A community centre is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a special tea party next week - during which it will officially become Wolverhampton's first Healthy Living Hub.

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Low Hill Community Centre, which is believed to have opened its doors for the first time in early 1938, was the first purpose built community hall in the country. It served the local area for the next decade or so, offering a range of services to residents including issuing gas masks during the Second World War.

It became a community association in 1950, with the Kempthorne Avenue facility run by the community, for the community, and over the years has grown to become a central hub for people in Low Hill, The Scotlands and Bushbury. It offers a wide range of activities throughout the week, and recently completed a pilot project to become the city's first Health Living Hub - offering a wealth of health and wellbeing advice and services.

This achievement will be commemorated at Tuesday's tea party (20 November, 2018) by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Phil Page.

Tony Blakeway, manager of Low Hill Community Association, said: "It is great that the community centre has come so far over the years and that is down to the dedication of our volunteers who strive to make our community stronger and better.

"We are delighted to host this event to celebrate our history and to recognise our contribution to improving health and wellbeing of local people in line with what people want and need."

The drive to become a Healthy Living Hub came about thanks to a collaboration between a range of partners, including the community association, pharmacies, local volunteers and the Public Health Team at the City of Wolverhampton Council.

It saw members of the community association teamed up with volunteers from Low Hill Nursery to undertake accredited training through Adult Education Wolverhampton to become qualified health champions.

These health champions are now on hand to help visitors make healthy choices and access services, showing them how to find online support, for instance to help stop smoking or reduce their alcohol consumption, and referring people to appropriate health services such as their GP for an NHS Health Check or community pharmacy for advice on medication or minor ailments.

The Healthy Living Hub has a dedicated health promotion zone, and has already hosted an event to celebrate breastfeeding, while the community centre itself offers a wide range of services, all of which support health and wellbeing in some way. These include an Easy Line gym, employability training, computer classes, health and fitness sessions, martial arts and activities for families and young people such as cooking sessions, art and crafts and dance and drama.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The Healthy Living Hub model enables communities to get involved and help bring about better health outcomes for local residents.

"The initiative at Low Hill is building on the fantastic work already undertaken by the community centre which, for the last 80 years, has provided a focal point for the people of Low Hill, The Scotlands and Bushbury."

The Healthy Living Hub concept is based on the highly successful Healthy Living Pharmacy model already rolled out across Wolverhampton. Over 90% of local pharmacies have secured Healthy Living Pharmacy status, with health champions on hand to give out high quality information and support on a range of issues, including sexual health, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake.

They can also provide health improvement advice to local businesses, schools and community groups, and proactively engage with members of the local community in health promotion.

As is the case with the Healthy Living Pharmacy scheme, community organisations wanting to achieve the Healthy Living Hub quality mark must meet a number of requirements, including having qualified health champions and a dedicated health promotion zone and running and supporting public health campaigns.

Community organisations interested in finding out more about becoming a Healthy Living Hub are asked to contact Riva Eardley, Pharmacy Support Officer at the City of Wolverhampton Council, by emailing riva.eardley@wolverhampton.gov.uk or calling 01902 554208.

For more details about the tea party, taking place on Tuesday 20 November, please call Tony Blakeway on 01902 552312.

  • released: Thursday 15 November, 2018