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Sunsafe in Kent

Stay cool and covered in the sun this summer Add to Your Support

As summer is here and we are due to be hit by a heat wave make sure that you stay cool, stay covered and stay sun safe! Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, and too much sun can increase your risk. Exposure to sunlight can also affect your eyes.

In 2010, around 100,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK. More than 12,000 of these cancers were malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Each year, around 2,200 people die from skin cancer.
Skin cancers are caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Protecting the skin from the sun can help prevent these cancers.

How does the sun damage skin?

UV rays penetrate deep into the skin and damage cells. These cells are then at risk of becoming cancerous. You can’t feel UV damaging your skin and it happens even when the sun doesn’t feel hot.
Getting sunburnt causes the top layers of skin to release chemicals that make blood vessels swell and leak fluids. Skin turns red and feels hot and painful, and severe sunburn can lead to swelling and blisters.

Who’s at risk?
Skin cancer can affect anyone, but people most at risk have:

  • fair skin that burns in strong sun
  • red or fair hair
  • a lot of moles or freckles
  • a personal or family history of skin cancer
  • already had sunburn, especially when young

People with naturally brown or black skin are less likely to get skin cancer as darker skin has some protection against UV rays. However, skin cancer can still occur.

Even if you cover up there are other ways that you can stay cool in the sun:

  • drink plenty of water
  • stay in the shade between 11am – 3pm
  • take rest breaks if you’re out and about
  • wear sunscreen above SPF15 and cover up in the sun.

To see Kent County Council’s advice on being cool in the sun go to: http://www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/keeping-cool-in-hot-weather

NHS Choices has some great online advice about how to stay sun safe – click on the relevant link below:


Summer health video wall

Go to NHS Choices homepage

Couch to 5K Running Plan

Couch to 5K – free running plan Add to Your Support

Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit.
But, did you know that regular running can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, boost your mood and keep your weight under control?
The Couch to 5K plan is designed to get you off the couch and gradually work you up to running 5K or for half an hour, in just nine weeks.

What is Couch to 5K?

Couch to 5K is a running plan developed to help absolute beginners get into running. The beginners’ running plan was developed by a novice runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his fiftysomething mum get off the couch and start running too. The plan involves three runs per week, with a day of rest in between, with a different schedule for each of the nine weeks.

How does Couch to 5K work?

Probably the biggest challenge a novice runner faces is not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started. Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking, to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. Week One involves running for just a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start.

Who is Couch to 5K for?

Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you’ve never run before, or if you want to get back into being more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and more healthy. If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime such as Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first.

To read about the Couch to 5K plan on NHS Choices follow the link: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/get-running-with-couch-to-5k.aspx

To download the running plan: www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Couch-to-5K-running-plan.aspx

To donwload the free app at Change 4 Life: http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

This Girl Can

This Girl Can – can you? Add to Your Support

Sport England is celebrating active women everywhere with the This Girl Can campaign!  The This Girl Can campaign proves whatever size, ability or previous experience, sport can be a fun and enjoyable part of our lives. So if one of your resolutions for 2015 was to get more active why not take inspiration from the This Girl Can ladies and get yourself moving in 2015. It doesn’t matter what ability you are there is an activity out there that is waiting for you.

If you want to think about other ways to Be Active why not go to our Six Ways to Wellbeing Be Active page.

Come on, if This Girl Can – can you too?

If you or your organisation would like to find out how to get involved, access marketing materials or learn more about the insight driving the campaign then please register at: www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/register

Armed Forces Day 2015

Armed Forces Day Add to Your Support

Armed Forces Day will be on Saturday, 27 June 2014. Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Secondly, it gives the nation an opportunity to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families and from veterans to cadets.

Since 2009, Armed Forces Day has been marked annually with events large and small throughout the UK, and this year the celebrations will fall on Saturday 28 June, when a major national event will be held in the City of Stirling, Scotland.

Local Armed Forces Day events include:

To find out more about Armed Forces day go to their website here: www.armedforcesday.org.uk

To look for more events go to the Armed Forces Events Search by following the link. 

