Social Action Fund launches with the aim to reduce social isolation

Social isolation and loneliness is a national priority and it’s no different in Oldham with 10% of residents identifying as being lonely, which has a detrimental impact on health outcomes, quality of life and life expectancy for those people.

That is why Oldham Cares’ Thriving Communities programme has made £850k available to fund up to five projects over a three-year period that can help reduce this.

We invited applications from projects which would:

  • Tackle social isolation in Oldham
  • Be transformational/innovative either in the delivery approach or the system change made within the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) or with the public or enterprise.
  • Improve the mental health, physical health and wellbeing of people in Oldham
  • Support a reduction in the pressure on health services
  • Take a strength based approach to working with people

We received more than 20 applications from voluntary, community and faith groups/organisations with ideas ranging from cookery courses for parents and children to support on how to set up your own social groups.

The Oldham Cares commissioning partnership board awarded funds to five projects:

The Oldham BAME Consortium is a new partnership bringing together five community groups to develop three neighbourhood hubs which will focus on reaching out to the isolated Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.

A programme of activities will be developed in consultation with residents based on community need such as information and advice, physical activity and wellbeing, befriending and peer support, food and nutrition, skills and education.

Wellbeing Leisure[1] will partner with community groups to provide physical activity and health and wellbeing opportunities. It will also offer opportunity for volunteers to learn skills and gain qualifications in health and fitness.

Oldham Play Action Group and Wifi NW – All-age cookery courses will bring children, parents, carers and older socially isolated people together to prepare and cook meals. The groups ­– run by Oldham Play Action Group (OPAG) and Wifi North West – will also encourage people to engage in active physical play as well as organise community play street events to join neighbourhoods together.

Street Angels will grow the already excellent work taking place in Oldham town centre on Saturday evenings and expanding into Friday nights. Teams of volunteers and medical staff are there to support those enjoying Oldham’s nightlife providing a listening ear, first aid and basic medical treatment as well as making sure people get home safely. As part of the programme, an evening drop-in and hot meals will be provided for people on the streets as well as future options for daytime support from the Street Angels centre.

Groundwork will lead a new partnership of organisations to bringing a variety of new activities to venues across local communities, using growing and food to increase healthy outcomes and connectedness across the borough. As well as enjoying all that is on offer, participants will be supported to develop, plan and sustain their own social groups around their hobbies and interests.

Councillor Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said “We had an overwhelming amount of interest to our social action fund. This highlights all the amazing assets and ideas we can harvest within our communities.

We have made a real commitment to tackling social isolation and loneliness in Oldham and are looking forward to working with our successful applicants to make a real difference to residents’ lives.

Notes to editors:

[1]Wellbeing Leisure is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Oldham Community Leisure focusing on VCFSE development

Fast Grants applications reopen to improve local communities

Do you have a great idea on how to improve your local area? Oldham Cares is once again inviting residents and communities to come forward with their suggestions as the applications to receive Fast Grants reopen.

With amounts available from £50 to £500, this funding, which is designed to bring communities together, could be spent on anything from encouraging your local community to be fit and healthy to running a Play Street activity in your neighbourhood.

More than 70 community organisations have already received grants since the scheme first started in September 2018.

Successful projects include an East meets West dress making course run by the Fatima Women’s Group and the building of a Chinese dragon for Spotlight Theatre’s next production – Aladdin.

Breathe Easy, a support and advice group for people with breathing difficulties, was also awarded a grant to continue to communicate with their members.

And it was time for tea and celebration for Chadderton Together after they were awarded a Fast Grant to continue running tea dances for older adults at Chadderton Town Hall – a lifeline for residents who enjoy socialising with new friends.

Councillor Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “We’ve already had some really good success stories come from this funding and we want this to continue.

“These funds are available for the benefit of Oldham, so if you have an idea on how you could improve your area, we would love to hear from you. The application form will only take five minutes of your time to fill out, so what are you waiting for?”

