Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke
Health and Homeless

People who are homeless are more vulnerable to chest, heart and stroke illnesses and are often not registered with a GP. That’s why there is a need for our Health and Homeless service, which works with people living in hostels and assisted living accommodation, and with the staff who have daily contact with them.

The numbers of those who found themselves homeless in Northern Ireland increased during 2015/16.

Relationship breakdown, poverty and a lack of other essential needs such as housing, jobs, money, social support and mental health were some of the causes. Many of our clients had expressed an interest in learning wellbeing techniques and cited stress and poor sleep as key areas of concern. We worked with them and others to develop a short leaflet and CD to help people to sleep and relax.

 

What Users and Deliverers of the Service Say:

Jim B., a resident at a hostel in north Belfast, was delighted with the results and said:

“To be this relaxed is fantastic for me and I feel I have learned a lot about sleep and how important it is for my physical and mental health.”

Julie Clark, a Senior Support Worker at Life Hostel, said:

“Some of the girls have begun to change some of their eating and shopping habits since commencing the programme which is fantastic.”

Laura Kennedy, a Cook It Dietician, came along to provide support during the final session, which focused on foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar, hidden fats and sugar and also nutritional labelling. Laura said:

“At the end of the session the girls all said they really enjoyed the programme and were delighted when presented with certificates of completion.”

 

Our Aim

We worked with service users and hostel workers to develop three recipe books to suit different skills, need and budget:

  • Cook Healthy Stuff – for those wanting to cook healthily for a healthy lifestyle
  • Store Cupboard Recipes – for those who want to cook healthily on a budget
  • Mediterranean Diet – for those who want to create heart healthy meals

We delivered our Health & Homeless Programme in 36 hostels through 127 visits which benefited 858 people. Of the 858, 483 (56.2%) were male and 375 (43.7%) female, with 221 being from ethnic minorities.

Our aim is to raise awareness of healthy living and reduce cardiovascular and respiratory risk and illness. The following one–off and tailored support sessions can be arranged:

• Health Checks

• ‘Choose Healthy Stuff’ Talks

• Stop Smoking sessions

• Healthy Eating and ‘Cook It’ events

• De–stress and pampering sessions

• Walking Groups

• Staff information sessions

These services are provided in hostels and drop–in centres, which means health and well being services are more accessible and residents can have access to nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals for medical advice.

All personnel engaged in the programme are fully trained in their field and have a vast amount of experience of working in the area of homelessness.

health-and-homeless

To find out more about each session, please click here to download the‘Health & Homeless’ leaflet.

You can contact our Health & Homeless Service Co–ordinator Sarah Perry on 0771 287 7744 or at sperry@nichs.org.uk