Heatwave survival

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. If a heatwave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know.

please visit the NHS website for more information on the risks associated with heatwaves:



Public health England (PHE) have also provided information on how to stay safe in the heat.this can be found here:



Serious violence strategy

County lines is finally being recognised as a public health issue. This is a disease that can affect any child of any class, race and familial background.


[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/698009/serious-violence-strategy.pdf


Other reading material:

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/amber-rudd-police-cuts-home-office-report-leaked-violent-crime-london-stabbing-met-a8295481.html

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/05/1000-sure-start-childrens-centres-may-have-shut-since-2010

[4] https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/how-children-s-wrecked-lives-ricochet-through-the-generations-a3809231.html

[5] https://www.suttontrust.com/research-paper/sure-start-childrens-centres-england/

[6] https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2016/08/23996.pdf

[7] https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/04/david-lammy-youth-violence-amber-rudd-and-sadiq-khan-have-been-absent-too-long

[8] https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/how-children-s-wrecked-lives-ricochet-through-the-generations-a3809231.html

[9] http://www.ey.com/uk/en/issues/business-environment/financial-markets-and-economy/youth-unemployment-in-the-uk

[10] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/09/young-people-cheated-skills-jobs-brexit-education

[11] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-43702714

[12] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/why-are-our-children-killing-each-other-children-carrying-knives-as-they-are-fearful-they-could-be-a3808106.html

[13] https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/london-violence-guns-knife-crisis-youth-how-tackle-police-gangs-chuka-umunna-a8295886.html

[14] https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/knife-crime-is-killing-our-young-people-we-need-to-take-tough-action-to-save-the-lives-of-london-s-a3806601.html

[15] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43668167?intlink_from_url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cp7r8vgl2rgt/reality-check&link_location=live-reporting-story


SPACE is a self-funded not-for-profit organisation founded in January 2018, in response to the national prevalence of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)and the County Lines phenomenon which has entrenched thousands of young people into serious violence and organised crime.


Please visit http://www.bespaceaware.co.uk for more information. 

Missing Children-who cares?


Each year thousands of children go missing from their homes. Although the majority of them return home or are found soon after, all children who go missing are potentially at risk of harm, and a significant number, because of their circumstances, will face the risk of sexual, criminal or economic exploitation.

Responding to missing incidents places a high demand on police time, but the consequences of not investigating cases can be extremely serious, leaving some children at risk of exploitation and/or significant harm.

As part of HMIC’s annual assessment of police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy in 2015, we assessed forces’ preparedness to tackle child sexual exploitation, because children who go missing are at greater risk of becoming a victim of this kind of offending.

This report sets out the results of this inspection, with additional evidence from other child protection inspections HMIC carried out from 2014 to 2016.

HMIC has also published the results of a research project, commissioned from the University of Bedfordshire, exploring the experiences of 45 children who had come into contact with the police because of concerns about their safety or well being.

Get the report

Missing children: who cares? – The police response to missing and absent children

Get the research report

Children’s voices research report – children and young people’s perspectives on the police’s role in safeguarding

Get the press release

Dedication of police officers to help missing and absent children undermined by unacceptable inconsistencies across forces, leaving children at risk


Get the police and crime commissioners’ responses to the report

Cumbria police and crime commissioner’s response to ‘Missing children: who cares?’

Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner’s response to ‘Missing children: who cares?’

Dorset police and crime commissioner’s response to ‘Missing children: who cares?’

Merseyside police and crime commissioner’s response to ‘Missing children: who cares?’

North Yorkshire police and crime commissioner’s response to ‘Missing children: who cares?’

West Mercia police and crime commissioner’s response to ‘Missing children: who cares?’ (please refer to page 41)

West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner’s response to ‘Missing children: who cares?’

