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District Dispatch - 2 January 2024

As we enter the New Year, many of us will be thinking about how we can improve our health and wellbeing.

Councillor Tracie Bangert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing

With this in mind, we are arranging a Feel-Good Farmers' Market in East Street in the Chichester city centre on Friday 19 January from 9am until 2pm. In addition to the normal traders, who will be offering fresh local produce and artisan goods, we will have a range of partners attending who will be available to help you improve your health and fitness. Those joining us will include Everyone Active; Nuffield Health; Fitjoy; our Social Prescribers and our Health and Wellbeing Team. Please do pop down and say hello! You can find out more by visiting the Farmers' Market webpage on the council's website.

Our dedicated team of Health and Wellbeing Advisors are available to assist you on a whole range of matters. This free, friendly and confidential service provides advice to help improve your mental and physical wellbeing. They can help you with healthy eating on a budget; reducing your alcohol intake; losing weight; being more active; and improving your emotional wellbeing. In addition, if you're trying to stop smoking, the team's trained advisors can offer free Nicotine Replacement Therapy, saving you money as part of a 12-week free package of one-to-one support.

In partnership with our leisure provider, Everyone Active, we also offer a range of activities to help you get started, including walking groups; a beginners' running club; walking netball, cricket and football; and access to virtual and in-person exercise classes. This also includes a free 12-week course to learn how to walk with poles with a qualified Nordic Walking Instructor for those who are looking to return to exercise and who are currently doing less that the recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week. The course is aimed at inactive adults who are looking to increase their activity levels and confidence through walking.

If you are experiencing non-medical issues that may be having an adverse impact on your health and wellbeing, then it's worth getting in touch with one of our friendly Social Prescribers. Those accessing the service can either be referred by their GP, or through our self-referral form on our website. Around 70% of people who visit their GP have an underlying issue which isn't necessarily medical. Someone could feel isolated or lonely; might not be managing a chronic condition well; or might be having problems sleeping due to issues such as debt. Many of these things will impact on a person's physical and mental health and manifest themselves into medical symptoms. Our Social Prescribers spend time with clients, working with them to get to the root cause and helping them to find long-term solutions.

The Social Prescribing Service has been so successful that we now also offer a similar service for young people, ages 13 to 19. This was introduced following the pandemic, which had a huge impact on many young people and resulted in an increase in cases of anxiety, depression and loneliness. During appointments, young people can discuss ways to improve how they feel and explore opportunities to connect to the practical and emotional support available in the community. It can assist those who have a lack of confidence; those who are lonely or isolated; and those wanting to have a greater sense of connection to their community and friends. This can be carried out in person, online or over the phone. The social prescriber will then develop a plan with the young person to focus on what is important to them and will connect them with activities, events and organisations that will help them to feel better.

Regardless of your health and wellbeing goals in 2024, we want you to know that we are here to support you — whether that is through our services, or our partner agencies.

Best Wishes

Cllr Tracie Bangert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing at Chichester District Council