The importance of health and wellbeing is a core factor in BRL’s efforts to maintaining a flourishing community. When residents’ physical, mental and emotional health is prioritised, it leads to a happier, more engaged, resilient community.
BRL is committed to providing crucial support for residents’ wellbeing, as well as for staff working on site. This is exemplified by the launch of monthly Drop-in Clinics, its partnership with PHS (Park Health & Safety), and its summer offer of fitness and yoga classes by the river.
Ahead of a permanent GP service coming to site, monthly Drop-in Clinics have started in the Barking Riverside and Thames View area, and will be available for the next few months. The first Drop-in Clinic took place on 9th June 2023, and saw many local people visiting and interacting with both health and community leaders.
Local doctors are generously volunteering their time, and numerous organisations have agreed to work together to provide a range of services to residents. Residents don’t have to book an appointment to see a doctor, and they have access to numerous community services too.
Services available at the Drop-in Clinics include: health checks, diabetes checks, blood pressure checks, hand and shoulder massages, talking therapy, social wellbeing advice, cost of living advice, and council advice.
The Drop-in Clinics offer a holistic approach to health via the provision of complimentary wellbeing and community services, many provided by community groups or third-sector partners. This is reflective of the emerging Model of Care for the neighbourhood, where the intention is to fundamentally embed social prescribing into the clinical model.
Funding to organise, host and promote the Drop-in Clinics has been provided by BRL and Barking and Dagenham Council. Other partners include Thames Life, who has meticulously planned each Drop-in Clinic, and Aurora Medcare, who provides GP facilities in Thames View.
Barking Riverside is a unique construction project in its health and wellbeing provision for all workers and contractors involved in the site. Promoting mental wellbeing is a passionate project at BRL, and by partnering with PHS, both office and construction workers are able to access support directly at their workplace.
PHS is a partnership of experts in health and safety, and it regularly engages with onsite staff over a series of health topics. As well as offering health MOTs to all workers on site, each month it runs initiatives to support colleagues with issues such as addiction, financial health and wellbeing, and mental health awareness. PHS’ engagement programme is kept fresh and active, with past examples of monthly campaigns including challenges involving litter-picking by the foreshore, outdoor photography, and chair yoga.
The service encourages workers to speak openly about issues in the hope no one bottles everything up. This is even more pressing for construction workers; in the UK alone, 99% of onsite construction workers are male, and 77% of suicides are by men, so the value of looking after your mental health cannot be understated.
BRL continues to promote the benefits of exposure to blue and green spaces to its local community, and with the start of Summer Sessions, has built a programme of morning fitness classes along the riverfront. Led by local trainers, classes are open to residents of all abilities, and include cardio, strength and yoga.
The aim of this all is to not just aid people’s physical and mental health, but to bring people together in fun activities with their friends, families, or even to meet their neighbours, thus improving their social health.