The Kent & Medway Civilian Military Partnership Board have launched the Kent Armed Forces Survey looking at the strengthens and needs of the Armed Forces and ex-services community. This research will help shape the delivery of outcomes for the Armed Forces community of Kent & Medway, and the results from this survey will form a suggested list of priorities to help decision making for the future in Kent & Medway. They are interested in hearing from any serving personnel, reservists, ex-service personnel and their families and wish to find out about their experiences living and working in Kent and Medway. We need better information about the experiences and issues faced and will be asking them about their time in the military and/or after in civilian life.

The survey should take less than 20 minutes to complete, and all responses are anonymous. Please click here for the Armed Forces Survey

The research is independently being carried out by KCC on behalf of the KCMP board and the survey questionnaire will close on 31 July 2015.

If you are service or ex service personnel or their family or friends and are concerned about mental wellbeing there are specific organisations operating in Kent and Medway that can help you. Some of these we have listed below.

If you need to speak to someone for free using NHS funded therapy go to our information and refer yourself into speak to someone local to you.


Bike Week 2015 Add to Your Support

Bike Week 2015 is taking place between the 13 – 21 June. Bike Week is a great opportunity to promote cycling and show how easy it is to make cycling an everyday part of your life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone‘. Bike Week highlights how cycling is good for your health, the environment and it can be fun!

The theme of Bike Week 2015 is cycling to work and there are lots of events to promote ‘buddy’ rides or the safest routes to your place of work. You can even sign up for a workplace challenge.

  • So to take part in Bike Week go to: bikeweek.org.uk
  • For cycling routes, free guided bike rides and inspiration to get on your bike go to Explore Kent: explorekent.org
  • Or for free guided cycle routes for all ages and all abilities go to GoSkyRide: www.goskyride.com/kent

Not interested in cycling but looking for other ways to Be Active go to our Six Ways to Wellbeing Be Active page and get inspired.



Mens Health Week 2015

Men’s Health Week 2015 Add to Your Support

Men’s Health Week 2015 is from the 15th to 21st June and will focus on healthy living for men. Men’s Health week is run and promoted by the Men’s Health Forum and they are highlighting some simple steps all men can do to improve their health and wellbeing by challenging men to:

Why these issues?

Men are less likely to lead a healthy lifestyle. They are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol to hazardous levels and be overweight or obese. These lifestyles can lead into serious diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and stokes, the risk of which can be reduced by leading a healthy lifestyle.

If you are feeling stressed there is free NHS Therapy and Counselling available in Kent and Medway, you can refer yourself into this therapy without having to go an see your GP – if you need it why not get some extra support.

Kent Sheds is a new project providing places for people to come together to pursue hobbies and interests, share their knowledge and skills and develop new friendships. To find out more about Kent Sheds and how you can get involved follow the link.

Anyone can take part in Men’s Health Week, especially local organisations, public health teams, NHS and employers. For more information about Men’s Health Week go to: www.menshealthforum.org.uk/mhw

Carers Week 2015

Carers Week 2015 Add to Your Support

Carers Week 2015 is running from the 8 – 14 June. Carers Week is a UK-wide annual awareness campaign. Its aim is to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for. Carers Week raises awareness of carers and there are plenty of opportunities and event in Kent and Medway to find out more about the caring and the support that you can receive.

One in eight of us are currently carers looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. The very nature of caring means very often people don’t at first, or sometimes ever, identify themselves as carers. Rather, they think of themselves simply as wife, husband, son, daughter, mum, dad or perhaps grandparent, niece or nephew helping a loved one.

Without the right help and support caring can have a devastating impact – carers can quickly become cut off with their physical and emotional health, work and, their finances all hit hard.

This Carers Week is focusing on building Carer Friendly Communities. Communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

Carers Week is brought to life by the individuals and organisations who come together to organise activities and events throughout the UK, drawing attention to just how important caring is.

For more information and advice about caring go to Live It Well Carers page.


The Kent Smarter Travel Challenge 2015 Add to Your Support

The Kent Smarter Travel Challenge 2015 is open to all businesses in Kent and will is running from 1 June for four weeks. The Kent Smarter Travel Challenge gives businesses is to get as many people as possible to adopt more sustainable modes of travel for commuting and business travel. The idea is to encourage businesses to travel more sustainably for work reasons by switching to modes like walking, cycling, using public transport and electric vehicles and car-sharing.

