Latest news from Well Skelmersdale

16.01.17 Community banner project shows Skelmersdale is sew fabulous!

People from across Skelmersdale are being invited to take part in an exciting project to sew a huge tapestry banner celebrating all that’s good about their community – and improve their health and wellbeing in the process.

The Sewing Rooms, a partner in Well Skelmersdale, has received funding of £8,250 from The Big Lottery to support a series of two hour ‘Skelmersdale Sew Fab Extravaganza Project’ events. These will be held in a variety of community venues and health centres across the town so that everyone who wants to participate can do so. People of all ages will be encouraged to sew a small leaf, flower, or letter made from fabric onto the main tapestry banner.

“During the events we will actively encourage participants to do mindful sewing,” explained Paula Gamester, co-founder of The Sewing Rooms, a social enterprise which helps people improve their health, wellbeing and job prospects through learning sewing skills.

“We will have soothing music playing in the background to create a calming experience for the participants, encouraging them to concentrate on the task in hand and to be in the moment. The end product will be a magnificent tapestry banner made out of textiles that celebrates Skelmersdale and depicts the town, our people and community in a positive way.”

The theme of the banner is ‘Take Notice’ which is one of the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Five ways to wellbeing’. Paula hopes the finished banner will be displayed in the Sandy Lane Health Centre, and unveiled at a special celebration to which all the participants plus civic dignitaries will be invited.

“We are so excited about this project and feel that it is an amazing way to bring the community together, helping people to learn new skills and contribute to a work of art that will be seen and celebrated in years to come by the whole community, ”said Paula.

Added Sam Tunney, Chief Executive of Well North: “Well done to Paula on having such a great idea and for getting the support of The Big Lottery. This is a brilliant example of social prescribing, and the proven benefits* it can bring to individuals and communities.

“Apart from the obvious benefits that learning the skill of sewing brings in terms of being able to make do and mend and so save money, sewing allows people to relax from the everyday pressures of life; and enhances their self esteem when they demonstrate their creativity.”

For more information please contact Paula Gamester at

*No longer passed down from generation to generation, the art of sewing is a dying skill. Yet it has been identified that things like sewing are forms of occupational therapy and contribute towards an individual's happiness. (Source: Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol 9, Num 3 BF01563817).

01.11.16 Congratulations to award finalist Paula

Well done to Paula Gamester, co-founder of The Sewing Rooms in Skelmersdale, on being shortlisted for an award. She was nominated in the ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2016’ category at the Northern Enterprise Conference awards by SELNET - Social Enterprise Lancashire Network.

“Although I didn't win, I was absolutely delighted to have been nominated,” said Paula. “I had a wonderful night at the awards ceremony and it was great to meet lots of friends and colleagues whom I like and admire from the social enterprise sector.”

The one-day conference on 13th October, which culminated in the awards night, brought together enterprising, socially minded businesses from all sectors to explore partnerships and collaborative opportunities that create positive social impact.Hazel Blears, a colleague involved with the Well Whitehaven pathfinder, was one of the keynote speakers. Among her many and varied roles, Hazel is Chair of the Social Investment Business which exists to raise and connect capital to achieve the maximum possible social impact in the UK:

As well as being an active social entrepreneur, Paula is one of our Well North Ambassadors. Her practical approach to social enterprise ideas is inspiring others, and was recently featured in SEE Change magazine, Canada’s premier social entrepreneur publication.

The Sewing Rooms was one of the magazine’s recently featured change-makers with its Patchwork Buddies programme – strengthening communities stitch by stitch.

13.9.16 NHS welcomes public to breathlessness event

RESIDENTS of West Lancashire are encouraged to attend an event in Skelmersdale focussing on breathlessness and the health warnings this poses.

The local NHS in conjunction with Well Skelmersdale, a collaboration of health and social care professionals, as well as the voluntary sector, businesses and social enterprises all coming together to engage with and enhance the lives of people in Skelmersdale, is running a drop-in event, in The Concourse in Skelmersdale, WN8 6LN on Friday 23 September 2016 from 9am to 5pm, and again from 9am to 1pm on Saturday 24 September 2016. The emphasis for this event has focussed on Skelmersdale, due to its higher than the national average number of residents living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).*

Over the course of the two days, members of the public are encouraged to drop into The Concourse, to speak to medical experts from NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Well Skelmersdale and West Lancs CVS, who will offer advice and breathing tests. People attending the event will also be given help and advice from local support groups, including Smoking Cessation.

The subject of breathlessness and its link to a number of health conditions including COPD, heart disease and lung cancer has been prominent over recent months with Public Health England (PHE) and the British Lung Foundation (BLF) both running separate national campaigns, with PHE launching the latest 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign and BLF launching their 'Listen to your Lungs' campaign.

In the UK it is estimated that 1.2 million people live with a diagnosis of COPD, making it the second largest diagnosed lung disease after asthma. However, research indicates that around two thirds of people are living with undiagnosed COPD.

Sandra Bonner, a specialist respiratory nurse at West Lancashire CCG, said: "Everybody gets out of breath from time to time and this is normal, especially when taking part in exercise. However, we want residents to be aware that if they are getting out of breath doing every day activities, that this may be a warning sign that something isn't quite right.

"We would encourage anybody who wants to learn more about respiratory health, what to look out for and how to better take care of themselves to drop into our event."

Claire Heneghan, chief nurse at West Lancashire CCG and respiratory health lead for Well Skelmersdale, said:

"One of the major health issues facing the people of Well Lancashire, but in particular residents of Skelmersdale, is respiratory health and in particular COPD. So much so, that Skelmersdale records some of the highest figures nationally for emergency hospital admissions for people living with COPD.

"As with many conditions, there is a lot that, with support, people can do to help themselves, be it give up smoking or becoming more active. At this event, experts will be on hand to offer the help and advice that people need to take that first step into learning how to take control in order to take better care of themselves and living healthier, longer lives."

Registration is not required for this event and anyone wanting to attend can simply turn up on the day.

*Based on national figures presented in 'The Seven Wards' report.


For further information, contact:

Marco Giannini

Communication and Engagement Manager

NHS West Lancashire CCG


Wigan Road



L39 2JW

Tel: /