More than 1,000 visitors flocked to the 18th Preston Health Mela, which was held in UCLan’s Foster Building on Saturday.Advertisement
The fun, free event had more than 60 stalls offering advice and information from a team of health professionals, including on the spot Health MOTs.
Young visitors developed new caring skills in the Teddy Bears Clinic, explored the mighty inflatable brain and pedalled away to produce their own nutritious drink on the smoothie bike.
Many people took the opportunity to undergo the variety of health checks on offer with 113 people completing the core package in the ‘Health MOT’.
Overall results showed that 23% of those tested showed abnormalities in levels of blood pressure, blood glucose or cholesterol level which indicated the need for further investigation.
Many other checks were completed on hearing, sight and oral health, and all the individuals involved in the tests received personal and confidential advice and counselling from friendly health professionals.
The theme of this year’s Health Mela was partnership, representing the evolving relationship between the National Forum for Health and UCLan.
It was supported by the UCLan Creative Communities Group and its team of volunteer staff, students and community members.
Guest professor Mayur Lakani CBE, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, opened the event to the public, after addressing a capacity crowd of health professionals at a breakfast meeting.
He highlighted the significance of partnerships in health care and identified a number of changes taking place in general practice which would depend on partnership working.
Taking up this point, UCLan’s Professor Lynne Livesey emphasised the role UCLan was eager to play in these developments, not only in relation to health sciences but also more widely across IT, engineering and other disciplines.
Professor Lakhani said: “I want to congratulate the organisers of the Preston Health Mela for putting on an outstanding event.
“It is clear to me that Preston is leading the way in health and wellbeing and in creating a wide range of effective partnerships with its communities and institutions such as UCLan.
“Thanks also to all the many volunteers who made this a great success with much on offer and practical relevant content.”
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The Mayor of Preston, Cllr Trevor Hart, also attended the event, along with Sir Mark Hendrick, MP for Preston.
Cllr Hart said: “I was delighted to support the Health Mela event hosted by UCLan, such a good informative and useful event that gets bigger and better every year.
“This event both informs, supports, provides practical help and insight to all who attend. Good key note speakers that were forward thinking followed by so many advice agencies and the free health check that gave instant results all made up an exceptional event.”
Professor Romesh Gupta OBE, Chair of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing, said: “When our series of Health Melas began eighteen years ago, we believed that there was real positive energy focused on the promotion of community wellbeing that could be released by bringing together in the Health Mela, a mixture of NHS, voluntary and community organisations in a joyful and informal celebration of healthy living.
“As each year has passed, we have seen this belief confirmed and amplified beyond our imagination.
“My heartfelt thanks to all the organisations and individuals who have worked so hard with us over the years to achieve our aim of healthier and happier communities. We look forward to many more years of developing partnership working.”
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UCLan Honorary Fellow Russell Hogarth, Community Ambassador and Chair of the Creative Communities Group (CCGUK), added: “Throughout the day, we received comments and feedback from visitors saying, ‘this was the best Health Mela they had attended’ and it was inspirational to hear the guest speakers and the comments from the audience at the breakfast lecture.”