London Borough of Croydon

Edition 2 – Summer 2018

Welcome to our second Live Well Alliance newsletter

We are pleased to welcome you to our summer Live Well Alliance newsletter.  Our spring edition outlined the overall aims of the Live Well Croydon programme and how we are providing support to Croydon’s residents who are looking to make healthy lifestyle choices.  If you didn’t get a chance to read our first newsletter it can be found at or you can contact us and we will send you a copy.

In this newsletter we will update you on how we are doing across the borough, share some of our successes, highlight some hints and tips for a healthier lifestyle and introduce you to some of our wider team in Active Lifestyles. The team provides Croydon’s residents with local opportunities to promote good health through our parks, open spaces, sport and physical activity. We will also take a closer look at one of the local services we signpost some of our clients to.

How are we doing so far?

Since November 2016 we’ve had over 28,000 people access the JustBe Croydon website which includes people completing the Health MOT and those being signposted to information and resources to help them improve their health and well-being. We have now have 1,250 residents being supporting through the Just Live Well face to face 12-month journey, helping them to tackle unhealthy behaviours.  The greatest achievement so far has been in smoking cessation where an impressive 74% of residents have managed to give up their cigarettes.

Shisha – the facts

Shisha smoking (also called water pipe, hookah or hubble bubble smoking) is a growing trend around London especially with younger people.  shisha

It is a way of smoking a variety of substances including tobacco through a bowl with a hose or tube joined on.  The tube has a mouthpiece that the smoker uses to breath in the smoke.

It originated in Middle East and parts of Asia and is often viewed as a social pastime to relax without the presence of alcohol.

There are many myths around the safety of smoking shisha which may encourage younger people to use them. On the next page some of the facts about the dangers of shisha.

Fact 1

Smoking shisha is just as damaging to your health as smoking cigarettes. The flavourings and sweeteners only disguise the harmful ingredients in the tobacco.

Fact 2

The water in the shisha pipe does not filter out harmful chemicals and you are still exposing yourself and those around you to these chemicals. The water cools the smoke making it less irritating but not less harmful.

Fact 3

Smoking shisha tobacco is just like smoking cigarettes. They both contain nicotine, which is addictive. Herbal non-tobacco based mixtures can also be used however many of these are not regulated and can contain a number of chemicals that could still be toxic when inhaled.

Fact 4

Smoking shisha can damage your health and the health of those around you. Passive smoking through second hand smoking can cause lung cancer in adults. Non-smokers can be exposed to second hand smoke which contains tobacco and other substances from the heat source such as the burning of charcoal.

Fact 5

Smoking herbal shisha is not safer as it usually contains tobacco. Even if you use tobacco-free shisha, you’re still at risk from carbon monoxide and any toxins in the coal or charcoal used to burn the shisha. Second hand smoke is also a risk to health when smoking herbal shisha.

Fact 6

The water within the pipe creates a damp vapour which may help transport diseases and there are recorded cases of Hepatitis A and Tuberculosis and Herpes being transmitted from person to person via shisha.

Lyneth's inspiring story

Lyneth first came to the Just Live Well service in January 2018 and her goal was to lose weight. Her motivators included a family history of long term conditions and a recent visit to the doctor confirming she was at risk to Type 2 Diabetes, as her blood sugars were high. Her initial assessment with Susan, one of the Live Well Advisors, involved setting SMART goals towards weight loss and together they discussed what may prevent her achieving this goal as well as how to problem solve through these potential obstacles.  lyneth

Susan provided Lyneth with leaflets on nutrition and physical activity to help her progress. She made use of the drop-in health hubs located through the borough visiting Susan regularly for drop-ins. At her 3 month appointment, she was delighted to let Susan know that she’d dropped from a size 20 to a size 16 and that her blood sugars had returned to normal. She was so pleased about her progress and thankful to our service.

Lyneth said that she read the materials, made recipes from the booklets and also reduced her portion sizes for her meals. Additionally, she does not skip meals anymore, eats according to the Eat Well Guide and has incorporated 30 mins of walking daily. In her words; “It was nice to have someone here to give good advice, booklets, accountability, encouragement and a smile on her face”. Lyneth is continuing to exercise and eat well to remain healthy and maintain her blood sugar levels and we are all looking forward to seeing her progress at her 6-month appointment.