Get the free PDF Reader from Adobe (external link)

County Lines


National Crime Agency reveals hundreds of 'county lines' used by drug dealers to move supply around the UK

It’s a distribution model present across England and Wales. Credit: PA

Britain is riddled with hundreds of hard drug-dealing communication lines used by gangs that exploit vulnerable children and teenagers, the National Crime Agency has found.

Fresh analysis has revealed that dealers supplying heroin and crack cocaine use at least 720 so-called "county lines" in which urban gangs use a phone line to move their supply of class A drugs into county or coastal towns.

It’s a distribution model present across England and Wales, the NCA said, which often uses children as drug runners.

The report boasts data from every police force in England and Wales, as well as Police Scotland and British Transport Police.

The Children's Society warned that gangs often groom young people using alcohol and drugs and with the promise of status and wealth.

The report "sheds light on the shocking scale of the grooming and exploitation of children by criminal gangs,” the charity's chief executive Matthew Reed said, adding, "the figures revealed could be just the tip of the iceberg.”

"The stories we have heard from young victims of 'county lines' exploitation are horrifying and absolutely heartbreaking.

"Gangs are grooming the most vulnerable young people in our society with drugs and alcohol or promises of status and wealth, then using threats, violence and sexual abuse to coerce and control their victims.

"The coercion of children into drug dealing is traumatic and puts them at great risk - they are often forced to carry drugs inside their bodies, and sent across the country to stay in 'trap houses' and sell drugs to dangerous adults.”

Lawrence Gibbons, the NCA's head of drugs threat and intelligence, said: "The data tells us that county lines groups continue to exploit the vulnerable, including children and those with mental health or addiction problems, at all points of their drug supply routes.

"Effective collaboration between law enforcement and safeguarding organisations must remain a vital part of the national response."

Duncan Ball, National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) lead on county lines said the report "highlights the extent of this activity across the country".

He added: "We've already been conducting operations across policing to tackle the violence associated with these lines and perhaps more significantly the real harm through the criminal exploitation of young people by organised gangs and groups."

Responding to the report, the Government said on Tuesday it is working to ensure police forces and the NCA have sufficient powers to ensure mobile phone companies shut down lines used for drugs.

"This Government is taking strong action to tackle county lines gang activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation, which have a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities,” a Home Office spokeswoman said.

"We are in the process of introducing regulations to give the police and the National Crime Agency powers to make sure mobile network companies close down phone lines used for county lines drugs dealing.

"Home Office Ministers are co-ordinating the national response to this scourge by overseeing a county lines working group with other government departments, law enforcement agencies and local government represented.

"We are also funding local projects to tackle the damage caused by county lines gangs."

Last updated Tue 28 Nov 2017

Could your child be involved in a gang: Signs and behaviours to look out for


A reconstruction of a scenario where a young boy is sent to carry drugs. Credit: PA

As anITV News investigation reveals criminal gangs are using large numbers of children to carry drugs between UK cities, here are some warning signs which could indicate your child is involved in a gang.

According to the charity, Only Cowards Carry, the behaviours and signs include:

  • Withdrawing from the family
  • Secretive behaviour
  • Blocking family and friends on social media
  • Unexplained injures
  • Not sticking to agreed times to come home when they go out
Parents may become aware of their child not sticking to curfews. Credit: PA
  • Going missing from home
  • New expensive clothes or other items
  • Large sums of money that can’t be accounted for
  • Aggressive or difficult behaviour
  • Arriving in taxis or unknown vehicles
Noticeable changes in a child's behaviour at school could be a warning sign.
  • New friends that you do not know
  • Truanting or long term absences from school
  • Showing a lack of respect towards peers and teachers
Is the child constantly receiving calls and wanting to leave quickly? Credit: PA

Although helpful, these signs alone do not automatically indicate a child is in a gang. Changes in behaviour or attitudes could be due to a phase or just being a "teenager" among other things.

However, if you have any cause for concern talk to the child or young person to determine if there really is a problem.



