My Health and Happiness

My Health and Happiness was our theme for day 2 of Preparing for Adulthood Week.

We focused on health services, healthy living, wellbeing, and community-based activities. We heard from professionals on their expertise and advice, including speakers from the Be Well team and the Community Learning Disability service. Parent / carers and young adults shared their lived experiences, transitioning from childhood to adulthood. There was also a live question and answer segment.

The day was split into two live events - a lunchtime session (1pm until 2pm) aimed directly at young people and an evening session (6.30pm until 7.30pm) aimed at parent / carers.

Watch the My Health and Happiness session

My Health and Happiness lunchtime session

My Health and Happiness evening session

Guest speakers

Mike Fulford

Mike Fulford

Mike is our first speaker at the lunchtime and evening Health and Happiness themed session. Mike has worked at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as a community learning disability nurse for over 14 years.

He'll start the My Health and Happiness session by speaking about the Community Learning Disability Teams service.

Matt McQuillan

Matt is a Disability Officer for Be Well at Wigan Council. Matt is joining us at the lunchtime session, speaking about accessible sports programmes, followed by a seated stretch activity that everyone can join in with.

Matt manages programmes for individuals with a disability to support them to become and remain active. This involves delivery of 1-1 support in exercise and targeted group sessions in activities such as wheels for all, swimming and gym workouts.

Tom and Joanne

Tom Barrow and his mum, Joanne

We are thrilled that Tom Barrow and his mum Joanne will be joining us as guest speakers in our evening session. Tom has a number of physical disabilities but lives a full and happy life with the support of Personal Assistants in care. They will be sharing their lived experience of health services and Tom's transition to adulthood.

Joanne Barrow lives in Wigan, Greater Manchester. She is the parent to three adult children. Her youngest son Tom has the support of Personal Assistants in care. She is chairperson of Embrace Wigan and Leigh, an organisation which provides support to disabled people and their families.

Joanne explains the difference Personal Assistants in care have made to her family.

"Tom, my son, is a 24-year-old young man, he has an amazing sense of humour and loves a bit of banter. He is obsessed with premier league football and watches Wigan Athletic. He loves going to the gym, is part of a gaming circle, attends a community art group and a media college. As I write my story, Tom is making cards for people who are isolating, with messages of support, telling them people are thinking of them.

"The cards will be included in bags containing items such as clay key rings, painted pebbles, and dream catchers the Busy Bees craft group has made. Supporting the community makes him feel good. Tom also happens to have a number of significant physical disabilities as a result of a genetic disorder.

"He has a tracheotomy, is peg fed, is on ventilation at night and is a wheelchair user. He has 24/7 care needs. However, his needs are well managed in the community. His medical condition doesn’t stop him from living a full and happy life - he has only had one hospital admission in the last 12 years. 

"We put this down to the personalised care he receives, which means the NHS provides him with an amount of money to support his health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between him and our Wigan NHS team. It allows him to manage his healthcare and support such as physio, treatments, equipment, and personal care, in a way that suits him and our whole family.

"Tom’s personal health budget funds a diverse team of Personal Assistants (PAs) in care. They keep Tom healthy and safe, enabling him to be part of his community and to follow his interests and stay busy. Tom couldn’t be as independent as he is if he didn’t have their support.

"Tom’s PAs help him to do all the things he loves. During the pandemic they have supported him virtually, especially when he was shielding, on cooking, craft, and computer circles. Previously, they would accompany him to the football and gym, and his other clubs. All while keeping him safe by attending to his care needs. We always knew his team was great but last summer, when he had that one hospital admission, the nurses were really impressed by the level of care and support his PAs provide. This was a real boost for me.

"I have four young grandchildren now and having the confidence in Tom’s staff team has meant I can spend time with them. There are so many more people across Greater Manchester who need the support of Personal Assistants in care.

"If you’re a caring person looking for a unique, flexible role, where you can really make a difference, I’d urge you to think about becoming a PA for someone who needs support to live happy and healthily. You’ll make a massive difference to their life, and they will, I’m sure, have a positive impact on yours."

Dr Liam Hosie

Dr Liam Hoise

Dr Hosie is our next guest speaker and works as a Wigan borough GP. He'll be speaking about general practice, primary care and annual health checks.

Liam has been a GP in central Wigan for 16 years, at a very busy town centre practice. He has worked for the last 10 years as cancer lead GP for the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), and is now in a role as Integrated Neighbourhood Service Clinical Lead for Wigan Borough.

Useful health resources

Agenda for the My Health and Happiness sessions

Tuesday 9th November 2021

Lunchtime schedule for young people / schools / colleges

  • 1pm-1.10pm - Guest Mike Fulford speaking about the Community Learning Disability Teams
  • 1.15pm-1.25pm - Guest Matt McQuillan speaking about Be Well ‘s offer
  • 1.30pm-1.50pm - Guest Matt McQuillan activity - seated stretch
  • 1.55pm-2.00pm - Hosting a live question and answer segment

Evening schedule for parents / carers

  • 6.30pm-6.35pm - Guest Mike Fulford will introduce the evening event
  • 6.40pm-6.50pm - Guests Tom and Joanne Barrow speaking about their lived experience from children to adult health services
  • 6.55pm-7.05pm - Guest Dr Liam Hosie speaking general practice, primary care and annual health checks
  • 7.10pm-7.20pm - Guest Mike Fulford speaking about the Community Learning Disability Team
  • 7.25pm-7.35pm - Hosting a live question and answer segment

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