To get involved Businesses can sign up, and will be able to enter miles saved by not travelling to meetings or going into the office every day. The aim is to encourage businesses to work smarter to help reduce congestion on Kent’s roads and cut down on CO2 emissions. For example, you could use video or tele-conferencing facilities and home working. Any business or organisation can take part, with separate categories for different sized businesses.

There are weekly prizes for individuals are also up for grabs. Businesses can compete with each other to win their category by logging the most sustainable miles and saving the most CO2. Winners of each category will receive a trophy and be invited to attend the Kent Healthy Business Awards ceremony on 23 July in Maidstone. There will also be an overall larger prize for the business achieving the greatest percentage of modeshift during the challenge.

Why should you get involved?

  • The aim of the Challenge is to share the benefits of traveling to and for work more sustainably.
  • You’ll save time and money, reduce congestion and pollution, boost your health and energy, and burn calories.
  • Sustainable travel to and for work includes walking, cycling, using public transport, car-sharing or even saving a journey to work by working from home or using a video conference instead of traveling to a meeting!
  • The Challenge is open to anyone working in Kent.
  • You can log your journeys individually or as part of your workplace team.
  • It’s great fun and we’ll be giving out prizes every week!


Volunteers Week 2015

Volunteers Week 2015 Add to Your Support

1 – 7 June is Volunteers Week 2015. Volunteers week is a great opportunity to celebrate and recognise the important role local volunteers make in our communities and challenge people to take part and volunteer.

Volunteers week is an opportunity to celebrate and say a big thank you to our volunteers in Kent and Medway. Just imagine a life without volunteers there would be no life-boats, Samaritans or hospices,  Magistrates, school governors, sports coaches, Guide and Scout leaders, National Trust wardens. There would be no campaigning, no advocacy, no food-banks, no credit unions, and no citizen advice bureau. In short, our communities would grind to a halt. So its time to say a big thank you for volunteers!

Volunteering is a great way to Give which is one of the Six Ways to Wellbeing.

Or to find out more about volunteers week and how you can celebrate your volunteers go to:  www.volunteersweek.org.uk

@NCVOvolunteers #volunteersweek

Adult Learners Week 2015

Adult Learners Week 2015 Add to Your Support

Adult Learners’ Week 2015 is taking place between the 13 – 19 June. Adult Learners’ Week is a celebration of the benefits of lifelong learning and an opportunity to explore the many types of learning available to adults. It is the chance to find out how flexible and interesting learning as an adult can be and to discover how learning can change your life. A chance to improve skills, try something new and have fun.

Keep Learning is one of the Six Ways to Wellbeing and it’s about trying something new or rediscovering an old hobby. It could be taking up a course or even learning a new recipe or reading a part of the newspaper you don’t usually look at.  You can set small challenges to Keep Learning it will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.

There are a lot of Adults Learners’ Week events happening in libraries, not only taster sessions but talks and workshops so why not pop down to your local library and see what is happening too!


The Big Lunch 2015

The Big Lunch 2015 Add to Your Support

The Big Lunch 2015 is being held on Sunday June 7. The Big Lunch is a chance to get together with your neighbours in the garden, in the street in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. The Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or on the street, to a full blown street party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic.

Why have a Big Lunch?

  • The Big Lunch is a simple recipe to have fun and connect with your neighbours and encourage friendlier, safer neighbourhoods, which will…
  • Feed community spirit! As well as sharing a meal you’ll be meeting new people, be making new friends and strengthening ties in your community which could see you…
  • Starting to share more –from conversation and ideas to skills and resources –so we all end up richer in every sense, which can also help you to…
  • Discover common ground across age, class, faith, race and the garden fence, and remind ourselves that charity begins at home, or just a couple of doors away, and remember…
  • To make the third of us who live alone feel connected to their communities, and, before you know it, you’ve started to…
  • Change a neighbourhood for good, forever!

So, enjoying a Big Lunch is just the start– it’s what can happen after that really makes the difference!

The Big Lunch is a great way to Give, Connect, Keep Learning and Take Notice – four of the Six Ways to Wellbeing.

