Men’s Health Week 2017

From 12-18 June, Spectrum marked Men’s Health Week – a week to focus on health issues which more commonly affect men, and what we can do to reduce risk.

This year’s campaign, led by the Men’s Health Forum, focused on abdominal obesity (belly fat) – this is the most dangerous type of fat, and most often affects men. If you’re male, having a waist size of 37 inches or more could be putting you at greater risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. This is true even if your overall weight is normal; it’s the abdominal fat which is most harmful.

To support the campaign, Men’s Health forum designed a range of free posters and advice which is available on their website.

Spectrum makes the shortlist for Patient Safety Awards

Three Spectrum services have made this year’s shortlist for the Patient Safety Awards, which will be held in Manchester on Tuesday 4 July.

This fantastic achievement exemplifies Spectrum’s commitment to providing high-quality patient care across our community and secure settings.
Our finalists in each category are:

  • HMP & YOI Styal – Clinical Governance and Risk Management
  • Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) – Learning Disabilities
  • North Yorkshire Horizons – Patient Safety in the Community

We’ll be following the Awards on the night and the official shortlist is now available online. Good luck to all our nominees!

Spectrum People join the crowds for Wakefield Armed Forces Day

Charity volunteers from Spectrum People joined community partners and families across the district to celebrate Armed Forces Day in Wakefield on 18 June.

Led by Spectrum People Co-ordinator, Fran Taylor, the team of volunteers organised a book raffle to raise funds for the charity’s community initiatives across Wakefield (including the Café and Chat project, which moves to a new base from 30 June), and were on hand to give out information on the charity’s work supporting vulnerable adults across the district.

Armed Forces Day is one of the most popular community events in the Wakefield district, attracting hundreds of visitors every year. This year, crowds faced temperatures of 29 degrees to take part, enjoying the annual veteran’s parade and a range of dance displays and children’s activities on the hottest day of the year.

Spectrum also offered prevention advice and information on safer drinking, as well as helping to promote the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Spectrum join Changing Lives as new providers for York Drug & Alcohol service

Spectrum Community Health will join national charity Changing Lives as the new providers of drug and alcohol services in York from 1 June.

Spectrum and Changing Lives are already working in partnership on substance misuse services in North Yorkshire and will now take over drug and alcohol services in York, commissioned by the City of York Council.

Dr. Linda Harris, Chief Executive at Spectrum Community Health CIC, said: “We are delighted to be working with an established partner, Changing Lives, with whom we have shared values focused on service users and staff. It’s an exciting prospect to be working with the Council’s vision for drugs and alcohol recovery, which will benefit service users.”

Changing Lives is a national charity specialising in services for vulnerable and socially excluded people. A spokesperson from Changing Lives said:

“We’re delighted to have secured the contract for drug and alcohol services in York.

“Our partnership comprises an established network of professionals and practitioners who are specialists in clinical and psycho-social interventions for people who wish to address their relationship with drugs or alcohol.  The number one priority for City of York Council, Changing Lives and Spectrum, is to ensure that the people who use this service do not experience any disruption to care or treatment.”

Service users will receive a letter from City of York Council this week to explain the change in provider in more detail – contact details for the service will remain the same.

International Nurses Day 2017

Each year, 12 May marks International Nurses Day – a day which commemorates the birth of Florence Nightingale and celebrates the hard work of nurses across the world. The work of our nurses supports Spectrum’s core services in the community and in the health and justice system, providing key patient care across a broad range of specialist areas including:

  • offender healthcare
  • substance misuse
  • mental health
  • sexual health

Spectrum nurses have also been recognised nationally, winning at the Nursing Times Awards 2016 and the BJN Awards 2017.

International Nurses Day celebrates nursing dedication, commitment and excellence at all levels – take part and join the conversation.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

From 8-14th  May, Spectrum is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week. This year’s theme, “Surviving or Thriving?” invites us to consider a wider understanding of mental wellbeing. This week, we’ll be spreading the message on social media about good mental health and sharing helpful tips you can follow at home and at work – including easy steps to boost wellbeing such as eating healthily, sleeping well and building up a support network of friends and family. To find out more, follow Spectrum on Twitter @SpectrumCIC and like our new Facebook page here.

We’re also shining a spotlight on five ways to wellbeing; simple ideas which can change the way you think about mental health.

Five Ways to Wellbeing

  • CONNECT – take the time to talk to people face to face
  • BE ACTIVE – exercise can help relieve stress and keep you focused
  • KEEP LEARNING – learning enhances self-esteem and helps set goals
  • GIVE – Giving to others is an easy way to boost your wellbeing
  • TAKE NOTICE – Be mindful of others and appreciate the moment

Mental health
How would you rate your mental health? The Mental Health Foundation have developed a wellbeing survey to help you give you a snapshot – try it for free to see where you could improve your wellbeing.

Spectrum joins the Wakefield Community Safety Partnership

Spectrum’s Andy Simms has been appointed by Nova to take up the role of third sector representative at the Wakefield Community Safety Partnership (CSP).

Building on Andy’s existing role as a Community Development Practitioner, Andy will support the CSP’s commitment and focus on crime prevention, tackling antisocial behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable people to create safer communities.

