Millions in Britain at risk of poor-quality later life, report says

A landmark report on the state of ageing in Britain has warned that a significant proportion of people are at risk of spending later life in poverty, ill-health and hardship.

Britain is undergoing a radical demographic shift, with the number of people aged 65 and over set to grow by more than 40% in two decades, reaching more than 17 million by 2036. The number of households where the oldest person is 85 or over is increasing faster than any other age group.

But although we are living longer than ever before, the report warns that millions risk missing out on a good later life due to increasing pressure on health and care services, local authorities, the voluntary sector and government finances.

“Ageing is inevitable but how we age is not. Our current rates of chronic illness, mental health conditions, disability and frailty could be greatly reduced if we tackled the structural, economic and social drivers of poor health earlier,” said Dr Anna Dixon, the chief executive at Centre for Ageing Better.

The Centre for Ageing Better’s report, The State of Ageing in 2019, warns that today’s least well-off over-50s face far greater challenges than wealthier peers and are likely to die younger, become sicker earlier and fall out of work due to ill-health.

To read more about the report, click on the Guardian article here.

We’re here to help you

Tomorrow sees the first International Social Prescribing Day organised by the Social Prescribing Network.

Haven’t lost you yet? Good, because Living Well Sefton is celebrating by showing you what is just around the corner in Sefton to make you feel better about yourself. All will be revealed at the end of this article.

In the meantime, what does social prescribing actually refer to?

It sounds rather clinical but it is about signposting people to a range of local, non-clinical services and activities. This is because having positive mental wellbeing is as important as having good physical health.

For example, where you live, how you live and who you live, work and socialise with, all impact on your health and wellbeing. Pointing people in the direction of different activities such as cooking, gardening, crafting, volunteering and walking can improve their lifestyle – and outlook on life.

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The Sunshiners Group

International Social Prescribing Day represents the first annual international celebration of social prescribing. Clinicians, allied healthcare professionals, community groups, voluntary organisations, patients, medical schools, academics, and students across the UK and world will host a series of events and activities across the globe to raise awareness of social prescribing in people of all ages.

Dr Marie Polley, co-founder of The Social Prescribing Network and Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences at the University of Westminster, said: “Raising awareness of social prescribing for professionals and the public is a crucial next step now that social prescribing has been included as part of the future NHS.”

In Sefton, we have a thriving voluntary, charity and faith (VCF) sector with numerous organisations and groups geared up to bring out the best in people.

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Outdoor groups can boost wellbeing

Living Well Sefton has links with many VCF partners and they have been helping people find their goals in a way that works for them. This may be stopping smoking, getting out more, or taking up a new hobby.

If you live in the Southport area the Brighter Living Partnership has lots of groups and courses to choose from whether you’re interested in gardening, learning to cook delicious recipes or catching up with friends in the Sunshiners group.

For those in the Netherton area, there is the Feelgood Factory which has its own green space nearby for growing vegetables, fruits and herbs as well as daily groups such as craft, reading, yoga as well as  walking football and stress clinics.

While those living in the Bootle area can pop in to the May Logan centre and try out their social walking club, gardening group, groups for older people and the free health checks they provide at the Strand By Me shop.

Whatever it is, Living Well Sefton and all its various partners are here to support you. Give us a call on 0300 323 0181 or refer into our service via the website home page.

Download the Social Prescribing Leaflet

For more reading on social prescribing click here:

Find new friends in Sefton

Throughout Sefton’s Year of Friendship, Sefton Council is dedicated to tackling loneliness by ensuring residents are aware of the many groups and activities on offer throughout the borough.

If you’re suffering from loneliness or feeling socially isolated, the most difficult thing can often be making those first steps towards making new friends.

Sefton CVS’ Community Connectors organise a weekly coffee morning at The Frank Hornby (Wetherspoons) in Maghull. The coffee morning is there for anyone aged 18 or over who feels lonely or isolated to pop along and have a hot drink with some new friends. It is also open to anybody who would like to offer a helping hand.

The coffee mornings take place every Wednesday from 10am to 12pm with hot drinks available for £1.25 with free refills. For more information call 0151 920 0726 or email

The Connectors have also set up a ‘Community Connector Corner’ at Waterloo Community Centre’s Community Kitchen following the success of the Year of Friendship’s launch event at the venue earlier this year. The Community Kitchen is open to all and takes place every Thursday from 12pm with lunch starting from £3.Sefton-Year-of-Friendship-1.05-275x300

Sefton OPERA (Older Persons Enabling Resource & Action) also hosts an extensive timetable of weekly social inclusion groups including tea dances, arts and crafts, swimming and IT workshops.

On the first Wednesday of every month, ‘Beating Loneliness Together’ is held at the Royal Hotel in Waterloo to bring local residents together to enjoy a new activity each month along with a cuppa and a biscuit.

