HEALTH and wellbeing of people in Denton is on the up thanks to the work put in by a charity that links professionals to community groups.
Action Together has been operating in the town since January 2018 after GP surgeries found themselves filling up with people who could be helped.
Now after helping pair up those patients with societies and organisations that give them something to do, the benefits are being felt.
Even something as seemingly mundane as a ‘knit and natter’ session can work wonders.
“We’re working on lots of things,” said Chris Moorhouse, community wellbeing officer for what Action Together has nicknamed its ‘DAD team’ – Denton, Audenshaw, Droylsden.
“One of the groups we work with is the bowling club at Victoria Park. Now they’re getting the social side going with things like a walking club and the hub at Victoria Park is used for several things.
“We work with health professionals and GP surgeries. It’s been about making more of a connection between health professionals and community groups.
“Previously, there was nothing there for many people. Lots of people went to their GP with health issues but there was also problems like isolation.
“That’s where we come in as we provide a link. A lot of it is about providing information – or in other words, joining the dots.
“Many of the surgeries in Denton are now on board – and we’re looking at bringing in a gardening project, although that’s still in the early stages.
“At the moment, we get people referred to us then we find a group they can work with near their home – things that get communities together to talk about their wellbeing and wellness, things as simple as coffee mornings.
“And we’re looking to get more referrals from GPs and social workers in the area. Now we’re not chasing them, they’re chasing me.
“I’d say the effect on Denton has been positive since we started working in the town.
“It’s one of those things really. It just clicked, everyone just had to work together and the impact on individuals and community groups has been really positive. It seems to be growing each day.”
Action Together helps by signing groups up for free as long as they are properly constituted and have a bank account, enabling them to apply for grants.
As part of Tameside’s Community Wellbeing Programme, societies can ask for £50 but as much as £25,000.
Operating all across the borough, it has helped organisations grow their membership and offer them the chance to be able to do more, whether it be to develop what they do already or add new things.
And they have positive effects on people, some of whom are seemingly in desperate situations, like a man from Droylsden highlighted by Mr Moorhouse, who works alongside Karen McLauchlan, of Denton West Community Library, in Dane Bank.
He added: “This man was in his late 50s when his mother died and he was isolated. He wouldn’t come out and had never cooked a meal.
“He was really struggling but we funded an event called Place of Welcome. We got him there and he made a few friends – even getting him to a walking football session.
“He was a bit shy about going, so I went with him, now he’s part of the group and is going out socialising with them – just from a few sessions with me taking him down.”