Carnforth’s aspirations to become the healthiest town in Lancashire received a major boost on June 25 when the town hosted its first ever ‘Health Mela’.

This unique festival, modelled on the South Asian tradition of community fairs was dedicated to the celebration and promotion of community health and wellbeing.

The activities of the day commenced with a breakfast meeting for invited guests, addressed by Dr Chris Moulton, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, who provided a presentation on the current problems faced by emergency care services.

The public event was then opened by Chief Guests, Dr Moulton, and Councillor Pat Wooff, Deputy Mayor of Carnforth Town Council. They then went on together, joining more than 600 visitors, many in family groups, to explore more than fifty stalls representing organisations dedicated to the promotion of health and wellbeing.

The stalls presented the widest range of perspectives imaginable. All in one place you could get the facts about Alzheimer’s or diabetes, find out about fitness centres or the Women’s Institute, practise resuscitation skills on a realistic dummy, get your face painted and much, much more.

Visitors were entertained by singers from the Carnforth Community Choir, and took the opportunity to sample complementary medicine in a Reiki session, and helped judge the ’healthy living’ posters in the competition for local primary schools.

Central to the Health Mela was the ‘Health MOT’, a series of health checks and counselling offered to visitors by volunteer health professionals.

The checks included measurement of height, weight and BMI, blood sugar and cholesterol.
Commenting on his experience of the Health Mela, Chief Guest, Dr Chris Moulton said: "Having worked all week in healthcare, I was perhaps not too sure how much I would enjoy spending one of my rare free Saturdays doing more of the same.

How wrong could I be! I was invited to the Carnforth Health Mela by Professor Romesh Gupta, of the University of Bolton, who founded the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing. I was briefed to speak about the current problems in emergency care and I received a very warm welcome (with breakfast!) from a well-informed and enthusiastic audience.

"Altogether, it was an unforgettable day. I came away convinced that health melas are a brilliant concept. They combine a great day out with the ability to promote healthy living and to inform people about current issues in healthcare. Here is my advice: if there is a health mela near you, go to it. If you don’t enjoy it and you don’t learn something, then I will be very surprised!"

Summing up the day’s events, Professor Romesh Gupta, OBE, Chair of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing said: "The success of today’s event shows just how much a community can achieve when health and education services combine to promote health and wellbeing. NFHW is proud to have been part of this event and wishes Carnforth well in its determination to be the healthiest town in Lancashire."