Healthy eating on a budget

Here are some ideas to help you eat well and spend less.

Cut down meat: Meat, though nutritious can be pricey. There are many other protein sources detailed on the Eat Well Guide that you can have. Why not try swapping meats for pulses (chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans) and vegetables. For example, when making a curry, you could replace the meat with chickpeas and add some frozen vegetables.

Shop at the right time: Ask supermarket staff what time they reduce fresh food prices so you can grab a bargain. Make sure you use the food within the date of expiry or freeze for later use.

Buy loose fruit and vegetables: Loose fruit and vegetables at supermarkets tend to be cheaper compared to cellophane wrapped produce. And don’t forget the markets around Croydon including the daily market at Surrey Street. The NHS recommend we consume at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetable a day, so stock up on produce such as potatoes, apples, tomatoes and pears.

Grow your own: Another great way to save money is to grow your own fruit and vegetables. You can have fresh, seasonal produce all year round and there is a real sense of achievement. It can be done in your garden, balcony, or even in a Croydon allotment.

Multipurpose meals: It is a good idea to make meals with similar ingredients. For example, you can use your leftover vegetables from your evening meal to make a healthy wrap for lunch the next day.

Croydon PrideFest 2018

By Michael Doogan, Live Well Officer

Croydon PrideFest 2018 was a celebration of diversity and inclusivity of all walks of life. People came together in Wandle Park to enjoy music, food, dance and a sense of Croydon Pridefest 1 belonging. Along with the many food and drink stalls, Croydon Council worked alongside partner organisations such as Croydon Talking Therapies and Turning Point to promote some of the lifestyle and health related services available in Croydon.

While the sexual health team provided education workshops and HIV and chlamydia screening I was able to chat to residents about the Live Well Croydon programme including the JustBe Croydon website where you can find information on healthy lifestyle choices, the Health MOT where you can check your health and Just Live Well (the face-to-face service).

It was fun to learn about the unique backgrounds of Croydon residents and also to provide them with information on the different aspects of the Live Well Croydon programme and how it can help benefit their health and wellbeing.  This includes quitting smoking, being more active, eating better, drinking sensibly, having healthy sexual relationships and improved mental wellbeing. As Croydon Pridefest 2 well as being able to chat to residents, I was able to make valuable contacts with other Council Services and external organisations. I felt that one of the most useful aspects of the day was the opportunity to talk to younger people in Croydon and inform them about the services available to help keep them healthy and happy.

Overall a great day and I'm looking forward to 13 July for PrideFest 2019.

Meet Mike – the Live Well Officer

meet mike

Mike is based in Bernard Weatherill House in central Croydon and is the first point of contact for most of the Just Live Well clients. 

Where are you from?

Cardiff, Wales

Where were you working before you came to Croydon?

I was working and living in Harlem, New York City as a health and wellbeing manager where I was involved in a health education programme to improve young people’s eating habits and increase their physical activity levels.

What is your favourite thing about Croydon?

It is quite easy to get to most places in Greater London as well as the south coast, for a wee break away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Martial Arts, running, weight training and rock climbing. Discovering new pizzerias and places to have brunch.

Do you have any funny stories or unusual skills?

As a young lad, Sarah Jessica Parker invited me to sit next to her in an Irish pub to watch a travelling dance act as I couldn’t see the dancers easily. Her husband- Matthew Broderick, was quick to inform me that was actually his seat when he returned from the bar and so I had to go back to sit with my family!

What do you miss most about home?

Having moved around a lot home has changed quite a bit. I don’t miss home as such but I do look forward to catching up with friends and family.

What is your job involve?

As the Live Well Officer, I am mainly involved in triaging clients onto the Live Well programme and booking appointments for them. Generally speaking; programme coordination and support.

What is a typical day?

Answer queries from clients and from the public, book appointments for clients, weekly and monthly reporting on the progression of the programme and general monitoring and evaluation. I also get involved in the drop-in Health Hubs, attend events and promote the service via social media.

In 5 years’ time where do you see yourself?

I’d like to be working in public health as a project/programme manager.

In the Autumn Newsletter you will get to meet Shirley, the Live Well Programme Manager.

