14 July 2024

Health information and support at our libraries this month

This July, Wiltshire Libraries is teaming up with Wiltshire Council’s Public Health, Leisure and Active Health services to host an information month to promote health information available at local libraries and activities on offer across Wiltshire to help people improve their health and wellbeing.

Libraries have a range of books and resources with reliable health information, from physical health and mental health to exercise and diet.

The Reading Well collections are recommended by health experts as well as by people with lived experience, their relatives and carers.

Library staff can also advise on the variety of activities on offer across Wiltshire Council services to support health.

Finding trusted health information can sometimes be confusing, but library staff are on hand to signpost people to health information online including Public Health resources and how to get started with the NHS app.

Free digital support appointments can be made at Amesbury, Bradford on Avon, Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Devizes, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Melksham, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Warminster and Westbury libraries.

More information about the huge variety of services on offer at Wiltshire Libraries can be found at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-home

The month puts a spotlight on actions people can take to improve their physical and mental health and the support available, including health coaches from the council’s Public Health team who can help people to stop smoking, maintain or reach a healthy weight and improve their emotional wellbeing. Residents can find out more about booking an appointment with a health coach in their local library or on the council’s website at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-improvement-coaches. There are also self-help resources and programmes to support people with their mental health and wellbeing. More information at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-mental-health

Public Health regularly works in partnership with Wiltshire Libraries on health initiatives including the popular health equipment loans. People can borrow free activity tracker watches and blood pressure monitors to track their progress and monitor their health from Salisbury, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Devizes, Melksham, Bradford on Avon, Warminster, Royal Wootton Bassett, Calne, Corsham and the north and south mobile libraries. More information at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/wearable-wellness

With 20 Wiltshire Council-managed leisure centres across the county boasting a variety of well-equipped gyms, swimming pools, sports halls, activity zones including a climbing wall and a wide range of activities to participate in, there is lots for residents to get involved with and stay active. Anyone who is interested in seeing what their local leisure centre has to offer without committing to a membership can take advantage of the seven-day free trial pass. Residents can contact their local leisure centre to find out more and sign up.

The council’s Sport and Physical Activity team can help residents improve their activity levels and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that come with an active lifestyle. Activities on offer include:

Information about sports on offer for all ages and abilities is available at libraries or on the council website at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: “Our libraries are a great resource that people can use to get reliable health information, both online, via self-help books, and with the help of Wiltshire Council library staff.

“Throughout July, people can also find out about the range of health and wellbeing support on offer across Wiltshire Council services, including health coaches, health equipment loans, free community activities, free trials at our leisure centres and sports for people with limited mobility.

“One of our Business Plan priorities is to ensure the people of Wiltshire are empowered to live full, healthy and enriched lives and our libraries and leisure centres are key to supporting this with access to reliable health information and activities to improve health and wellbeing.”

People can take part in the council’s healthy lifestyles competition to win a three-month Life Zone membership which gives unlimited access to the gym, group exercise classes and public swimming lessons at any of the 20 leisure centres the council manages. There are three memberships up for grabs and all people need to do to be in with a chance of winning one is to give their top tip for good health and explain why being healthy is important to them. People can enter at https://surveys.wiltshire.gov.uk/s/kugnbd. Entries close on 31 July 2024.

People can also gain points by walking, running, cycling or using a wheelchair to visit the library with the fun and free Street Tag app. People can gain points to climb the leaderboard and win prizes. Points are awarded by redeeming the PE code displayed in libraries on their Street Tag app. More information about Street Tag and how to register is at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/physical-activity

Written by
Andy Munns
View all articles
Written by Andy Munns