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Free family health event launches African community project

African music will herald the launch of an innovative community project ‘Ubuntu’ at a free family health event in Handsworth.

Birmingham’s city wide sexual health promotion service is launching the project on Saturday 2 July 2011 at Handsworth Leisure Centre. Ubuntu will promote sexual health services to Birmingham’s African communities through community-based one-to-one and group sessions and outreach projects.

Mathew Nyashanu, Ubuntu co-ordinator, said: “The scheme is unique in that it targets the African community in Birmingham and bridges the gap in sexual health promotion. This is the opportunity for all Africans to come together and show their commitment to sexual health promotion initiatives across the city.

“Ubuntu means ‘a person is a person through other people’, the name was chosen to reflect the importance of family and community links in African culture, which can influence personal relationships and attitudes towards sexual health.”

The scheme will be working with Terrence Higgins Trust, the local African Forum and National African HIV Prevention Programme.

The African Family Health event will be taking place on Saturday 2 July at Handsworth Leisure Centre from 1pm till 9pm.

For further information on the Ubuntu project, please contact the sexual health promotion service on 0121 446 1088.

The sexual health promotion service is part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope hospitals.

Locals who enjoy a good blast from the past look no further – Good Hope Hospital is looking for volunteers to help them host ‘reminiscence groups’ for patients.

The groups will be established as regular informal get-togethers for stroke, elderly, and dementia patients at the Hospital. The aim will be for volunteers and patients to chat about everything from their favourite memories and the local area, to key events in history. The increased communication and concentrated thought processes associated with reminiscence groups have been shown to improve a patient’s sense of well-being, promoting rehabilitation and recovery.

Good Hope volunteer service advisor, Angela Butts, said. “Many of us love to reminisce and talk about the past. We hope these informal groups will provide a meaningful way of recalling those treasured memories and give patients a lasting positive experience. These groups can’t run without the support of volunteers, so we’d love to hear from anyone who has just an hour or so a week spare to spend time chatting about the past with our patients.”

If you would like to become a volunteer at Good Hope, are interested in helping run a reminiscence group, or have items such as books or features on local history that are suitable for donation, please contact Angela Butts, Good Hope volunteer service advisor, on (0121) 424 7379 or email

Trampolines are top of the wish list for many children but they are also one of the top causes of accidents. Approximately 75 per cent of accidents, including head and neck injuries and broken limbs, happen when more than one person is on the trampoline.

Many of those accidents could be avoided by following this advice from Solihull’s injury prevention specialist health visitor, Carolyn Lindsay.

Highlighting the risks during Child Safety Week, Carolyn explains: “Trampolines are fun and a great form of exercise but the number of children having potentially avoidable accidents is increasing.

“If you are thinking of buying one, check that safety pads cover the springs and consider a model that has netting as part of the design to reduce the risk of falling off and hitting the ground. Children under six years old must have one suitable for their age.

“Place the trampoline away from trees, fencing and washing lines and on soft lawn or wood chip. Children should always be supervised when playing on trampolines and ladders should not be used because younger children could use them to get on unnoticed. It is also important not to go under a trampoline when it is in use. Bouncing should be in the middle of the trampoline and never for getting off it. Somersaults and other complicated moves are best learnt safely at an organised club.”

For more child safety tips look out for Carolyn in the foyer of Sainsbury’s in Stratford Road, Shirley, on Friday 24 June from 10am to 2pm.

Carolyn Lindsay and other public health specialists are employed by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Heartlands Hospital.

Listen to some excellent live music, help raise money for a worthy cause and enjoy some good old fashioned quality time with family, friends and members of the local community. What more could you need from an evening of entertainment?

The League of Friends at Good Hope Hospital presents a summer concert for all to enjoy this June. An array of performances will be on offer, including popular songs alongside great classics performed by Sutton Coldfield’s Community Choir and Good Hope’s own staff choir, Hearts in Harmony.

All funds raised from the event will go towards Good Hope Hospital’s scanning equipment appeal. Eleanor Ward, senior sister in elderly care at Good Hope, explains: “Money raised for the scanning appeal will be used towards purchasing a bladder scanner for the elderly care service. This is an important tool when checking whether a patient will need a catheter. Having this equipment for our elderly patients would be fantastic, making a patient’s stay and treatment run more smoothly and efficiently.”