Men are invited to attend ‘Men behaving brilliantly’ every Tuesday from 1pm to 2.30pm at Sefton Opera’s HQ in St Matthews Church, Bootle. The group is run by men for men and includes quizzes, darts, cards, board games, Tai Chi and days out.

If you, or somebody you know, is lonely but unable to get out and about, befriending services can arrange for somebody to pay a visit.

Volunteer befrienders to come and visit someone who is socially isolated in their own home, accompany them to an activity including shopping or just meet up for a coffee and a chat. There are a number of befriending services in Sefton including:

It’s also worth getting in touch if you feel like you could make a difference in somebody’s life as a befriending volunteer.

If you’re aware of any services or activities that promote friendships and work towards tackling social isolation, please send the details to

Public Health England publishes air pollution evidence review

Public Health England (PHE) has today, Monday 11 March 2019, published a review of evidence on how to improve air quality in the United Kingdom.

The review informs local and national government on actions to improve outdoor air quality and health.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, with between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure. There is strong evidence that air pollution causes the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and lung cancer, and exacerbates asthma.

Professor Paul Cosford, Director of Health Protection and Medical Director at PHE, said:

Now is our opportunity to create a clean air generation of children, by implementing interventions in a coordinated way. By making new developments clean by design we can create a better environment for everyone, especially our children.

Key interventions local authorities can take include:

  • promoting a step change in the uptake of low emission vehicles – by setting more ambitious targets for electric car charging points, as well as encouraging low emission fuels and electric cars
  • boosting investment in clean public transport, as well as foot and cycle paths to improve health
  • redesigning cities so people aren’t so close to highly polluting roads
  • discouraging highly polluting vehicles from entering populated areas – for example, with low emission or clean air zones

This work could involve designing wider streets, or considering using hedges to screen against pollutants when planning new infrastructure.

Professor Cosford said:

We recommend that at a local level, any new policy or programme of work which affects air pollution should aim to deliver an overall benefit to the public’s health.

So transport and urban planners will need to work together, with others involved in air pollution to ensure that new initiatives have a positive impact.

Decision makers should carefully design policies, to make sure that the poorest in society are protected against the financial implications of new schemes.

National government policy can support local actions by creating the right incentives. These include policies which promote vehicles with low exhaust emissions or allow controls on industrial emissions in populated areas to take account of health impacts.


Public Health England was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to review the evidence for effective air quality interventions, and provide practical recommendations for actions to improve air quality.

PHE’s review built on the Air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in UK (2017) from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

The review also built on Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health (2017), published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which focussed on transport related interventions – to include other pollutants and reviews of interventions in industry, agriculture, transport and planning and behavioural change.

PHE’s review supported the development of Defra’s final Clean Air Strategy published in January 2019.

Dementia event planned

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service are hosting a dementia information event on Monday 11 March from 2pm until 5pm at Southport Fire Station, Manchester Road, Southport.

Anyone affected by dementia is welcome to attend, whether you are living with it yourself, you are a carer, family member or know someone with this condition. There will be information and support from relevant health services and voluntary sector services.

Refreshments will be available and there will also be the opportunity to speak with mental health nurses, other healthcare professionals and the fire service.
Plus why not try some of the complementary therapies provided by Sefton OPERA (Older Persons Enabling Resource & Action)?


Do you know a good citizen?

Sefton 4 Good and the Mayor of Sefton’s Office are opening the latest round of Citizens 4 Good nominations – a recognition scheme that aims to highlight the good deeds, kindness and support that local people provide to other members of their community.

Anyone can make a nomination for someone they think deserves to be recognised. With 2019 being Sefton’s Year of Friendship, people are being encouraged to nominate those who have been outstanding friends and neighbours.

To complete a nomination online fill in the form via the Sefton CVS website. Nominations for the scheme are now open, closing date is Monday 11th March 2019.

Recipients at a previous Citizens 4 Good awards event

Sefton launches major bid for Future High Street funding

Sefton Council is bidding for a slice of the £675m Future High Street Fund with bids planned for both Southport and Crosby.

The Future High Street Fund was announced in last November’s budget and aims to support and fund local areas’ plans to make their high streets and town centres fit for the future.

In this first round, Sefton will include bids for both Crosby village and Southport town centre and builds upon the council’s ambitions for its town centres encapsulated within its agreed regeneration frameworks and 2030 Vision.

The Future High Street Fund aims to help councils, their communities and the private sector work in partnership to develop and sustain town centres to enhance their vitality and viability.  The fund also includes the opportunity to bid for part of a £55m Heritage High Street Fund.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Skills and Regeneration, said: “Building on Sefton’s ambitions for its town centres, we are aiming to submit two bids to the Future High Street Fund for both Southport town centre and Crosby Village to help sustain them for the future. The bids will also support Sefton’s and the City Region’s ambitions for future growth.