This is a wide-ranging voluntary role which will see Andy attending future meetings of the Wakefield Together Partnership and forming a key networking relationship between Nova, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and CSP.

The Community Safety Partnership brings together a wide range of partners, including Public Health authorities, police, the National Probation Service (NPS), WDH and Jobcentre Plus. The Assembly for Wakefield District links groups and organisations to ensure a strong and clear voice for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector (VCSE) locally.

Sign up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Spectrum is working in partnership with Wakefield Council to launch a free book-gifting scheme for families in Airedale and Ferry Fryston on 3 May.

The ‘Dolly Parton Imagination Library’ will launch at Airedale Library on Wednesday 3 May, where eligible families can sign up to receive one free book per month for their baby until the age of five – that’s up to 60 books! Eligible families who come along to the Community Fair at Airedale Library will receive a free ‘Peter Rabbit’ book and be entered into a prize draw, with a chance to win £25 of Mothercare vouchers or an Early Learning Centre gift card.

Cllr Pat Garbutt, Cabinet Member for Health, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Imagination Library to Airedale and Ferry Fryston. Babies love books and it’s never too soon to start reading. Reading with children from a young age builds listening, language and memory skills in a fun way, helping children get ready for school. It is also a great way to entertain and soothe younger children.” Also available at the community fair will be:

  • Rhyme time session
  • Nursery rhyme treasure trail
  • Small world play
  • Tooth brushing and film activities
  • Information about local services for families.

Click to register your baby for the Dolly Parton scheme – you can also call Spectrum on 01924 311400 or visit Airedale Library.

To be eligible for the scheme, babies must be born after 1 September 2016 and live in the Airedale and Ferry Fryston area.

Ageing Well Roadshows launch in Wakefield

Older residents in Wakefield will receive a wealth of tips and advice on staying well in later life through a series of ‘ageing well’ events in May.

Spectrum Community Health has joined Age UK Wakefield District and WDH to launch roadshows promoting healthier lifestyles in later life, including advice and information on gentle exercise, nutrition, safer drinking, minimising the risk of trips and falls and handling nuisance callers. The “Ageing Well” events, aimed at residents aged 55 and over, will take place in community centres at  WDH’s Independent Living Schemes from 2 May.

Andy Simms, Community Alcohol Development Practitioner for Spectrum, will be talking to residents about drinking responsibly. He says: “Statistically, over-65s drink less alcohol than any other age group – which can lead to a belief that older people aren’t at risk from alcohol harms or are less likely to experience problem drinking. However, older people who drink regularly are also at greater risk from falls and injuries, hypertension and strokes than younger drinkers, as well as other alcohol-related illnesses which can worsen over time. The Ageing Well events will be a chance to understand the health impact of alcohol and share information on staying within the safe guidelines.”

Ageing Well: a partnership project

Age UK Wakefield District is supporting the events, which will take place in WDH Independent Living schemes across Pontefract, Castleford, South Kirkby and Wakefield.Sarah Roxby, WDH’s Service Director Wellbeing said: “‘Our vision to create confident communities includes promoting healthy lifestyles and wellbeing to our tenants. We are delighted to be supporting these important events at our independent living schemes to benefit the whole community.’”

Helen Morris, Age UKs engagement lead for Wakefield District, said: “Looking after our health is no less important as we age, and even small lifestyle changes can make a difference in helping older people live better, for longer. “Ageing well” isn’t just about getting older, but about staying active and maintaining physical and emotional wellbeing into later life.”

Throughout the half-day sessions, older residents will also take part in quizzes related to healthy ageing and get the chance to pick up a free goodybag with information about other local services. Local partners will also take part in sessions to raise awareness of fraud and showcase tips on how to spot common telephone scams, which sometimes target the elderly. To find out more about Ageing Well events in your area, email

Spectrum’s Linda treks to Everest

Spectrum’s Chief Executive, Dr Linda Harris, is setting off on a 12-day trekking adventure in April to Mount Everest Base Camp, to raise funds for our charity, Spectrum People.

The strenuous 120km journey will take Linda and her family deep into the beautiful Himalayan landscape, hiking through mountainside villages and ancient monasteries on the way to the foot of the famous peak. After flying out to Kathmandu, Linda’s adventure will begin in the mountain town of Lukla. From there, she will trek across 14 sites to reach the base camp, taking in spectacular scenery in the Sherpa villages before climbing along the icy glaciers of the Lobuche mountain.

The trek to Everest Base camp is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world, undertaken by 40,000 keen adventurers each year. At 5,545 metres, the base camp lies at a higher altitude than many of the world’s highest mountains.

Support Linda’s Challenge

All the funds raised from Linda’s Everest trip will go to support Spectrum People, our charity that provides volunteering and meaningful activities for vulnerable people across the Wakefield District. Over 940 people have engaged with the charity in over 10,000 interactions in the last two years. But we need your help to  keep this level of engagement going.

Many of the vulnerable people supported by the charity have become isolated from communities due to several issues, including homelessness, addiction issues and offending behaviour. Follow Linda’s trip on our social media channels and you can also donate via our campaign page: or directly at JustGiving:

Good luck Linda!