The Summer Concert will be held at the Bishop Walsh School, Wylde Green Road, on Tuesday 28 June, with the musical entertainment beginning at 7pm. Tickets are priced at £5 each. You can get yours from the Good Hope League of Friends by calling Mona Campbell on (0121) 424 9125. Alternatively contact the Hearts in Harmony choir on (0121) 424 0113 or the Sutton Coldfield Community Choir on (0121) 354 2587.

Be a Star Charlotte, Carmen, LauraYoung women nationwide have been tending to bottle feed their babies but in Solihull more are now seeing the advantages of doing what comes naturally.

‘Breast is best for baby’ is the message behind Solihull’s breastfeeding service to get more young mums breastfeeding.

Midwives and health visitors are reporting a noticeable increase in the number of young mums in Solihull breastfeeding their newborns and more importantly, keeping it up.

Infant feeding coordinator Carmen Baskerville is hoping to encourage more with an extra push during Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which starts on 19 June. Along with breastfeeding facilitator Elaine Bates, Carmen will be touring Mothercare shops and children’s centre’s in the area to promote breastfeeding with mums and mums-to-be.

Carmen said: “One of the best things that only a mother can do for her baby is to breastfeed. This gives the baby the best start in life. We want to support women in their decision to breastfeed and help them continue to do so.

“Increasing evidence shows that for babies breastfeeding reduces the risk of gastroenteritis, chest and urinary infections, diabetes, allergies and childhood cancers and for mothers reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and hip fractures.”

Laura Bourne, age 25 from Coleshill, struggled to breastfeed her first son, Kai, when he was born seven years ago and gave up. Second time around, Laura had support from the service by going along to the breastfeeding café in Chelmsley Wood with Zane, now aged one year, and as a result breast fed Zane for eight months. Laura has gone on to train as a peer supporter and helps other mums at the new breastfeeding cafe in Smiths Wood.

Laura explains: “With Zane I was determined to breastfeed but without help and support I wouldn’t have been able to keep it up because I was having difficulties. I’m happy to help other mums, particularly young ones because I know what it is like. The breastfeeding cafes are good because you can sometimes feel like you are the only one having difficulties but there you find out you’re not”.

For more information and to find your where your nearest breastfeeding café is, please contact Carmen on 07970811026.

Solihull breastfeeding service is part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Heartlands Hospital.

Locals interested in learning more about thyroid disease have the chance to hear from a Solihull specialist when the Hospital hosts a talk on the subject.

The thyroid gland is found in the neck. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body’s growth and metabolism. Thyroid disease in all its forms is common and affects millions of people in the UK. Symptoms can include sudden weight loss or gain.

Dr Andrew Bates, consultant diabetologist and endocrinologist, will give a brief overview of the thyroid gland and the various forms of thyroid disease and leave plenty of time to answer questions.

Dr Bates said: “The thyroid is only small but it has a vital part to play in our health and development. There are effective treatments for most thyroid diseases but if left untreated they can lead to serious, long-lasting health problems.”

The seminar is taking place on 22 June at 5pm in the Education Centre at Solihull Hospital. To book your place or to find out details of the Hospital’s future health seminars, contact Sandra White, membership manager, on 0121 424 1218 or email

Natalie Kijak with Lola and Ella AshfordSolihull Special Care Dental Service’s therapists and nurses went out armed this week with a giant set of dentures and brushes to raise awareness of the importance of dental care for National Smile Month.

Parents and toddlers were shown how much fun brushing teeth can be and were given useful tips on how to reach those hard to reach areas. Each child was given a goodie bag with a brush and two-minute timer to show how long teeth brushing should take.

Dental therapist Karen Hendon, who is based at Hurst Lane Dental Clinic and works on the mobile dental unit, said: “We really want to raise awareness of the importance of looking after teeth by brushing twice a day, reducing sugar intake and by having regular check-ups with a dentist. The earlier children can get used to brushing their teeth the better. We advise parents to take children with them when they visit the dentist from the age of two so they get used to it.”

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, which organises National Smile Month, praised the service’s contribution. Dr Carter said: “We are delighted that Solihull Special Care Dental Service has joined the many dental practices, schools, health professionals and community groups promoting good oral healthcare under the umbrella of our National Smile Month campaign.

“A good oral healthcare routine can help guard against all sorts of oral and general health conditions from bad breath and decay to gum disease, which has been linked to a number of more serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes.”

The special care dental service is part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Heartlands Hospital.

FOSH Fete 1
Liz Steventon, FOSH Secretary, George Cother, FOSH President, Irene Chamberlain, Mayor of Solihull, Robert Chamberlain, Mayoral escort

Rain and showers didn’t deter the crowds as hundreds of Silhillians attended the annual Friends of Solihull Hospital Summer Fete.

