanley and Durham Marketplace between 10AM and 2PM on 28th September 2018. After filling out a short assessment with an advisor, potential quitters will receive a free goody bag containing one week’s worth of patches. They will then be referred to their nearest community clinic to receive ongoing support and further treatment. The events also offer the opportunity to test your carbon monoxide levels, which is one of the many toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Research shows that receiving support from a trained advisor and using licensed nicotine products makes you four times more likely to quit successfully than going it alone.

Smokefreelife County Durham offers free support to anyone living or working in County Durham. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and kills 5,584 people in the North East every year according to Fresh, the UK's first dedicated regional tobacco control programme. The benefits of quitting include smokers giving themselves a pay rise of between £1,700 - £2,400 a year as well as cutting the risk of stroke, cancers, COPD and heart disease. This year smoking prevalence hit a record low in the North East, falling from 29% of the population being smokers in 2005 to 16.2% in 2017. Between 2016-17 Smokefreelife County Durham helped 2840 people stop smoking. If you would like to give up your smoking habit for good, why not use this Stoptober as your opportunity?

For more information on the service visit or search Stoptober.

County Durham and Darlington Diabetes Service 

Key Messages for August 2018 - Click Here for the latest Bulletin

Healthwatch County Durham - September news update 

News update - September 2018


The FREE stop smoking service supporting Co Durham residents to give up the habit and lead a healthier smokefree life

Smokefreelife County Durham is a service by Solutions 4 Health offering stop smoking support that works! We know that people have busy lives and that booking an appointment for things such as stopping smoking sometimes isn't easy. That's why, as well as appointments in the community near you, we offer a mobile clinic at various venues where you can drop in and see one of our approachable, fully trained advisors.

Please call 0191 369 2016 or 0800 772 0565 for more information.

Please also visit the website for further information, and details of stop smoking service clinics within the local area:

The latest news from your local Healthwatch team.

News update - August 2018

MHNE Latest Bulletin 

Mental Health North East’s latest bulletin is attached for your attention.

Please note that due to high demand and the success of the Greening the Gap sessions MHNE has now opened a waiting list for organisations and individuals wishing to attend further sessions. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like your name to be entered on the list.

Best wishes Lyn Lyn Boyd CEO Mental Health North East

County Durham HWB Annual Report 

The attached County Durham Health and Wellbeing Report was agreed by the Board at its meeting on 4th July 2018. Please could you share the Annual Report within your organisations, social media, websites etc. to promote it. Let me know if you need any further information.

Many thanks, Jayne Jayne Watson Senior Partnership Officer, TAP Durham County Council Room 5-140/150, Co. Hall 03000 268 371 Switchboard 03000 26 0000

County Durham and Darlington Diabetes Service - Key Messages for July 2018 

There is a diabetes service patients could gain information/ services. We have now expanded and are creating a patient bulletin for diabetes and I was wondering if this is something that could be set via Durham Voice?

I have attached a copy of the most recent bulletin

Heathwatch Annual Report 2017/18 

Our 2017 – 18 annual report is now available on our website It’s been a really exciting year and I hope you enjoy reading the highlights, in particular where the voice of patients and service users has been heard and made a difference.

Since publication I am pleased to be able to share that both our work on care home websites and access by vulnerable women to screening services have been shortlisted for national Healthwatch England Awards.

Healthwatch #ItStartsWithYou campaign launches in County Durham 

What health or social care change do YOU want to spark?

Healthwatch County Durham is launching a campaign to encourage people across the region to help make health and social care better by sharing their experiences of services. The #ItStartsWithYou campaign encourages people to have their say and help spark improvements and changes to services that will benefit their communities in the future. Now in its second year, every Healthwatch organisation across the country is involved, generating a massive energy for change.

Tony Bentley is one of those who shared their experiences with the Healthwatch County Durham team last year and, as a result, people across the area are now benefiting from clearer information about local care homes online. Tony had struggled to find the information he needed when searching for a care home for his mother. Several websites exist that list services, including providers own sites, but details of CQC ratings, fees, and even of what services homes provided were not always accessible. Tony’s experience sparked more research. Now, thanks to Tony and other research volunteers, all care homes with a contract with the county council have to provide key information on the Durham County Council “Locate” website. The public now have more information about the homes available, which helps them make more informed decisions. Tony also helped to develop a best practice website for providers, so they can learn how to improve their own websites. Following this success, Tony has been nominated for a national Healthwatch award – and it all snowballed from sharing his personal experience. You could make a difference too.

Share your experiences with Healthwatch County Durham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or by calling 0800 304 7039. Remember – it starts with you! #ItStartsWithYou

Healthwatch County Durham - July news update 

Please find attached the latest Healthwatch news for July 2018

County Durham Dementia Support Team, Newsletter No. 10, June 2018 

Please see attached the latest newsletter from the County Durham Dementia Support Team. I hope that you find it useful and informative.

Healthwatch County Durham welcomes support for new mums 

Healthwatch County Durham is pleased to hear the Royal College of Midwives commit to supporting women however they choose to feed their babies – something new mothers in County Durham have said they want from local services. Healthwatch County Durham spoke to more than 200 mothers from across the region last year for a report into maternity services. Many of those who had chosen to formula feed reported feeling unsupported or being made to feel guilty, or like they had failed, for not breastfeeding. Mothers said health professionals should be more open to all kinds of feeding, be it breastfeeding, formula or combination feeding. From the research, Healthwatch County Durham recommended to commissioners of County Durham healthcare services that: • information given to expectant mums on breastfeeding should be realistic - women should be made aware of the problems that may be experienced, and where to go for help, as well as the benefits. • midwives and health professionals should be more supportive of formula feeding, acknowledging that, for some mothers, stopping breastfeeding is not necessarily a decision that has been taken easily. Healthwatch County Durham’s research also looked at women’s choices around smoking in pregnancy and smoking cessation support for this group.

Read the full report at

For more information contact Emily Hunter, Healthwatch County Durham on 0800 304 7039 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For more general information contact 0191 3781037 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Health body and Mind 

I am sure that employee and wellbeing is at the forefront of your thoughts and by caring for your work force it will also create a environment that cultivates economic success I feel that the treatments and therapies we provide could enable you to have a workforce that is mind and body well Could I please like to take this opportunity to introduce our centre which is based in Sacriston, near to the centre of Durham Here at the NIHP we offer fantastic ,professional, knowledgeable practitioners In a friendly, caring environment where we currently provide services including Bowen therapy, counselling , psychotherapy, mindfullness ,fitness and nutrition, acupuncture, flower remedies, sports/deep tissue and remedial massage, chiropractor ,osteopathy, chiropody and clinical beauty techniques we are proud to host Auton health and Beauty within centre and Sunderland eye clinic based in the practise . NIHP also provides high quality Consultation, therapy and treatment rooms, available for hire to health care advisers, therapists and practitioners, to enable them to provide all aspects of health, well-being and supportive therapies.

If you are interested in our centre and the services we offer then you are more than welcome to drop-in for a quick chat and look around, just send me a quick email or give me a call on 0191 398 0000. You can also find more information on our website or Facebook page I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards Cath Wilson Practice Manager

Macmillan Joining the Dots ebulletin May 2018 

Please see attached our May Joining the Dots ebulletin. Please feel free to cascade out.