Express & Star

Health and wellbeing services to come together for event at Sandwell temple

Volunteers at a Sandwell temple are teaming up with organisations to host an event raising awareness of healthcare services in the community.

Representatives attending the event from left, Steve Nelson, programme manager, targeted lung health checks at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Dr Kanagratnam, chairman of Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple; Joyce Clarke – Healthy Sandwell Lifestyle and uptake officer at Sandwell Council

The Balaji Temple, in Oldbury, will welcome teams from Healthy Sandwell and Sandwell and West Birmingham (SWB) NHS Trust at the venue on April 22.

Dr Kanagaratnam, chairman of the Balaji Trust, and a retired GP, said: “It has been a personal dream of mine to bring health and wellbeing services together at Balaji Temple for the benefit of the community.

"Wellbeing and peace to all is a central tenet of the Hindu faith.

"I welcome all residents to attend and benefit from the wonderful services provided by Sandwell Council and SWB NHS Trust, whilst taking in the sights of the temple and sharing a wholesome vegetarian lunch with us.”

The event will be held in the community centre, which was previously used a Covid vaccination centre.

The Hindu temple is open to all and is visited by over 150,000 people annually.

SWB NHS Trust has recently launched several initiatives including targeted lung health checks (TLHC) for smokers and former smokers and the cancer hotline service which residents can call if they are concerned about having symptoms that they fear might be cancer.

As part of NHS England’s TLHC programme, residents will receive an invitation to take part in the check.

Those invited will have an appointment with a lung health nurse and depending on their symptoms will then be offered a low-dose CT scan in a mobile truck located within their community.

Steve Nelson, programme manager for the TLHC project, said: “Attending the event allows health professionals to reach out to the wider community, raising awareness of this really important initiative.

"For the majority of those who attend the lung health checks, everything will be fine, while for those where we do find something wrong, catching it early can make all the difference. Lung cancer can be difficult to detect early which is why so many people are currently diagnosed with an incurable disease.

"However, these checks are helping us to diagnose many more people earlier when it is far easier to treat.”

Daren Fradgley, chief integration officer at SWB NHS Trust, added: “Bringing together such a wide programme of health and wellbeing programmes at the Balaji Temple will spread the message and improve engagement of the local communities helping us deal with the health inequalities that exist within the region. This is a great example of partnership working with our community and other organisations in the Sandwell area.”

Other services from the trust to attend will include bowel cancer screening.

Meanwhile, Healthy Sandwell which is part of Sandwell Council’s public health team, will also be raising awareness of the support it provides to people, helping them to make positive lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.

On the day Randox Health will be providing free of charge NHS health checks to improve the health and wellbeing of eligible adults aged 40 to 74 years.

This health check estimates the risk of an individual having a heart attack, stroke or developing type two diabetes in the next 10 years and provides personalised advice to reduce their risk.

People can check their eligibility and book an appointment at

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