East Leeds Health For All (ELHFA) is a healthy living service in Lincoln Green, at the heart of Burmantofts.
The service aims to reduce health inequalities and encourage health improvement. We use a community development approach and engage with local communities and partner organisations to tackle poverty, financial exclusion, unemployment and social isolation. Some of our activities are open to people from across Leeds. We also work with partner organisations who deliver services from our buildings such as Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS) and Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI).
ELHFA run eight different project activities which promote healthier lifestyles and wellbeing. In 2014–15, a total of 623 people (including 318 new service users) engaged in ELHFA activities. 73% of our service users were women and 70% from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Our sexual orientation monitoring has also improved: 46% of all service users in the previous year were unwilling to disclose their sexuality compared to only 7% this year. The service also made a total of 73 referrals to smoking cessation, substance misuse, weight management, health trainers, employment, housing, welfare and mental health services.
Magic Monday– A weekly session aiming to reduce isolation, promoting health and wellbeing. Activities include Zumba classes, Arts and craft, knitting and sewing. Service users benefit from learning new and developing existing skills while socialising and making new friends.
Louis Le Prince Afternoon Club – a weekly session aiming to build confidence for men and women through engaging with various activities including: arts and crafts, cooking healthier meals, weight management, etc. We also provide information, support and advice on how to access services.
Plan to Change– a ten week programme providing peer support for people who have experience of alcohol dependency.
ELHFA provides a safe space and facilitates participants to share personal experiences including triggers (why they drink) and how alcohol affects their personal and social life. In addition to health and wellbeing sessions delivered by Touchstone staff, we invite specialist alcohol services to attend and share information. This year the alcohol group has seen a total of 68 service users (45 men and 23 women).
Men’s Swim and Gym– through the eyes of our volunteer:
My Name is Solomon Allman. I have been a volunteer with Touchstone for about nine months now. I volunteer two days a week. On Wednesdays I volunteer at East Leeds Health For All with the Men’s Swim and Gym Programme.
I was involved with the peer mentor training sessions and assisted in the group activities. After the session we went to the gym where I support those attending with the gym equipment and help to encourage and motivate the group. We then finish the session with a leisurely swim. Since I started volunteering my health and endurance have improved, my waist size has gone down 1.5 inches and I am finding it easier to walk up the hill.
Volunteering with Touchstone has made a positive impact on my life because I am continually learning new things like Mental Health and working in an office environment and peer mentoring. I also benefit physically by using the gym and swimming pool with service users on a weekly basis and I am still enjoying it.
Cook for Life– 4 week-long cooking and healthy eating course for both men and women.
Participants to this group engage in structured group learning on preparing and eating healthy meals. Participants are also supported and encouraged to make lifestyle changes and food shopping habits. They receive tips and tools on smart shopping (eating healthy on a budget) and smart-swap (healthy alternatives to high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt meals).
We also run a women’s swimming group, computer classes as well as a weekly drop-in.
Feedback from service users
“I am very happy with the help and support that I receive from Denise and Maxine. They have given me the support that I need and I have learnt new skills.”
“Very welcoming and fishing out information – This is to do with chatting and listening in a responsible manner. I have been to a lot of AA meetings before. This one fits me perfectly.”
“I think that the ELHFA Support Worker has helped me so much. I cannot thank Denise enough for her hard work.”