Self-Care Week – helping you help yourself
Self Care Week 2016 in Bracknell Forest was run in partnership between Bracknell Forest Council and Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group as part of the Better Care Fund’s Prevention and Self-Care programme. Building on the successes of the previous Self Care Week events held in Bracknell Forest every year since 2012, this year’s plan was to be more sustainable and encourage participation in activities throughout the year.
The planning process saw involvement from all Council departments, with Adult Social Care, Health and Housing leading on the project alongside the Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group and Bracknell Forest Public Health. Other stakeholders included Berkshire NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust, Involve, Healthwatch Bracknell Forest and the Bracknell Forest Health and Wellbeing Board.
The week’s events included:
- A large presence of trained volunteers throughout the week in Bracknell’s main shopping centre, Princess Square carrying out self-care prescribing.
- The four Bracknell Forest Council managed Children’s Centres worked with Health Visitors from Berkshire NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust to facilitate self-care themed lessons and activities for children and families. The themes of these lessons included sugar in food and drink, preparing packed lunches and how to overcome “fussy eating”.
- A selection of free activity sessions across the community including Beginner Exercises, “parkrun”, Tai-Chi and Health Walks were made available to the public. This marked a change from previous years in Bracknell Forest where a calendar of one-off sessions had been arranged. This change was made so that individuals who attended these free sessions could continue (potentially for a cost) to attend classes after Self Care Week and throughout the year.
- A volunteer training session for the Bracknell and Wokingham College students was held at the College on Tuesday, 8th November 2016. The session was an opportunity to inform the students of what self-care is and what the messages and activities of Self Care Week 2016 were. Each attendee was given an Information pack, which included information on Prevention and Self-Care support in the local community, a volunteer T-Shirt, Self-Care pen, a stress ball, guidance for volunteers.
- Patient Groups representing North Bracknell of the Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group organised and ran educational events. The highlight being the “Breathe Easy” event held at Easthampstead Baptist Church and was attended by Mayor, Cllr Tony Virgo.
- Coffee Afternoon
- Age Concern Get Together
- Breathe Easy poster
- NHS seated exercise plans were distributed to all Sheltered Housing, Residential and Nursing Homes in Bracknell Forest so all the residents and staff could come together and take part in gentle group exercises as part of Self Care Week.
Information on offer to the public, at the stands in the community, included posters and leaflets on:
Self Care Week 2016 saw increased public engagement and involvement, building on the successes of previous Self Care Weeks held in Bracknell Forest. This high level of public engagement is linked to certain key factors:
- A larger Self Care Week publicity campaign across multiple digital and print media, with the social media plan being followed by all of the partner organisation’s Communication departments. There was strong branding and good quality media.
- Over 250 community locations hosting Self Care Week stands to reach more people despite a reduced budget.
- Planning for the event built on the learning from previous Self Care Weeks in Bracknell Forest.
- Strong partnerships and relationships from previous Self Care Weeks and preventative campaigns gave a stronger starting point.
Key learning points from the Week’s activities, and ambitions for future prevention & self-care activity, include:
- Further co-ordinating communication to departments of partner organisations in publishing preventative messages all year round through their media channels.
- Continued local “Choose Better” publicity campaign including Patient Group led public educational events as part of the local calendar of events to be funded from the Prevention and Self-Care budget.
- Educational support for individuals living with long-term conditions like dementia, depression, anxiety as well as those who are socially isolated and lonely.
- Continue to work with internal departments and external providers to run a series of preventative themed health events at intervals throughout the year in community locations throughout Bracknell Forest.
It is recognised that self-care is not just for Self Care Week. The Prevention and Self-Care programme will be promoted throughout the year with public engagement events being held across the Borough. Through this high level of engagement with the residents of Bracknell Forest, they will be given the support needed to manage on-going medical conditions. It will ensure the public know how to eat healthily, exercise regularly, maintain emotional wellbeing and know that the right support is available to them when they need help taking care of themselves.