The Fast Grants have again been made available through the Thriving Communities programme which focuses on building on the strengths that already exist within our communities.

Applicants can apply for a Fast Grant by visiting or by emailing if you have a question about the fund.

Fast Grants will be awarded throughout the year and applications will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis.

Success for Oldham at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnerships awards night

Read all about Oldham’s success at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership Awards here:

Just what the doctor ordered: Ground-breaking Oldham health check extends to mental health

Oldham is setting out a vision to improve the health and wellbeing of residents through the launch of the ground-breaking Oldham Health Check.

Councillor Zahid Chauhan, a leading local GP and Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, is explaining the plans – thought to be the first nationwide to specifically target more vulnerable groups such as the homeless and veterans – to an audience of health and social care professionals today (June 13).

The initiative aims to build on the existing free national NHS Health Checks, which see GPs inviting people aged 40-74 without a pre-existing condition for checks to identify their risk of developing a heart or circulation problem in the next decade, plus tailored advice and management plans.

Oldham now wants to extend its offer much further through a new Oldham Health Check from April 1,2020.

This will have a targeted approach to our more vulnerable residents and, for the first time, it will not only test for cardio-vascular issues but will also seek to detect and address mental health issues with patients: identifying if they are feeling down, depressed or isolated, and taking action.

Cllr Chauhan said: “The NHS Health Checks were an important milestone in public health nationally – now we want to take that approach even further in Oldham.”

“We know our population well and have pride in our duty to taking a proactive approach in tackling unacceptable health inequalities and deprivation.

“In an increasingly diverse, fragile and disconnected society we must be agile and innovative in how we create a holistic service that better reflects the changing health and social care needs of each part of our borough.

“From 2020 the Oldham Health Check will work with primary care providers targeting local residents most at risk, and delivering better and earlier interventions.

“The addition of mental health as an equal priority is key to this. We know that around 10 per cent of our residents self-identify as being lonely, so the new Oldham Health Check will seek to identify those affected and help them with a community-led approach, including social prescribing.

“This is part of our significant commitment to mental health in Oldham which has seen us invest in a wide range of initiatives to provide lifelong support with partners across the borough.

“Our intention here is clear. We believe that anyone in Oldham – with the right support to combat mental health issues like anxiety, social isolation and depression – can lead the life they want and deserve to live, and we’re determined to do all that we can to make that happen.”

Across Oldham improvement and change in health and social care is being delivered through Oldham Cares: a one system approach bringing together Oldham Council, NHS Oldham CCG, general practitioners and other health and social care providers and the Voluntary, Community, Social, Faith and Enterprise sector with each sharing their skills, experience, talent and resources.

Dr Carolyn Wilkins, Chief Executive, Oldham Council and Accountable Officer, NHS Oldham CCG, said: “The Oldham Health Check can be a step change for residents’ health and wellbeing prospects.”

“This is a key part of our whole system approach to delivering better experiences and outcomes.

“Each area of Oldham already has its own geographical health and social care cluster with partners from all sectors working side by side in an unprecedented manner tailoring a working model that reflects needs in that specific area

“The Oldham Health Check aims to get higher numbers of appropriate patients put onto care pathways for diagnosed conditions through better and earlier interventions, and deliver significant increases in referrals to lifestyle or other support services, including social prescribing, for people experiencing mental health issues.

“By working with primary care providers we can proactively target and invite those people who are most at risk to attend a check in the next five years which can be hugely beneficial for the homeless, veterans and other vulnerable groups.

“We’re supporting this commitment to quality and better outcomes by structuring our health check payments to reflect the various levels of intervention offered, and linking them to recorded patient outcome data and appropriate onward referrals. This will enable us to continually track, monitor and improve results – and make changes to improve the service

“The Oldham Health Check will help us take local provision to a new level – empowering more residents than ever before to make better choices that will measurably help them to improve their health and wellbeing.”

If you would like more information on how to receive a health check visit:


Oldham Cares supports National Carer’s Week

Oldham Cares is acknowledging unpaid carers who provide support across the borough to a family member or friend, as part of Carers Week.

