Staying Well Project

Our Staying Well Co-ordinator Rebecca shares whats been happeining at our Park Ward Hub for the past few months….

Park Ward Staying Well groups spread a little happiness

The Staying Well Hub has been a hive of activity over the last couple of months with a number of our groups making items to support others.  It’s been humbling to see so many of our attendees – who not so long ago took the brave step to join our sessions in a bid to manage their physical and mental wellbeing – now lending their newfound skills to bring some relief and support to others facing difficult times.  Thanks to the support of our brilliant tutors, Staying Well is certainly exceeding expectations as we see our learners living and passing on the ethos of the project in reducing social isolation and loneliness and improving health and wellbeing.

Here are just a few snippets of the exciting projects going on in our sessions:

 Art Group bags

We are loving these bags created by our very talented Staying Well Art Group. The group have worked non-stop the last few weeks to design and make 100 of these beauties which will be handed out to those attending Staying Well sessions in Park Ward.  We are very grateful to the team, who set up their own production line to hand paint, iron and pack the bags ready for handing out.doreen-bag-production








Knitted teddies to comfort grieving children


In one of her many other guises, our lovely craft tutor, Nic,works for Rainbows, a support group for children suffering loss, at Noah’s Ark Centre.  All children joining the group are given a knitted bear to provide some comfort during these difficult times.  Earlier in the year, Nic arranged a lesson for the Staying Well craft group to learn how to knit the teddy and to share the pattern.  Since then, one of our crafty ladies, Raziea, has made four beautiful hand knitted bears to be donated to Rainbow Trust.

Anyone working down at Hanson Lane is bound to know Raziea.  Originally joining Staying Well following a heart attack that had left her housebound and feeling very depressed and lacking in confidence, she is now a stalwart of the art and craft groups and also attends our yoga sessions.  She simply can’t stop crafting and is forever making for the group and for others.  Leg warmers, hand warmers, bears, blankets –you name it, she’s made it!

As always, Raziea is very understated about her makes: “Mine don’t follow the pattern” she apologises, “The wool is different and I’ve popped scarves and jackets on mine”. Well we think they look just fantastic and know that these little bears will bring some much- needed comfort to children in crisis.

 Twiddle muffs to ease cold, restless hands

One of our lovely crafters, Trish, is also an avid volunteer in the community, working tirelessly with her local church to support vulnerable people.  Linking up with an initiative at St Hilda’s Church to support people living with dementia, she decided to tell the Staying Well craft group about the project, to see if they would like to get involved.  Members of the group were moved by her story, and as a result, people began knitting twiddle muffs.  For those not in the know, twiddle muffs are double thickness hand mitts with ‘bits and bobs’ attached. An idea originating from the USA, these gorgeous hand warmers are designed to offer stimulation for restless hands whilst also keeping them warm.  Muffs can be embellished with all kinds of paraphernalia to evoke memories and Trish has been asked to design all kinds of twiddle muffs including ones specifically for men – with ‘bits and bobs’ like cuff links and golf ball buttons added.  ‘The response has been amazing’ said Trish, ‘We already have more than 100 twiddle muffs donated, which we are planning to put on display before handing out to care homes and community groups.’

We’d just like to say a huge thanks to Trish and everybody who has taken on the challenge in the Staying Well craft group to make a huge difference to people living with dementia across Calderdale!

Getting to the point with Men’s ESOL for Health

We are just finishing our first round of Men’s ESOL for Health sessions which have been hugely successful at identifying and dealing with some of the key issues affecting men’s health in Park Ward.  Woking closely with community workers from specialist agencies including Healthy Minds, our tutor has devised sessions around ‘Understanding and managing Diabetes’ and ‘Breaking the stigma around mental health’ with immediate results.  One learner, a diabetes sufferer, was shocked to realise just how much sugar was in his daily diet – especially in food staples like potatoes.  The session was a real opener and encouraged him to make changes to his eating habits. A move that has left him feeling more energised and healthy.

 Steve sets up men’s group

Steve is on the lookout for men to join his new woodwork group after Christmas down in his new workshop at Hanson Lane.  It’s a great chance to brush up on or learn new woodworking skills with Steve taking attendees step by step through the process.  If you know of any males who are feeling isolated and would enjoy the challenge, please give us a call.

The Staying Well Project just got bigger!

Following the success of Staying Well to date, we are thrilled to announce that the project is getting bigger.  Originally piloted in Park, Elland, Hebden Bridge and North Halifax, Staying Well will now be available to people living across the whole of Calderdale.  In addition, we are moving away from our 50+ focus which now means anybody over the age of 18, who is feeling isolated, can be referred into our service.  This development is a real testament to the success of the project to date which focuses on keeping people happy, healthy and connected to the community, and, in turn, reducing inappropriate NHS referrals and appointments.


If any of the teams at Halifax Opportunities Trust know of anybody who may benefit from a Staying Well referral, please speak to Surraya or Helen on the team. We’d love to help!

Staying Well Logo purple

To find out more about Staying Well please contact: Surraya Bibi on 01422 347392 or email Surraya Bibi