Working with the NHS in Lambeth
Using a Health and Belief Grant from London Catalyst and Church Urban Fund, Faiths Together in Lambeth supported short courses on healthy eating, physical activity and mental wellbeing during the period October 2013 - February 2014. The courses were planned and delivered in consultation with partner health professionals in Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.
There were four courses, each of seven sessions, at different centres as follows. The courses were followed by two inter faith events that brought together participants from different courses to share learning and experiences.
- Course 1 – Daily Bread Emmanuel Church, West Dulwich, ran a course designed for young people (aged 11 – 25) dealing with a variety of issues connected with food. This was conceived as one phase of an intended continuing programme on this theme. There were 15 participants from this age group, with an initial community meal and then attendance at individual sessions in the range 5 – 10.
- Course 2 – FAST health and Belief Project FAST (Families Against Stress and Trauma) ran a course at South London Islamic Centre based on a well-established group of mainly Muslim women who meet regularly on a social basis. The course covered physical activities, mental well being and healthy eating with 25 participants at an initial session and then a regular attendance of 20 or more.
- Course 3 – Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Jamyang Buddhist Centre is an organisation with plenty of experience of running courses of various kinds and this was an addition to its programme with an emphasis on the mind-body connection in addressing issues of health and well being. Participants were brought together from varied backgrounds by advertising the course through Jamyang’s networks. Attendance ranged from 8 – 16 with 7 attending all the sessions.
- Course 4 – The Heart of Health, Mind and Belief Muslim Sisters’ Jamaat and Local Initiative for Faith and Environment combined to run this course at Loughborough Community Centre. This was an outreach venture and the first two sessions were taken up in bringing an embryonic group together. There was then a pause due to a bereavement suffered by the key outreach person. The remaining sessions were structured around the ‘five ways to well being’ with 3-5 women participating in each session and 12 participants all together.
Inter Faith Events
- Inter Faith Event No. 1 – courses 2 and 3 16 Muslim women from course 2 visited the Jamyang Buddhist Centre to meet with 9 participants from course 3. There was a highly participative sharing of experiences, a talk by Rabbi Ginsbury of South London (Orthodox) Synagogue and a shared vegetarian lunch.
- Inter Faith Event No. 2 – courses 1 and 4 Finding a mutually convenient time for participants from these two groups to come together very difficult. The event was based mainly on course 1 but included a presentation about course 4. Mini-workshops were facilitated by 5 young participants from course 1 and there were also presentations by teams from the Foodbank and the Soup Kitchen. The lunch menu reflected the healthy eating content of course 1.