Mosaic - Uniting, Empowering and Celebrating Caring Communities

News Spring 2013 edition

Welcome to the Spring Edition of The Mosaic Community Trust NEWS. This quarter we have continued to work with local residents in North Westminster, London; uniting, empowering and celebrating local communities.

Our project work with the Community Health Champions has made a real impact on the mental and physical health of local residents; we have further developed our Men’s Health and Wellbeing course, building on the success of our first course, and complimented our work by introducing new and regular local events.

Read on and learn more about The Mosaic Community Trust’s most recent activities and successes…


Community Health Champions

The Church Street Community Health Champions are determined to improve the health and wellbeing of their community. The Champions have dedicated their time voluntarily to improving the health and wellbeing of the Church Street Bangladeshi community through health promotional outreach work. They are developing their own skills, carrying out local research and supporting residents to access the wide range of community health services available to them.

Public Health Training: The Church Street Community Health Champions celebrated the completion of their public health training at a graduation ceremony held at Westminster Council House in March.

With the support of The Mosaic Community Trust, 10 Community Health Champions successfully completed the Understanding Health Improvement qualification (level 2) and were presented with their certificates by Cllr Sheila D’Souza, Deputy Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, Westminster.

Some participants in the Public Health training Representatives from the Public Health Team, local charities and NHS and public sector organisations as well as proud friends and family of the champions heard about the achievements of the programme and individual champions.

When told: “…you must be proud of yourselves,” by Cllr Sheila D’Souza, Roma Akter, one of the Community Health Champions, replied: “…we are not proud yet. We will be proud when we see all the people in our community healthy!”

Baseline Study: After receiving the necessary training from The Mosaic Community Trust, the Community Health Champions played a key role in gathering the data to support the publication of a baseline health survey into the health and wellbeing of the local population. The report, entitled ‘A baseline health and wellbeing study of the Bangladeshi community in Church Street’ was launched at the ceremony and gives a good insight into the health of residents. The report will support the future work of the team. See the info box below for the key findings from the report:

Key Report Findings:

  • Some residents are struggling with their lifestyle and think this is affecting their health and wellbeing.
  • Local people eat well. Over half of respondents eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – this is better than the national average.
  • Residents need to do more physical activity. Over half of respondents said they do not do any form of planned activity.
  • One quarter of respondents agree that “everything was an effort” for all or most of the time; 15% felt “restless or anxious” and 12% felt “so sad – nothing could cheer them up all or most of the time.”
  • Not many people eat takeaways – just 4% have a takeaway more than once a week or eat out more than once a month.
  • More people need to know about their local wellbeing services.

Diabetes Mentors: The Mosaic Community Trust has further supported the skills development of the Community Health Champions by recently facilitating the Community Champions to be trained as Diabetes Mentors. The Champions have been trained to give talks within the community to raise awareness of diabetes. They cover the signs and symptoms of diabetes, how to get tested and where to go for information. Champions also attend local events and health fairs to promote themselves within the community.

As a result of our work, the Champions have been active in the local community helping to raise the profile of diabetes and offering support.

Samples of Paan Paan Survey: The local council and NHS are working with the Church Street Community Health Champions and The Mosaic Community Trust to understand how to better support people who use paan with tobacco and those who want to stop chewing but find this difficult.

The use of paan and the dangers of it are not commonly known or talked about. The Tobacco Control Alliance and Public Health team is committed to changing this and want to design a range of support to highlight the effects of paan to help people make an informed decision about using it.

With the help of The Mosaic Community Trust, the Community Health Champions recently completed a survey to understand more about paan use. The information collected will be analysed over the next few weeks and used to decide what services or support are needed.

MAHMUDA’S EXPERIENCE: “I am Mahmuda from Bangladesh. I have a teenage daughter and have lived in the Church Street area for most of my life after moving from Bangladesh. I got involved with the Community Health Champions after coming to a Women’s Health and Wellbeing group that Mosaic Community Trust ran. I came because I felt down and I wanted to meet other women and get out of the house. I didn’t always feel good because of an illness – coming was the best decision I’ve ever made!

The more I meet with the champions, the better I feel. I now do more physical activity. I talk to my community, my neighbours and my daughter about their health and wellbeing. I go to exercise classes when I can

I am happy now. My long-term health condition has not gone, but with all the improvements I have made to my life, it has made me feel better. As I do more physical activity, my body is in less pain.

I want everybody in the community to understand more about improving their health and this is why I am a Community Health Champion.”

Mahmuda x

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Men’s Health and Wellbeing

The Mosaic Community Trust fully recognizes the importance of men’s health and wellbeing. We have been working with local residents in the Church Street area and in listening and acting on their experiences and feedback, have run a second Health and Wellbeing Course. Again this course was extremely well received by all participants and has made a positive impact on the health and well being of Church Street residents.