The Fete was opened by Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Irene Chamberlain and was one of the highest attended of recent years. The day featured live entertainment including the including Birmingham pipes and drums, Stagecoach Dance Troupe, Harmony Band and Thornabbey Dog Training. There was also a tombola, cake and gift stalls and lots of activities for children.

FOSH Fete 2
5-year-old Daisy Amarilli being made up by Melissa Stokes

Claire Molloy, Heart of England NHS Trust’s Executive Director of Solihull Healthcare Services, said: “It was a wonderful afternoon and everyone who came enjoyed it thoroughly. We are very grateful to the Friends of Solihull Hospital and all the hard work they put in raising money towards helping us provide the best possible care we can to the local community. We really appreciate the support of the local people who came along on the day.”

Friends of Solihull Hospital Association fundraiser Liz Steventon, said: “The whole day was a great success, a big thank you to everyone who came along and made the day possible. It was a fun day out for all the family, and we have raised lots of money for the Hospital towards equipment and machinery which will be invaluable in treating our patients.”

Locals Amy Cunningham and Nathan Portlock soak up the atmosphere
Locals Amy Cunningham and Nathan Portlock soak up the atmosphere

The Friends of Solihull Hospital Association raise an average of £25,000 each year, and have raised over £600,000 since the group started in 1953. FOSH are currently aiming to raise £87,000 for a vital piece of equipment for the Hospital known as a keyhole surgery stack.

If you would like to find out more about the Friends of Solihull Hospital Association, make a donation or volunteer, please email Liz Steventon,

Solihull Hospital volunteers
Pictured with vice-chairman of the trust board Anna East (centre) are, from left: Jane Johns, Bijaya Mishra, Ann Polson and Philip Bellingham.

Hospital bosses have been showing gratitude to their volunteers this week – by stepping into their shoes for the day.

As part of Solihull Hospital’s National Volunteers’ Week celebrations, senior staff including the hospital trust chairman and human resources director, showed their appreciation by spending time working as volunteers.

Chairman Lord Philip Hunt tried his hand at being a porter, non executive director Richard Samuda joined the volunteer meeters and greeters and his colleague David Bucknall lent his services to the pharmacy department.  Director of human resources Mandy Coalter sold cakes with the fundraising volunteers.

A long service awards ceremony and afternoon tea party was also held in recognition of the Hospital’s longest standing volunteers, where vice chairman of the trust board, Anna East, thanked the volunteers for their dedication.

Pic one
Lord Philip Hunt (right), Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust chairman, joins hospital porters Gary Summerfield and Paul Heath.

Among the volunteers at the presentation were members of the chaplaincy team Philip Bellingham, with 10 years of service, and Ann Polson with 15. The chaplaincy team has members from a range of faiths offering support to patients.

Bijaya Mishra, a volunteer in accident and emergency for eight years, said it had “widened her horizons” and Jane Johns, a volunteer  on the orthopaedic ward for eight years, said it had helped her feel part of the community when she moved to the area after living abroad for a long time.

Other celebratory activities at the Hospital included volunteer arts and music displays, cake sales and volunteer workshops where staff could find out more about the valuable roles volunteers play.

Trust Chairman, Lord Philip Hunt, said: “Becoming a volunteer for the day has been a real pleasure. I have met so many dedicated and enthusiastic people, but more importantly, it has been a real eye opener to all that they do. The contribution our volunteers make every single day is invaluable to our patients and our hospitals and I would like to thank personally every single volunteer for sparing the time to help make our hospitals better places to be.”

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer at Solihull Hospital, part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, please email or call 0121 424 5640.

Smokers working at Birmingham Airport are being helped to stub out by Solihull’s very own stop smoking team.

Airport staff wanting to quit the habit will have the opportunity to attend weekly clinics and group sessions, where they will be given helpful advice and top tips and have a chance to ask any questions.

Cathy Sinton, stop smoking advisor for workplaces, said: “Research proves that people are four times as likely to stop smoking and stay off of cigarettes when they have face to face, consistent support. We want to make it as easy as possible for people wanting to quit smoking and our service makes a real difference and offers them just that. By offering our service within a place of work, people feel confident and reassured that they really have support to stop smoking.”

The stop smoking service is part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Heartlands Hospital. Solihull Stop Smoking team runs several clinics for large organisations, including Land Rover, the National Exhibition Centre and National Grid.

To find out more about the stop smoking service, contact Cathy Sinton on 0121 712 7785.

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