There are an estimated 24,000 carers in Oldham caring for people with a disability, mental or physical illness, or who need extra help as they grow older.

This year’s national theme is “Getting Carers Connected” and aims to connect carers to:

  • Advice and information
  • Services
  • Friends and family
  • Others, including carers
  • Technology

We’re supporting this year’s theme by hosting two events to help carersaccess a range of advice and information, services and other carers.

The Carers Fun Day, on Thursday 13 June at Oldham Leisure Centre from 10am- 2pm, is an opportunity for carers, and the person they care for, to find out more about the support and services available through a marketplace of local organisations. There will also be fun and games for carers to enjoy together including table tennis, badminton and crazy golf as well as a tombola and a raffle

Attendees will be joined by the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Ginny Alexander who is also a carer herself.

On Friday 14 June there is another opportunity for carers to socialise as we invite them to “Bring your dog to the park day” from 11am-1pm at Chadderton Hall Park. Carers can take a walk around the beautiful ornamental gardens, stroll through the woodlands or wander along the river before enjoying refreshments at the park’s café. Dogs are optional.

Councillor Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said “We are proud to support National Carers’ Week. It is a time for us to recognise the mostly unseen, but essential work that dedicated carers are doing everyday.

“We’ve put these events on to show our appreciation and to give a little something back. I would encourage all carers to take some time for themselves and enjoy what is on offer.”

If you would like more information about the week please contact the Carers Team, Carers 0161 770 7777 (option 4) or email

For more information about support for carers visit

Join us for our Christie at Oldham Open Day and Tour – 8th June 2019

The Royal Oldham Hospital is inviting local residents and trust members to join them for a free open day and behind the scenes tour of The Christie at Oldham.


This free event is one of a series of Medicine for Members events, which are intended to give local residents an insight into key elements of the hospital’s daily work.


The Christie at Oldham open day will take place on Saturday 8th June, 9am – 12noon in The Christie Centre, which is based at The Royal Oldham Hospital.


The event will give delegates the opportunity to find out more about the services provided at The Christie. It will cover the medical provision available, tell delegates how treatment is planned and delivered, provide details about complementary and support services available on site, and will give people the opportunity to go behind the scenes to view the equipment and technology close up.


The Christie at Oldham was the first in a unique network of Christie radiotherapy centres, where patients are able to access first class radiotherapy treatment from Christie experts closer to home. Since it opened in March 2010, the centre has expanded its services enormously, increasing access and support available for local patients.


The centre now treats between 90-100 patients per day from the local area including patients from Bury, Middleton, North Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and further afield. It treats patients with a large range of cancers, with more rare and complex cancers still treated at the main Christie site in Withington, South Manchester.


Julie Davies, Lead Radiographer at The Christie at Oldham, said: “Engaging with the local community is of great importance to staff at the centre and key to informing the public about the work that The Christie does. We are continually striving to improve our service and the quality of care our patients receive, and we welcome the opportunity to invite people through our doors.


“So many people have supported the centre since we opened in 2010, and as we approach our 10th birthday, it would be wonderful to see old friends and new. Even if you’ve previously taken a tour, please come and visit us anyway. We would like to welcome you to the centre, update you on how we are continuing to improve services and show our thanks for all the support that has been given over the years.”


Everyone is welcome to join The Christie team at this free event on Saturday 8th June, 9am – 12noon. To book your place, please call: 0161 918 7700 or and state how many places you would like to book.


For any media enquiries, please contact Josie Neil, Communications and Engagement Lead on: 0161 6278703 or by e-mail:

Find out how research improves patient care in the NHS

Local residents and Trust members can find out how research improves diagnosis, care and treatment for patients in the NHS at a free talk at Fairfield General Hospital.

The event is one of a series of Medicine for Members sessions, which are aimed at giving an insight into key elements of the hospital’s daily work.

It will take place on Tuesday 21 May from 2-3pm in the Auditorium at Fairfield General Hospital’s Education Centre.

Among the speakers will be Professor Jimmy Limdi, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Fairfield General, who has an international reputation for his research to help improve the lives of people with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. He will explain why research into these conditions is so essential and how it can make a huge difference to patients’ lives.

Research Nurse Dawn Johnstone will talk about her involvement in one specific trial and how the results from this trial have ultimately led to better treatments for patients with prostate cancer.

And Professor Steve Woby, Director of Research Operations, will explain how research is an everyday part of every NHS specialty and why he wants to see more patients involved.

The event is free and open to all, but we do ask you to reserve your place by emailing or calling 01706 517302. Please also let us know if you have any special requirements.

Northern Care Alliance invests £2.9m in new radiology equipment

The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) has invested £2.9 million in new CT and mammography equipment for its radiology department in Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and North Manchester.

The NCA brings together five hospitals, specialist and acute services, a range of associated community services, and over 17,000 staff across Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Patients who attend for a Computerised Tomography scan (CT scan) at The Royal Oldham Hospital, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury and at Rochdale Infirmary will all benefit from the recently installed modern CT scanners.

A CT scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around the body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside the body.

CT scan images provide more-detailed information than plain X-rays and are used to diagnose disease or injury as well as to plan medical and surgical treatment.

In addition to this new investment in CT scanners, patients with breast problems attending breast clinics at The Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital will now benefit from the recent installation of new state of the art mammography equipment.

The Breast Centres at both hospitals offer symptomatic breast imaging. Patients are normally referred to the clinics due to a breast lump, or because of another symptom such as ongoing pain or discharge.

Paul Barker, senior directorate manager for radiology and neurophysiology, at The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group said:

“This significant investment in new CT and mammography equipment at our Oldham, Bury & Rochdale and North Manchester Care Organisations will make a huge difference to the quality of care patients attending our radiology and Breast Centres receive. Patients across the North East sector of Greater Manchester who attend our hospitals can now rest assured that our staff will be treating them with state of the art technology.”

About the CT scanners
Both Fairfield General and Rochdale Infirmary have purchased the Aquilion Prime SP CT Scanner. The Royal Oldham has installed an Aquilion One Genesis CT Scanner.

Both the Aquilion Prime SP CT Scanner and the Aquilion One Genesis CT Scanner are manufactured by Canon Medical and feature VISION optic filters and SEMAR (Single Energy Metal Artefact Reduction).

SEMAR utilises a reconstruction technique to reduce metal artefact, improving visualisation of implants, supporting bone and the adjacent soft tissues for a clearer confident diagnosis.

VISION optic filters provide superior image quality with low radiation dose for every patient from pediatric to bariatric.

Further to this, the Aquilion One Genesis CT Scanner has the capabilities to scan a heart in a single rotation allowing patients to have cardiac CT with higher heart rates.

About the mammography equipment

The North Manchester General has installed two Hologic Selenia 2 Dimensions 2D Mammography Systems with the Affirm stereotactic breast biopsy system.

The Royal Oldham has installed a Hologic Selenia 2 Dimensions 2D Mammography System and a 3 Dimensions 3D Mammography System (otherwise known as a breast tomosynthesis system) again with the Affirm stereotactic breast biopsy system.

Tomosynthesis is an advanced form of mammography that uses a low-dose x-ray system and computer reconstruction to create three-dimensional images of the breasts. Breast tomosynthesis can aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast disease and is particularly beneficial for women with dense breast tissue.

Pictured at The Royal Oldham Hospital (left to right): Leonardo Borges De Souza, Radiographer, Colin Murray, Account Manager for Canon Medical Systems Ltd, Stephen Green, Radiology Project Manager, James King, Project Manager for Canon Medical Systems Ltd, Paul Barker, Senior Directorate Manager for Radiology and Neurophysiology, Maju Choudhury, Radiographer and Angela Keeney, Support Worker

Join us for our free Endometriosis Talk – 8th May 2019

The Royal Oldham Hospital is inviting local residents and trust members to join them for a free talk to find out more about endometriosis.

The free talk is one of a series of Medicine for Members events, which are intended to give local residents an insight into key elements of the hospital’s daily work.

The endometriosis talk will take place on Wednesday 8th May, 2pm – 3pm in the Education Centre at The Royal Oldham Hospital.

The session will be led by Lead Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr Gaity Ahmad. It will look at what endometriosis is, why it is the leading cause of pelvic pain and how it can be effectively treated.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Endometriosis can affect women of any age, but it is most common in women in their 30s and 40s. It’s a long-term condition that can have a significant impact, but there are treatments that can help.

Endometriosis is the leading cause of pelvic pain and affects nearly 1.5 million women in the UK. There can often be a delay in diagnosing the condition of up to 7.5 years, as many women tend to suffer in silence with period pains and generalised pelvic pain. It can be difficult to diagnose endometriosis because the symptoms can vary considerably, and many other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Figures show that one in ten women with pelvic pain are eventually diagnosed with endometriosis.

Dr Ahmad’s talk will look at how the multi-disciplinary endometriosis service at The Royal Oldham Hospital operates and how women can access the service by asking their GP to refer them to the Endometriosis Centre.

To book your place, please contact Angela Greenwood, Membership and Public Engagement Manager on: 01706 517302 or by e-mail:

For any media enquiries, please contact Josie Neil, Communications and Engagement Lead on: 0161 6278703 or by e-mail:

On Our Wavelength: Arts-based Radiotherapy initiative returns to Oldham Library this Saturday

What’s it like to undergo radiotherapy for cancer? How does it affect you and those around you?

Combining creative arts and personal stories of cancer treatment, arts-based initiative Radiotherapy and Me returns to Oldham Library 11am – 4pm this Saturday (13 April), with their latest event On Our Wavelength.

Oldham residents are invited to experience real-life stories of radiotherapy told through visual arts, spoken word and poetry at a free event with local patients and health researchers. Artists from the Manchester-based arts and theatre organisation Contact will also be on hand to help you tell your own story on the day.

Launched in January 2019, the project has led a number of creative workshops to help local people who have experienced radiotherapy, either as a patient, friend or family member, to share their stories in different ways, raise awareness of radiotherapy as a modern treatment for cancer, and overcome any fears and anxieties around it.

Led by The Public Programmes Team, radiotherapy researchers at the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), and creative practitioners Nathaniel Hall and Lara Veitch, herself a former radiotherapy patient, this latest workshop will showcase stories from previous participants and offer new visitors the chance to take part themselves.

WATCH – videos from previous sessions

Jackie Walsh participated in the previous workshops and is a former radiotherapy patient at The Christie centre at The Royal Oldham Hospital. She said:

“At the start of the project, I was way out of my comfort zone. I don’t really see myself as an arts and crafts type but I’ve really enjoyed this and I’ve also benefited from hearing everyone else’s stories.”

“I hope that our stories will take away the fears that people may have about the treatment. It’s good for people to hear about radiotherapy from people who have experienced it as well as the health professionals.”

Professor Ananya Choudhury, Chair and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology at The Christie, runs radiotherapy clinics at The Royal Oldham Hospital. She said:

“Radiotherapy is a vital treatment – around half of cancer patients who are cured receive radiotherapy as part of their treatment.  We want to raise awareness of radiotherapy, as well as the research we are doing to improve the treatment’s benefits and minimise side effects.”

“We believe a really powerful way to engage people is through the first-hand stories of patients who have received radiotherapy.”

The session is open to all and refreshments will be available. There is no need to book in advance.

Information about the event:

Date: Saturday 13 April 2019

Time: 11am – 4pm

Venue: Oldham Library, Greaves Street, OL1 1AL

Cost: Free

Event Contact:


Phone: 0161 276 6614 / 07816 447 520


Twitter: @ResearchDialog

Facebook: Public Programmes Team