This Friday Uxbridge Library offered free health checks to residents aged 17 to 74 as part of Hillingdon Heart month.
The free drop-in health checks and BMI checks were carried out by Brunel pharmacist at the library’s health point on the fourth floor. They were part of a health fair organised each year by Uxbridge library for Hillingdon Heart Month. The health fair programme included activities such as coffee meetings, a healthy heart walk, dementia awareness talks and origami sessions for the elderly, as well as indoor curling games for sports amateurs and parachute games for the under 5.
On the library launch day residents were encouraged to engage with the local groups and charities that were present to get support and advice on their disease. Among these were Hillingdon MIND (Hillingdon Mental Health charity), Hillingdon Brain tumour and injury group, Hillingdon branch of Parkinson’s UK, Hillingdon Stroke association and Prostate cancer UK. These charities are now part of Hillingdon For All, a free health and wellbeing service for Hillingdon residents aged 65 and over. All the libraries in Hillingdon open their doors to residents on Heart Month.
Zoe Iggulden, who is the manager at the Uxbridge library and group manager at Yiewsley and West Drayton libraries, said “Hearth Month has been going on for quite a little while now. We find it very useful to have it in February before Valentines; it’s a good time to think of the heart in another way. This is what we do every year. We bring along all care advisers and providers in the area to assist people on things they didn’t know”.
The library also proposes other social events for the elderly as part of their complete Hearth Month programme. Reading sessions, friend’s’ coffee mornings (for people suffering dementia), Macular support group meetings and IT support sessions are on the agenda. “The library is supposed to be the hub of the community. So we actually provide everything”, Zoe added.
The activities proposed are designed to help residents get together to avoid social isolation. Mary O’Connor, London Borough of Hillingdon health well-being and disabilities champion, who is also chairman trustees of Hillingdon MIND said “social isolation is very prevalent today and it is now classed as a long-term illness. Social engagement is therefore essentially important for older people”.
Griffiths Chanot, 86, resides in a retirement complex in the area. He was one of the many to attend Uxbridge library health fair today; “My wife and I often go to coffee meetings. They are good to socialise”, he said.
Mr. Chanot was not the only one being used to socialise at the library. Zoe Iggulden recalled memorable anecdotes of residents making unforgettable encounters. “We actually had people meeting on the coffee mornings”, she said, “a newly widowed lady, for example, came along one day and didn’t know anyone, moved to the area, got to know a little group and ended up going on holiday together”. “This couple you see next to us met through the visually impaired group and they got married” she added, pointing at a couple walking across the room.
In 2016, many libraries were forced to close down in London as numerous Borough councils decided to cut their local services. Unlike libraries in the other Boroughs, Hillingdon libraries were entirely restored as part of a 10 million pounds investment programme.
Hillingdon residents from any age are always more than welcome to come along and take part in the many activities made available to them. “The oldest lady here will be a hundred years old in May. She has a taxi to bring her and she absolutely loves coming to the library. She gets to see people, talk to people, socialise” commented Zoe Iggulden. “Einstein once said, the only thing you need to know is where your library is which is so true”, she added, “As long as you know where your library is, you can find out anything”.