Communities from across Gravesham and Dartford came out to attend the second Listen Up Health and Wellbeing Conference on Thursday 30th March. The conference was held at the Woodville and was organised by Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Rethink Sahayak.

The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of issues such as violence against women and girls, suicide prevention, alcohol abuse and physical and mental wellbeing especially in later life.

Approximately 200 people attended the conference and heard presentations from speakers including the Head of Public for Kent County Council Dr Anjan Ghosh, renowned musician and rehabilitated alcoholic Bhupinder Singh and founder Championing of Youth Minds Tanya Marwaha.

Also speaking at the conference were Deputy Lord Lieutenant Dr Bhargawa Vasudaven, a retired local GP who gave his perspective on the importance of good health especially in later life, as well as Sam Phillips from Involve Kent who spoke about the work she has been leading on in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley to support over 55’s with leading active lives, supporting wellbeing.

There was also an opportunity for attendees to receive free blood pressure checks, take part in consultation undertaken by the Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board as well as learning more about what support is available locally around violence against women and girls.

The conference was supported by a range of partners including Involve Kent, Office of the Police Crime Commissioner, KKB Group and Gravesham Borough Council.

Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL the CEO of the Kent Equality Cohesion Council commented “Events like this are so important as everyone, young or old seems to live busier lives. This is a time to pause, reflect and understand the importance of physical and mental wellbeing. It’s also an opportunity for members of the local community to understand what level of support is available to them. The pandemic underlined the vast health inequalities that exist and events like these we hope, provide better understand and access.”

Carol Service, Service Manager for Rethink Sahayak commented, “I have been working in the field of community mental health for over 25 years and what I have learnt over that time is that events like these will always be integral and vital to the local communities that we serve. As a specialist provider for minoritised communities it is clear that more still needs to be done around developing understanding of good mental health and wellbeing and events like these we hope will break down barriers and raise awareness.”