Find out more about the Big Lunch 2015 follow the link: www.thebiglunch.com

Need some ideas and inspiration of how to get started or some free resources? go to: http://www.thebiglunch.com/join-in/download-resources.php

Want to find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing? Follow the link.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week Add to Your Support

Mental Health Awareness week is the 11 – 17 May and it’s a great week to raise awareness of all mental health and wellbeing issues.   The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that uses breath as form of concentration. Learning Mindfulness helps us pay more attention to the present moment – to our own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. We have recently published an introduction to Mindfulness which links to free downloads, you can find this information here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/mindfulness

There are lots of events happening in to raise awareness of Mental Health Awareness Week in Kent to see our latest list follow the link.

Live It Well is also promoting better mental wellbeing in Kent through the Six Ways to Wellbeing campaign.  The Six Ways to Wellbeing are: Be Active, Keep Learning, Give, Connect,  Take Notice, and  Care for the Planet. These Six Ways to Wellbeing can improve your mood, strengthen your relationships and help you cope when life doesn’t go to plan. To support this campaign we have made available free resources so if you are planning on holding an event in Mental Health Awareness Week and want some free resources to promote mental wellbeing you find our resources here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/ways-to-wellbeing/resources

We are also holding a series of free seminars to introduce people to the Six Ways to Wellbeing and you can book on these here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/ways-to-wellbeing/seminars

If you are planning on holding an event to promote Mental Health Awareness week in Kent and want Live It Well to publicise it on our local news pages, facebook and twitter accounts please contact us with details.

The Mental Health Foundation are promoting Mental Health Awareness week and you can find out more about their work here: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mentalhealthawarenessweek

NHS Choices also have information about Mindfulness, follow the link for more information.

Mindful Logo used © Mental Health Foundation

Dementia Awareness Week 2015

Dementia Awareness Week Add to Your Support

This years Dementia Awareness Week is happening from 18th May to 24th May. Dementia Awareness week wants to raise awareness and understanding of dementia as well as encouraging all people who are affected by dementia to #dosomethingnew

In 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to 1 million by 2025. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and two-thirds of people with dementia are women. The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer.

If you are worried you or someone you know might have dementia, you should first talk to your doctor, or call the Kent Dementia Freephone Helpline – 24 Hour Service on 0800 500 3014. 

The Alzheimer’s society have listed 5 things you should know about dementia

1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
2. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
3. It’s not just about losing your memory
4. It’s possible to live well with dementia
5. There’s more to a person than the dementia

To get the Alzheimer’s Society Five Things you should know about Dementia full booklet download it at the link.

For more information go to:

Sky Ride 2015

SkyRide 2015 Add to Your Support

This month SkyRide 2015 begins. With more than 65 FREE guided bike rides across Kent to choose from, if you’ve been thinking about getting on your bike, now’s the time. SkyRide launches on Sunday 10th May 2015 with rides at Cyclopark, Edenbridge and Bexley, and there are limited places on each ride so don’t forget to book yourself a place!

If you don’t want to get on your bike but are looking for other ways to Be Active, why not try our information pages to get you started.

Too Much Alcohol Report Resize

Too Much? Time to Think about Your Drink Add to Your Support

Most people who have alcohol-related health problems aren’t alcoholics. They’re simply people who have regularly drunk more than the recommended levels for some years. Regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits risks damaging your health. There’s no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink less than the recommended daily limits, the risks of harming your health are low.

And it’s certainly not only people who get drunk or binge drink who are at risk. Most people who regularly drink more than the NHS recommends don’t see any harmful effects at first. Alcohol’s hidden harms usually only emerge after a number of years. And by then, serious health problems can have developed. The effects of alcohol on your health will depend on how much you drink. The more you drink, the greater the health risks.

Kent County Council’s Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark has launched the annual Public Health report focusing on drinking and its effects.  ‘Problem drinking’ can conjure up a number of images. You may picture a street drinker on a park bench. You may picture a youngster staggering out of a nightclub, getting into a fight and ending up in an ambulance. But do you picture your husband or wife, your mum or dad sitting on the sofa watching The X Factor drinking glass after glass of their favourite tipple?

The annual report sets out how KCC Public Health team are doing to tackle this, as well as highlighting the work of a number of other agencies and partners across the county.

For more advice on how to drink safer and what help is available to you if you have a problem with your alcohol or if you are concerned about someone else: