News from Cumbria Action for Health

The latest news from Jozi Brown, Senior Engagement Officer at Cumbria CVS

The Safer Future Communities Network
(For third sector organisations interested in Community Safety)
Wednesday 4 February 2015
Eamont Room at Newton Rigg College, Penrith CA11 0AH)
1.30 to 3.30pm.
Paul Bradley (Criminal Justice Business Manager for Safer Cumbria) will be coming along to talk to us about the new structure for Safer Cumbria. This will include an overview of third sector engagement and opportunities within the structure. This will also give us the chance to revisit the work currently happening within the delivery /thematic groups (Alcohol Strategy, Community Safety Partnerships, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Criminal Case Management, Reducing Reoffending, Victims and Witnesses, Tackling Hate Crime).

Also on the agenda – Report from the Tackling Hate Crime workshops (Aftab Khan from AWAZ), Restorative Justice (Geraldine Martin from Cumbria & Lancashire & Merseyside Probation and Prisons) and The Rural Crime Strategy (Lorrainne Smyth from ACTion with Communities).
If you’d like to attend please let me know via email

Mental Capacity Act: Level 1 Training
Wednesday 11 February 2015
Penrith Rugby Club from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Volunteer Training in Dementia Awareness
Tuesday 3 February 2015
Botcherby Community Centre, Carlisle
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Trainer: Alzheimer’s Society.
FREE for all volunteers but a cancellation policy applies.


Monthly blog: January 2015, The way forward in Cumbria
John Howarth’s latest video blog for Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative (CLIC) is online at:
You can also stay up to date with CLIC (and find out more about it) on their website (includes signing up to their bulletins)

Kick Start 2015 by improving your health – Wellbeing Fair at Whitehaven Library
Tuesday 27 January 2015
Whitehaven Library, Lowther Street, Whitehaven
11am and 3pm
Health Education North West – Voluntary Sector Training and Development Opportunities
VSNW and Health Education England NW (HENW) are holding a series of meetings to explore ways in which HENW and the third sector can work together to provide new opportunities for the sector involved in health and care to develop and up-skill new and existing staff. There is funding potentially available to support apprenticeships as a development pathway to up-skill your existing staff without a recognised level 2 or 3 job relevant qualification, or in the recruitment of new staff. Funding subsidies are also available for all ages, with additional incentives for 16-23yr olds. Details of the full programme can be downloaded from

You are invited to join us on one of these dates from 10 am to 12.30 pm followed by lunch:
• Wednesday, 4th February at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester
• Tuesday 17th February at the Gateway, Warrington
• Monday 23rd February at the Gujarat Hindu Society, Preston

VSNW feels this is a good opportunity for your organisations to gain an understanding of the opportunities that may be available for both new and existing staff to develop their skills. The meeting will also look at the potential for organisations to work together to take advantage of these opportunities. We are targeting these sessions at organisations we feel will benefit from engaging with Health Education England and hope that you are able to attend.

Could you please email Helen Walker: by Monday 26 January 2015 and let her know which date you would like to attend on.

Living Well after Cancer Treatment
The second of a series of ‘Living Well after Cancer Treatment’ took place on Tuesday 20 January in Carlisle. The events which are being delivered in all corners of the county are a partnership of staff from three major healthcare providers to support people post-cancer treatment across Cumbria. The first event was in Kendal just before Christmas and the feedback from the group was all positive.

Lucy Eastlake, Macmillan Assistant Psychologist for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our first event was really well received by the people who attended but we would have liked to have seen more people there. All agencies feel that these events are important because patients tell us that finding a ‘new normal’ and getting their life ‘back on track’ after cancer treatment has ended can be difficult. These events can help make that happen.”

The events are being hosted by the Physical Health & Rehabilitation Psychology service of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust alongside Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists from North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. The events are also supported by Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Laura Douglas, clinical nurse specialist for head and neck at North Cumbria University Hospital’s Trust said: “Patients can often find the transition from an intense period of treatment which includes regular contact with healthcare professionals to post-treatment, where there is typically more limited contact with healthcare services, difficult. These events aim to bridge the gap between treatment finishing and getting ‘back to normal’ after cancer.”

