An innovative new project to help improve residents’ health and wellbeing via our public libraries launched last week. More than 700 people, including local GPs, councillors and the Mayor, attended the launch of the new Health and Wellbeing Zones at Morden Library. The zones are now available in all seven of Merton’s libraries, as part of the MindSpace project.
The Health & Wellbeing Zones will give residents access to vital information, exclusive online content, and tech gadgets to help improve their wellbeing. An increased range of health events have also been organised, including exercise classes, yoga and weight management classes to name just a few.
The launch was also a celebration of libraries becoming Be Well hubs. Be Well hubs are being established across South London by the NHS and Citizens UK to help tackle rising levels of mental health issues in the community and to provide safe and non-stigmatised settings for people to talk and get support.
The event at Morden Library brought together a number of the service health and wellbeing partners to showcase the rich offer available to residents across the borough.
Brendan Street, Head of Charity at Nuffield Health, said: “It’s amazing to see it come to life like this. Seeing our people on site is what it’s all about – for our centres and hospital to be able to reach out into Merton’s libraries with a programme of free mental and physical wellbeing support, where increasingly people have turned to as part of the cost-of-living crisis. It was so great to see so many people attend with a joint aim of making life better for all.”
Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, Cabinet Member for Sport and Heritage, said: “Our libraries are some of the most well-used in the country and have extremely high satisfaction rates. Wherever you are in the borough you are never more than a mile from a library and access to all these wonderful services. Our libraries go from strength to strength and this is another example of how we are developing our libraries as hubs for the community where residents can get support on a wide range of topics.”
Dr Annie Murphy, GP Principal, Wide Way Medical Centre, said: “As a local GP, I have heard my patients speak very fondly of the local library and how they often attend the free exercise classes. I am now in a great position to be able to tell my patients about the new Health monitors where they can check their Blood Pressure, Height, Weight and Body Mass Index as well as access some of the free health resources available. This will empower people to take control of their own health, have access to free fitness events and health education to live more active healthier lives. The health monitors and information kiosks with access to NHS and wellbeing websites also help with digital inclusion to enable more people to get online for health information and advice.”
MindSpace services in Merton libraries include specialist health and wellbeing books and information along with technology to assist residents to better manage their health. There are massage chairs for relaxation (in Wimbledon, Mitcham and Morden Libraries), machines to measure your weight, height and BMI, and blood pressure monitors. To find out more visit: www.merton.gov.uk/libraries