Men’s Health and Wellbeing Course: The Mosaic Community Trust ran a second Men’s Health and Wellbeing Course for men in the Church Street area. This 10-week course provided professional training with advice, information and support to participants, helping them understand more about the importance of good emotional health and wellbeing.

Last year seven men successfully completed the course and are now training to become Champions in emotional wellbeing for men. This means they will be able to share the messages they have learnt about taking better emotional care of themselves with others and be able to signpost other men to useful support services.

Mens Health Graduation Local resident, Mohammed, who found the 2012 course so beneficial returned to attend this recent course said:

“…coming for a second time has been really helpful. This time I wanted to share more with the group about my problems. I can now help my community, my friends and family…it has made me feel good inside; now I can challenge myself and be free to talk to people in the community about emotional wellbeing. I can share my own experiences to try to help…I have also found new ways to manage my anger. My family comment most on this and have noticed me going to another room when I feel upset and taking time out. This is making my family life even happier than before.”

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Mosaic Community Trust Events

The Mosaic Community Trust is dedicated to uniting, empowering and celebrating local communities. To build on the success and impact of our projects, we have run several events for Church Street residents:

Fitness Classes: The Mosaic Community Trust facilitated regular women-only fitness classes for Church Street residents. Zumba classes were provided free by local charity Opportunity for All and proved to be a big hit with the Church Street Community Champions and female residents and is a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time.

Zumba class in action In addition to enjoying a fantastic Zumba class, The Mosaic Community Trust arranged for a qualified nutritionist to provide a 30-minute talk on healthy eating and participants were given the opportunity to do a weekly weigh-in and waist circumference measurement to help lose weight.

“…the event was a great way of getting people talking about their health and wellbeing and learning about what’s available locally. Many people want to improve their health but aren’t sure how to go about it. Talking with the community health champions at the event helped people to learn how to.” smiled one participant.

Vitamin D Campaign Launch: In July, The Mosaic Community Trust and the Community Health Champions launched the Vitamin D Campaign in Church Street. Vitamin D is very important for healthy growth. If a child doesn’t get enough vitamin D they can get a painful bone condition called rickets. As we come out of a long winter, it is important to remember how vital vitamin D is to keep babies, young children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers healthy.

Community Health Champion Roma AkterThe Community Health Champions explained to residents why vitamin D is important for healthy growth, what the signs of vitamin D deficiency are and why they may need vitamin D supplements. They informed residents of where they can get “Healthy Start Vitamins” in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham and to check with their health visitor to see if they are eligible for free vitamin coupons.

Visiting Local Health Centres: The Community Health Champions have been visiting Health Centres and Wellbeing spaces in the Church Street area to increase awareness of the Champions project and to promote their work to local people. The Champions introduce themselves to residents and tell them about how they can help. Champions then signpost local people to a wide range of community health services and also help 1-2-1 by accompanying people to a service or appointment within walking distance in the local area if necessary.

Local Talks: Community Health Champion Roma Akter (pictured above) attended a parents’ talk at the Fisherton Pre-School in Fisherton Street in March to promote the work of the Church Street Community Health Champions to local parents.

Roma said:

“It was good to share with parents the importance of taking care of their health. The nursery manager has invited me back to speak again another time. I feel confident and I am passionate about giving health message. I can’t wait to come back!”

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Join Our Team of Community Champions

We are always looking for more people in the community to be champions and join our team. We are looking to develop champions with specialisms depending on their interests in general health, diabetes, men’s emotional wellbeing and people with experience of pain.

Free training is given to equip you with the skills and confidence to be a champion. This means you don’t have to worry if you don’t think you have the right skills or knowledge. No previous experience is needed. All we ask is for a commitment to serving the community for a minimum of two hours each week.

All of our Community Champions speak about how the programme has enriched their lives in ways they had never imagined!

If, like Roma, you are interested in helping to improve the health of local people and would like to volunteer some of your time as a community health champion, please get in touch with Rana Shalimar via email: ranashalimar@yahoo.co.uk

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Coming Up…

Local Talks: The Mosaic Community Trust is negotiating with social enterprise Spice to bring a timebanking scheme for volunteers to Church Street. The Time Credits scheme has had a positive impact in communities in other part of London and the country. Volunteers are rewarded for their active participation in the community by receiving a time credit for their voluntary time. The Time Credit vouchers can then be spent at local participating businesses, such as cinemas, bowling alleys or the local Library to hire DVDs.

The Mosaic Community Trust will soon be consulting with people in Church Street about how they would spend Time Credits if they were to earn credits through being involved in their community.

ESOL For Health: Later this year, The Mosaic Community Trust will introduce a course in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) with a focus on health to further equip the Community Health Champions in their role of delivering health messages in the community.

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