Five medal wins for Team Croydon in the 2018 London Youth Games

School games

A team of young Croydon sportspeople achieved five medal wins and sixth place overall against 33 other borough teams, in this year’s London Youth Games Jubilee Trophy competition.

Held last weekend at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, the finals of the London Youth Games is the climax of Europe’s largest youth sports festival. It takes place over nine months with events across more than 30 different sports from archery to weightlifting.

The council-supported team scored 1082 points in total – just one point short of a top five ranking overall. The winning team was from Bromley, with 1212 points.

Croydon’s girls swim team and the ParaGames boys swim team won gold, the Aquathlon and ParaGames girls’ athletics teams picked up silver, and Boccia competitors bronze.  Team Croydon’s efforts resulted in being them placed among the top 10 teams in 23 sports, and within the top five in another 18.

Competitions whittled 2,000 Croydon 9-18 year olds down to more than 400 who competed throughout the festival, culminating in 120 competing during the Jubilee Trophy finals.

The council’s Active Lifestyles team act as the borough’s team organiser role for the Games, and the team’s entry was also sponsored by the council’s leisure centre operator GLL.

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport added his congratulations“Croydon’s young sportspeople have done the borough proud. Their efforts will be an inspiration to all, demonstrating not only sporting prowess but the benefits of healthy active lifestyles.  Well done to all involved – and I hope to see some of them competing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020!”

Focus on Walks in Croydon

Croydon is one of the greenest boroughs in London with 127 parks and open spaces and has some beautiful places to walk, run and explore across the borough.  To help get people more active in some of these spaces there is a weekly programme of health walks and a number of guided nature walks

The walks are free and everyone is welcome. Many of the walks start near tram stops, toilets and cafes.  If you want some more information or hard copies of the leaflets you can contact us at:

Signposting to Croydon Talking Therapies (IAPTs)

An overview of service and details of how to refer

As part of the Just Live Well service we often come across residents who need a greater level of support for their mental wellbeing than we can offer.  When this happens we will signpost them to existing services who can provide that support.  One of the services we signpost to regularly is Croydon Talking Therapies (IAPTS. They are a free and confidential NHS service provided by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and offer a range of psychological therapies to adults 18 years and over, who are registered with a Croydon GP.

IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) is a national programme that was created in 2005 after it was recognised that a very large percentage of the population suffer with problems like depression and anxiety at some point in their lives. Each county and London borough have their own local IAPT service that provides evidence based treatment for common problems like these.

What to expect

To begin with, clinicians at Croydon Talking Therapies (IAPT) will speak with the resident about their current difficulties and will carefully consider if the service is right for them. Initial brief assessments usually take place over the phone and can provide interpreters if needed. If the service is not best suited to meet their needs they will be put in touch with another service that can provide information on services so that residents can make their own choice.

Is urgent help needed?

This not an emergency service and are not able to help with crisis situations. If a resident needs immediate help they should contact either their GP or go to the Accident and Emergency Department of your local hospital (24hrs).

Alternatively, if they’re experiencing a crisis and need a person talk things through with, they can call the Samaritans 24 hour helpline on 116123 or email

How can we work together?

In the most part building effective partnerships is the key to developing and delivering good services. We are great fans of collaboration and want to develop our network of partners to reach the heart of our communities and promote healthy living to all residents across the borough. For us it is also important to increase our knowledge of what other services are available for the people of Croydon as health is very much inter-related with wider lifestyle aspects.  We believe that by working together we can improve the lives of those living in Croydon by providing the appropriate support and information whether it is help to stop smoking, hints and tips on weight loss or signposting and referral to organisations who can provide advice and help with other issues such as housing, debt management, employment and all the other issues that affect our lives.

We can continue to build on our current engagement by:

  • providing you with our promotional materials such as posters, leaflets and “Prescription Pads”
  • attending community events to promote our service
  • coming along to team meetings to explain to staff and volunteers what we do to help them signpost to the Live Well programme and also for us to learn more about your services
  • provide material for any newsletters or bulletins you produce and circulate
  • hearing your ideas for how we can better engage with the communities you support

How to get in touch with us

Telephone: 020 8604 7719
Health MOT:
Facebook – JustBe Croydon
Twitter: @JustBeCroydon


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