New Events Programme Looks To Boost Kirkham’s Health And Wellbeing

November 18, 2021

Kirkham’s proud history will help provide a boost to the health and wellbeing of local residents – thanks to a ground-breaking series of events which start this week.

As part of the town’s £10m regeneration masterplan, a new community engagement programme is being rolled out over the next five months which combines a wide range of heritage-based activities involving art, nature and gentle exercise.

Led by the Phoenix Rising partnership, it is hoped the events – which include history trail walks, cooking classes, horticultural workshops and chair-based movement sessions – will help local people living with various health conditions as well as increase community inclusion.

It is all part of a new Social Prescribing Programme being developed as part of Kirkham’s status as one of Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HS HAZ),

And the first free ‘taster’ session – a gentle Heritage Walk and Talk around Kirkham – is happening this Friday (November 19).

To take part simply meet at Mill Street car park (outside Kirkham Community Centre) at 10am. During the walk you can learn about the heritage and environment that makes Kirkham so special before a creative session and refreshments at Kirkham Library, where the Phoenix Rising team will be able to give details about the full social prescribing programme and future events.

The workshop leaders are artists Sue Flowers and Danielle Aspinall, yoga teacher Alison Gough and herbalist Helen Leece. Sue said:
“This is a wonderful opportunity for local people to get involved and celebrate what they have on their doorstep while improving their wellbeing.

“Our work with the Phoenix Rising project is a genuine way to improve health. Getting active, being creative, learning new skills and connecting with others can really boost wellbeing and self-esteem, this is what social prescribing is all about.”

Phoenix Rising, who have successfully run social prescribing programmes in Preston, Morecambe and Cumbria, will now host a series of weekly Taster Days in Kirkham on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

Social prescribing links people to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. For example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, healthy eating advice, cookery, local history research groups, handling historic artefacts, learning heritage skills and so on.

The aim is to enable people to get more control over their healthcare and manage their needs in a way that suits them.

Social prescribing can especially help people who:

   • Have one or more long-term conditions

    • Need support with their mental health

    • Are lonely or isolated

    • Have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing

Fylde Borough Council has engaged Helen Shearn Associates, a specialist consultancy in arts, heritage and health, to steer the Kirkham programme in conjunction with Historic England's Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Lancashire County Council and local GPs.

Helen said: “We are very pleased the Phoenix Rising partnership is bringing this special five-month pilot programme of a range of heritage themed tasters and sessions to local people in Kirkham.

“This is the first phase of the Kirkham heritage, health and wellbeing programme so we want to see how activities like these can help to improve and enhance the community's health and wellbeing and help inform and develop the next phases.”

A spokesperson for Historic England said: “We’re delighted that Kirkham’s Health and Wellbeing Programme, and now the work with Phoenix Rising partnership, is now kicking off in earnest. It will provide lots of opportunities over the next few years for people to engage with Kirkham’s distinctive historic high street and learn more about its rich history.

“Historic England recognises how beneficial social prescribing can be to people’s wellbeing, and we’re really pleased that it’s part of Kirkham’s High Street Heritage Action Zone.”

The Phoenix Rising programme in Kirkham includes:

Friday, November 26 and Friday December 3 (10am - 11am)
at Kirkham Community Centre

People will have the opportunity to become more engaged with Kirkham’s history and enjoy gentle movement to maintain or improve their mobility and fitness to enable them to enjoy and connect with their surroundings with greater ease. Each session will involve learning about aspects of Kirkham’s historic environment, including buildings, areas, sites and landscapes.

Friday, November 26 and Friday December 3 (11.15am - 12.15pm)
at Kirkham Community Centre

Walking presents a fantastic opportunity to integrate mindfulness into everyday life. These sessions will introduce different mindfulness techniques that can be applied while enjoying the fresh air and some gentle exercise around Kirkham. The routes will also take in some of the town’s historic buildings and sites and participants will be invited to share any recollections they have with each other, helping to establish a sense of greater connection not only with the town but with each other.

Saturday, November 27 (11am - 3pm)
at St Michael's Church (upstairs in The Spire community rooms)
‍Come and meet the Phoenix Rising wellbeing team - say hello to Helen and Sue who will be delivering The Fine Art of Cookery: a creative cookery programme raising awareness about seasonal foods and the properties of some of our native herbs and foods. Explore the heritage exhibition on display and have a go at creatively responding to it.

Saturday December 4 (10.30pm - 12.30pm)
at Kirkham Library

This workshop will help you to learn about the value and importance of trees for our health and wellbeing.Learn about tree-dressing traditions from around the world, creating a collaborative celebration of the tree outdoors.

Saturday December 11 (9am - 12pm)
at Kirkham Library

Understanding the importance of the environment and its impact on mental health and wellbeing will be at the heart of these sessions. During the sessions Phoenix Rising will teach participants how to grow plants from seed and how to use nature creatively to expand a personal sense of wellbeing and development.

Saturday December 11 (11am and 12pm)
at Kirkham Library

Come along to our fun, creative textile workshop, where your ideas and conversations around Kirkham's TownTastic assets of people, culture and heritage will be embedded through stitch, colour, shape and pattern in textiles into a sample piece for you to take home.

aturday December 18 (10am-12pm)
at Kirkham Community Centre
‍A peaceful morning combining the tranquility of exploring nature, art and movement with the Phoenix Rising team. Simple stretches & meditation, creating a centre of light with nature, drawing and reflecting to induce wellbeing at this busy time of year.

For a timetable of events and how to get involved go to:


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