“For Southport this will build upon Sefton’s success in securing around £10m of Heritage Lottery and Coastal Communities Funding for King’s Gardens, Southport Pier and the recently announced Townscape Heritage Scheme.

“For Crosby this will build on the significant private sector funding by St Modwen into the village centre. If successful, Sefton Council will continue to work in an inclusive way with private sector and community sector partners.”

Formal stage 1 bids for both projects will be made in the coming months with further details issued in due course.

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Health and wellbeing event to help those affected by cancer

Southport Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre will be holding its first ‘Health and Wellbeing event’ of the year on Thursday 14 March and anyone who has been affected by cancer, whether directly or through supporting someone, is invited to come along.

The centre, a joint partnership set up by Macmillan and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is holding the event in partnership with Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, at the Royal Clifton Hotel in Southport from 2pm to 4.30pm.

On the day there will be lots of information stalls for people to visit and access support from cancer nurse specialists, support groups and other key organisations. There will be a talk at 3.15pm by Kate Wilson from Access Sefton about talking therapies and emotional wellbeing.

There will also be a mindful movement taster session at the event, Boots mini pamper sessions and hand massages by Sefton OPERA throughout the afternoon.

Dr Graeme Allan, Macmillan GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG cancer clinical lead, said: “These events are ideal for people to come along and meet others who have had a similar experience. It is always useful to share and the hope is that there may be an activity or group out there that suits an individual’s needs, so you might go away with an idea of what we can help you with. It’s a friendly and informative event and everyone is very welcome.”

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Southport Macmillan team   

Sonia Holdsworth, Macmillan Partnership Quality Lead for Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “We saw over 150 people at the last event and we hope to see even more this time, they are always a great success and the more people we can support the better.

“The feedback we get is that people enjoy meeting others they can chat to, whether that be other patients, clinical nurse specialists or someone from a support group. Many people who come to the centre or one of our events have joined one of the support groups such as the walking, cycling or craft group, which they feel is another good way to meet others and get out and about during or after treatment.”

Elaine Deeming, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust’s lead cancer nurse, said: “We’re delighted to continue to build on the success of previous health and wellbeing clinics. The events provide access to the wide range of services available locally in one venue, making it easier for our attendees.”

The Health and Wellbeing events aim to support people in adjusting to life with and beyond cancer by providing information on the wide range of services which are available locally as well as healthy living activities.

Anyone affected by cancer, either recently or in the past, as well as family and friends supporting others are welcome to book onto this free event.

The events are friendly and educational with the opportunity for visitors to chat to cancer nurse specialists, key organisations and support groups. The Macmillan Singing Group will also be performing on arrival, to welcome people to the event.

You can watch a video from the last event here:

The Health and Wellbeing events are free of charge and refreshments are provided, but booking is essential. To book onto the next event please call 01704 533024 or email:

For more information about the work of the Macmillan Information and Support Centre on Stanley Street in Southport, please see the website:

Should every worker have a 75-minute lunch break?

Schoolchildren should have at least 75 minutes of breaktime every day, say a group of MPs. Most schools, according to a report by the all-party parliamentary group on a fit and healthy childhood, have cut lunch and breaktimes, which has a negative impact on pupils’ concentration, health and social skills. This begs a question: if children need more than an hour of downtime a day, what about us adults?

The amount of time people take as breaks during the working day seems to be going down. If we do have some time off, it is for lunch. But that is often spent eating a sandwich at our desk, catching up on work. If we are lucky, we get a “working lunch” – an unholy mashup of a meeting and a lunch hour.

But research shows that not taking time off during the day is a big mistake. People who have proper breaks are more productive, less stressed, less likely to burn out and sleep better.

Another major benefit of taking a break is that it gives staff an opportunity to build up informal social networks. One study found that employees of a bank who took breaks together tended to be more productive. Even taking a short break is good for us. An investigation of people working at computers found that taking a break of a few minutes every 20 or 40 minutes significantly reduced strains and pains in their neck and shoulders.

We are not productive for eight hours a day. A recent analysis of more than 2 million users of a task-management software found that people tend to be very productive in the morning and peak at 11am. It also noticed that productivity tapered off rapidly after about 4pm.

Breaks are a vital part of a productive working day, so maybe we should follow schoolkids and ensure we take a set amount of time off. But what is most important is that those breaks are genuine: that we either chat to colleagues or do something relaxing, such as taking a nap. If we don’t, it is likely that we will end up taking clandestine social media breaks, which do nothing to refresh and relax us.

*article by Andre Spicer, taken from Guardian News, Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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