Free community health event

ACADS health promoter/community connector Andrae Gold and Te Whatu Ora’s Philippa O'Neill at the Ashburton Hospital site of the free community health pop up day.
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A free, community health pop up event, with plenty of information and hot soup, is going ahead next week on the grounds of Ashburton Hospital.

It is on Wednesday from 10am to 2pm, wet or fine.

The event has been months in the planning, and has the support of a host of community health groups including Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service (ACADS) , Family Planning, Sexual Health Service, ScreenSouth, Cancer Society, Community & Public Health, Heart Foundation, Needle Exchange, Waitaha Smokefree facilitator and Child and Adolescent and Family (CAF) Mental Health Service.

ACADS health promoter/ community connector Andrae Gold said what initially started as Ashburton hosting the Hepatitis C outreach team has grown into a bigger community group day.

‘‘It’s grown like Topsy as they say, so we now have multiple services interested in coming along,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re recognising that for community the isolation and reluctance to go out post-covid has just made it tricky for some people.

‘‘So we just thought we would have a fun event, no pressure, it’s free, people can just come along.’’

Te Whatu Ora operations and administration manager, Ashburton and Rural Health Services, Philippa O’Neill said it was a good chance for people to learn what health resources are available in the community.

The Hepatitis C team, based in Christchurch, regularly visits outlying rural communities like Ashburton and the event will give them a chance to join with other services and connect with people.

By chance, the day coincides with national smokefree day, and has added value with its We’re Backing You theme, Andrae said.

It focuses on the team effort to support whanau and its key messages focus on wrap-around support, who provides it, and how.

She said they would have smoking cessation people on site with resources and information.

There will also be free sexual health screens, free contraception and smears (for under 22s), hepatitis C testing, fun and laughter and plenty of hot soup.

‘‘There are still quite a few people who are not enrolled with a GP, so by offering a free day like this they can just come along with no pressure, they can get to talk to people and just get information to take away and have a think about,’’ she said.

The ScreenSouth team will also have their massive big bowel screening tunnel onsite, as well as Family Planning down from Christchurch, she said.

‘‘There is sexual health offered out of BASE Youth Service so it will be a great opportunity for the workplaces (attending) to know who is doing what, how they can refer people, how they can get that collegial support as well.’’

Another similar event is being planned for Methven in the coming months.

The Ashburton event on Wednesday will be on the car park area, at Gate 4, on the grounds of Ashburton Hospital, (Elizabeth Street access).