Health and Homeless
We are the only local charity delivering a dedicated health promotion programme for people who are homeless, working to improve their lifestyles and physical health.
People who are homeless are more vulnerable to chest, heart and stroke illnesses and are often not registered with a GP.
Our aim is to raise awareness of healthy living and reduce cardiovascular and respiratory risk and illness. These services are provided in hostels and drop–in centres, which means health and wellbeing services are more accessible and residents can have access to nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals for medical advice.
The service is currently available to homeless hostels and drop in centres in the Belfast and South Eastern areas. The service particularly prioritises families and young people who are homeless and is funded by the Health and Social Care board in NI.
We engage with the hostel manager, staff and clients to agree the best health plan to suit the differing needs in a flexible way. Hostel workers are also offered heath talks and training to develop a healthy hostel culture.
NICHS could not deliver this programme without the support of homeless organisations such as the Simon Community and others and we are very grateful for their support.
The following tailored support sessions can be arranged in one to one or group sessions:
• Free Health Checks
• Well Talks
• Stop Smoking sessions
• Cook Healthy Stuff and ‘Cook It’ events
• De–stress and pampering package
• Walking Groups
• Staff information and health champion training sessions
To find out more about each session, please click here to download the ‘Health & Homeless’ leaflet.
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.”