Elaine Jones, clinical nurse specialist in upper GI for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“For many patients the end of cancer treatment is the beginning of new challenges and re-adjustments. It can feel overwhelming. As a clinical nurse specialist, I am delighted to have an opportunity to take part in these events which aim to tailor help and advice at this time. We really do welcome input from our patients to help us make these events easy to access and welcoming. The aim is to empower people with the skills they need to adapt and move forward”.

Each event will start with time for patients, alongside their family and friends, to think about what individual challenges they may be facing, both physically and emotionally, after cancer treatment. The rest of the morning will include presentations by the team around the topics patients are most concerned about. The afternoon will include helping patients and their families and friends think about how they can work towards their goals.

Guests will also have the chance to talk to fellow patients and other family members and friends who are supporting a loved one post-cancer treatment. There will also be information available from voluntary organisations including Macmillan Cancer Support, Age UK, University of the Third Age and the CAB [Citizen’s Advice Bureau] who can all offer advice to people on how to live well after cancer. The events will benefit patients who are 2-4 months post-cancer treatment, as well as their family and friends. Future events include Monday 16 February at Barrow fire station and February/March 2015 – West Cumbria, details to be confirmed.

Ticking ‘obesity time-bomb’ is driving up healthcare costs, warn councils
A ticking obesity time-bomb is set to drive up costs for health services by billions of pounds unless money is invested in grassroots preventative schemes like leisure centres, exercise classes and free swimming, councils warn.

In a key report published today (Saturday), called ‘Tackling the causes and effects of obesity’, the Local Government Association (LGA) says health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the country £5 billion per year, with numbers of people with obesity predicted to more than double in the next 40 years. But it is warning that councils do not have enough money in their public health budgets to properly tackle obesity once mandatory services such as sexual health (25 per cent of the budget) and drug and alcohol services (30 per cent) have been paid for. The LGA, which speaks on behalf of councils in England and Wales, says that with more than 3.5 million children now classed as overweight and obese, it is vital the next government makes it a priority to use existing money better to tackle this ‘ticking time-bomb’.

Councils are calling for a fifth of existing VAT raised on sweets, crisps, takeaway food and sugary drinks to go to boost council-run grassroots initiatives with a proven track record, such as leisure activities and health awareness campaigns. This would create a £1 billion fund to help transform the lives of the millions of overweight or obese children in this country which would more than pay for itself by reducing the huge cost to the public purse of obesity. The NHS currently spends £1million an hour on diabetes – 10 per cent of its annual budget.
Local government leaders argue investing in prevention is the way to tackling obesity. Research shows that for every £1 spent on some physical activity or subsidised leisure programmes, almost £23 can be saved in terms of health problems associated with obesity further down the line.

Councils are already taking action locally to tackle obesity, but would be able to significantly ramp up these efforts, benefiting millions more, under the LGA plans. Local authorities are currently commissioning weight management services, exercise referral schemes and extending the offer of free or reduced-cost sport – for example swimming – and leisure facilities. Extra money would go towards giving these services greater reach and impact.

The report forms part of the LGA’s campaign ‘Investing in our nation’s future’, which sets out what the next government needs to do in its first 100 days after May’s general election by radically devolving power to local areas. The campaign outlines a range of policies which, if implemented, will save the public purse £11 billion, tackle the country’s housing crisis, ensure every child has a place at a good school, reduce long-term unemployment, address the pothole backlog and improve the nation’s health.

To read more go to:
Web link to the report:

Community Healthy Weight Pilot Grants available here in Cumbria
And don’t forget if you’ve got a project idea to tackle obesity issues in your area – Cumbria County Councils Public Health Team have Community Healthy Weight Pilot Grants available. For more information go to:

Housing and health sectors sign landmark agreement (National)
The Memorandum of Understanding to support joint action on improving health through the home is understood to be the first pact of its kind. The document sets out a ‘shared commitment to joint action across government, health, social care and housing’ and will ‘promote the housing sector’s contribution to health’. The agreement has been signed by 20 organisations including various NHS bodies, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), the Homes and Communities Agency, Homeless Link, The National Housing Federation and the Department for Communities and Local Government. It includes a 14-point action plan with a timetable for achieving goals, a commitment to quarterly meetings between all parties and an annual progress review.

