21 July 2022 – VAI Health & Wellbeing Network Meeting Outcome


As always, here is your monthly round up of our borough-wide Health & Wellbeing Network Meeting, complete with agenda items and summaries for anyone who couldn’t make it on the day. If you would like to watch a recording of the meeting, you can access it here.

1. Hyperlocal Vaccination Programme  (Navinder Kaur, VAI –
Navinder started by giving us the latest figures for Covid-19 infections for Islington and described Public Health’s estimate that 1 in 40 people currently have the condition. National statistics are showing around 1 in 25. Navinder described how Islington’s faith sites and community centres are still active and engaging communities around the vaccine and providing up to date information for anyone with any concerns. Only 68% of the borough’s population have had their first vaccination and the younger age bracket are the demographic least likely to get their second. Despite this, the VCS are pushing ahead with translated information for various communities and VAI are the holders of leaflets and posters in the 6 most widely spoken languages in Islington including Tigrinya, Polish, Kurdish, Urdu, Turkish and Somalian. Please do get in touch or visit us at N1 9JP to collect and disseminate.

Michael Ryan of St. Luke’s Community Centre detailed how St. Luke’s will act as a vaccination centre during the entire month of August and the first week of September and can be accessed during the week and weekend. You can find out more here:


2. Wellbeing services for the deaf and blind (Amanda Easton, Deafblind UK –
Amanda from Deafblind UK joined us to explain how her service users have experienced additional loneliness and vulnerability as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. She made it clear though, that those who can access Deafblind’s services do not need to be either fully deaf or fully blind and can incorporate those who wear glasses or are hard of hearing. The services Amanda runs are wellbeing and emotional and any member can access any service and can incorporate carers and support networks. The services focus on emotional support and counselling, offered by qualified individuals, and are light-hearted talking sessions that explore emotional issues that may be prevalent. Deafblind offers 10 sessions which can be in-person, via video or over the phone and can incorporate British Sign Language interpreters and closed captions. The service is national and people are welcome to self-refer or contact Amanda using the information above for more details and any next steps. You can find out more about Deafblind UK here.


3. Home-start Camden & Islington Update (Eleni Anastasiadou, Home-start –
Eleni from Homestart Camden & Islington came to describe her offer to parents in the borough with children under the age of 5. Homestart offers support to families experiencing issues like isolation and stress and has a range of services including a father’s workshop starting next month. They are advertising a ‘Feel Good Friday’ coffee morning for new parents to network and support one another in a friendly, community network. They are also starting a yoga and wellness programme delivered fortnightly from next month, as well as a free Salsa dance class! Any referrals can be passed on to Eleni directly using the contact information above and they are actively recruiting volunteers to help support families throughout the borough. More on their services here:


4. Shingles (Marian Nicholson, Herpes Viruses Association & Shingles Support Society –
Marian joined the network meeting to educate and inform the group on shingles and how in fact despite a secondary name, the condition is a return of the chickenpox virus. The virus stays in the body for life and can re-activate at any point, in any sufferer. In younger people it is often undiagnosed and will disappear within two weeks, however for the older generation it represents more of a problem. In those 50+, the virus can induce serious pain and irritation which can manifest in a variety of ways, including itching, soreness, stabbing pains and super sensitivity. The greatest remedy to this condition is to ensure you’re vaccinated against the virus (free for over 70s) or consult a doctor for medication around post-virus symptoms. You can contact Marian for more information using the address found above.


5. Health & Wellbeing events in Islington this summer (All)
For the final agenda item, network coordinator Charlton opened up the floor to all members who may wish to publicise an upcoming event, service or offer; casting one eye to the impending summer holidays and the need for families to engage in activities for their children. These offers can be found below:

The Stress Project:
We’re running a mindfulness course starting in September specifically for the LGBTQ+ community. We have in-centre counselling, 1-to-1 therapies and virtual sessions for people wanting to join remotely. More info here:


Talk for Health:
Talk for Health is a social enterprise running ongoing peer support groups for mental health. We also teach the basics of therapeutic talking and listening skills in a free 4-day programme and offer peer support volunteering opportunities. It’s free, there are no criteria (all are welcome – including staff, peers, service users, volunteers etc.!), and we take referrals at Feel free to email me directly at for any questions. We offer free, no-commitment, two-hour taster sessions to find out more. Here are the next two:

  1. Tuesday, 13th September 4-6pm ONLINE. More information and sign-up here:
  2. Wednesday, 28th September 3-5pm @ Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD. More information and sign-up here:

 The next full programme starts on Friday 16th September and details can be found here:


Go Africa:
We have an art wellbeing class on the 31st July at St. Luke’s Community Centre at 11Am – 3PM, based on identity and relationship with Africa. The event is open to all and will be led by a professional artist and is free for members of Go Africa and St. Luke’s and is just £5 for non-members to cover the fee for materials. Participants are encouraged to bring traditional pieces of material from their native country as they will be creating an artistic collage to represent their home and identity. More information and event registration here:


Kurdish & Middle Eastern Women’s Organisation (KMEWO):
We have a number of activities and general advice and support for women and girls affected by violence. This includes counselling and runs throughout the year, not just in summer. In addition to this, we’re planning to have a number of summer picnics for clients as well as other community-focused events. Dates are not confirmed yet but will be released soon and can be found here:


St. Luke’s Community Centre:
We’re running loads of events for families and children including fun, fitness & food activities and live music events on Mondays. We will also be hosting the vaccination events as mentioned previously – all of which can be found here:



Voluntary Action Islington’s Newsgroup
Finally, in the interest of partnership and information sharing, I’d like to invite you to be part of our newsgroup communications (if you are not already) which broadcasts a wide range of updates, asks and opportunities from our 600+ members. You can sign up here.