The agreement has five main aims:
• Establish and support national and local dialogue, information exchange and decision-making across government, health, social care and housing
• Co-ordinate health, social care and housing policy
• Enable improved collaboration and integration of healthcare and housing in delivery of homes
• Promote the housing sector contribution to addressing the wider determinants of health
• Develop the workforce across sectors so staff are confident and skilled in understanding the relationship between where people live and their health and wellbeing

The memorandum of understanding is attached. It includes a useful overview of the connections between housing and health.

Big Society has failed concludes three-year study
The Big Society project to hand power back to the people has largely failed against its own measures, leaving the country more divided, with less influence over decisions and receiving less accountable services, according to a landmark study published today.

Whose Society? The Final Big Society Audit, the culmination of a three-year investigation into a key initiative of the Coalition Government, finds that the Big Society – using its own criteria of empowering communities, opening up public services and stimulating social action – has not, despite some positive initiatives, delivered the radical change that David Cameron promised. The study by the independent think tank Civil Exchange sounds a warning for the next government, saying that it must be genuinely inclusive, target those most in need and harness the energy of the voluntary and private sectors if the Big Society mistakes are not to be repeated.

The report’s author, Caroline Slocock, director of Civil Exchange, said “Despite investment in the Big Society, it has largely failed. Our findings show that society is more divided than before, we feel less able to influence what happens in our communities and public services are, in some ways, less accountable and responsive to diverse needs. Many people may ask what happened to the Big Society? It was a key commitment of this government and they are entitled to know whether it worked, even though the Government hardly mentions it now. The real question, however, is what happens next? Whatever name it goes under, the next government will continue to look for ways to give power back to people, to make services more responsive and to encourage local action. To do this successfully requires much better collaboration with local and voluntary groups, giving people a genuine stake in local decision making, reviewing the way we contract companies to deliver public services and making sure major businesses give back more to society.”

Whose Society? makes key recommendations for the next government including a shift in government and public sector culture to make it work far more collaboratively with civil society, a civil society led Commission on using existing resources to create a fairer society, and a major review of public sector contracting, ensuring services work in the interests of those they mean to serve, particularly those whose needs are greatest. Using detailed analysis and data from a wide range of government and other authoritative sources, Whose Society? finds that, despite significant investment in Big Society schemes, including for volunteering and local decision making:

• Only 34% of people now feel they can influence decision in their local area – a significant decrease against every year since 2001.
• Civic participation (from 41% to 30%) has dropped sharply since 2013, with civic consultation and activism also down.
• Despite over 2000 uses of Community Rights since the introduction of the Localism Act (2011), local authorities have seen their powers to respond to local need, such as in education, severely constrained.
• The proportion of people who feel they belong to their neighbourhood has dropped from 78% to 70% since 2013, the lowest level since 2005.
• Though 88% of charities have seen a rise in demand for their services, only 32% now feel they can meet this need and there is no convincing Government strategy for filling the funding gap left by public sector cuts, particularly for those serving communities with the greatest needs.
• Far from opening up public services, private sector “quasi monopolies”, which are largely unaccountable, and the largest of which have experienced serious service failures, now dominate contracts to deliver public services.

Web link to article
Web link to the full report
The Mentally Healthy Society – The report of the Taskforce on Mental Health in Society
The independent Taskforce on Mental Health in Society, chaired by Sir Stephen O’Brien CBE, was established by Ed Miliband to look at how we can improve the mental health and wellbeing of our nation. Labour has published the final report of the independent taskforce, which sets out some of the key next steps we need to take to become a mentally healthy society – on prevention, early intervention and better opportunities and support for those living with mental health problems. The report includes some interesting recommendations that address how we can do better at promoting good mental health, preventing ill health and supporting those living with mental health problems.

The report is attached. If you want to share the report, here’s the web link