To view the NCA report, please visit: http://cdn.basw.co.uk/upload/basw_90214-6.pdf 

When bad things happen...

Coping with traumatic events

When terrible things happen, like the recent incidents in London and Manchester, it can have a huge lasting impact on how we feel, even if we are not involved directly. 

Some common reactions are to feel angry, fearful, anxious or stressed. Others might feel extremely sad or hopeless.

If you have existing mental health problems, events like these could trigger them or make them harder to deal with.

But there is no one way to react to trauma, and however you are feeling the important thing to remember is this is ok. These are normal reactions to terrible circumstances.

That doesn’t mean they are not hard to cope with though.

Here are some resources you might find helpful if you are struggling over the next few days or weeks.

Want to talk to someone?

Feeling stressed, anxious or angry?

You could try someone of our tips on coping with stress or watch this video on relaxation. If you’re feeling angry, and are struggling to cope with it, this info might be helpful. If you’re feeling uneasy, worried or fearful, take a look at our info on coping with anxiety and panic attacks.

Feeling low or hopeless?

In many people stressful or tragic events can cause their mood to drop suddenly. Our info on depression self-care might help you if this is how you are feeling right now.

Feeling unsafe?

Traumatic events can trigger thoughts about harming yourself, hurting others or ending your life.

  • In this situation the quickest way to get help is to call 999 or go to A&E.
    But if that does not feel possible, we have some info on the other types of crisis services available here.
  • You could also try this online tool, designed by visitors to our site, to help you deal with these thoughts and feelings.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

We have been asked a lot this morning about PTSD and whether those present at last night’s events are at risk.

While it is impossible to speculate on the lasting impact to specific individuals, especially since everyone will react so differently, the Royal College of Psychiatrists have some information on the immediate impact of a traumatic event, which can tell you more about what to expect, and how to look after yourself.

If you already have a diagnosis of PTSD, it is understandable that memories and feelings from your own experiences might be on your mind more over the next few days or weeks. It may be helpful to take a look at our information on self-care.

Young people and children

We know that many of the people affected are young people or children who are particularly vulnerable.

Info for parents

Info for young people

  • Childline’s website have a huge amount of resources for young people who are struggling. You can talk to someone online, play games or watch videos which will all help you to cope today. You can also call them to talk to someone directly on 0800 1111.
  • BBC Newsround have put together some advice on what to do if you're upset too.

Emergency service staff

We know that many people from fire, ambulance and police services will have been working during both incidents. It is really important that you look after your own emotional wellbeing too.

Our Blue Light information resources might be helpful. We have a dedicated Infoline on 0300 303 5999 (open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm) if you’d like some information or support too. 

This service is open to colleagues and family members too, and doesn’t need to be about a recent incident.


Source: https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/coping-with-traumatic-events/



Why do young people join gangs?


Young people join gangs for reasons which make sense to them, if not to adults.


Some reasons why young people may join a gang are:


  1. Respect and status
  2. To gain friends
  3. A sense of belonging
  4. Excitement
  5. To find a substitute family
  6. Power
  7. Protection
  8. Money
  9. Peer pressure



Neighbourhood Police – to find details of your local team andfind out more about the work they are doing in your area, typeyour postcode at www.police.uk  

Crimestoppers – a free, confidential service where you canreport information about a crime anonymously.Freephone: 0800 555 111. Web: www.crimestoppers–uk.org

Local Authority/Council – Connect to your Local Authority and find out about local specialised work with gangs, parent groups and activities for young people in your area. They can also refer you to parenting support programmes. Web: www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council  

Family Lives – gives advice on all aspects of the parenting role andis open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Calls are free.Tel: 0808 800 2222. Web: www.familylives.org.uk

National Council for Voluntary Youth Services – network of over 280 national organisations and regional and local networks that work with and for young people. Web: www.ncvys.org.uk

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) – runs a wide range of services for both children and adults, including national helplines and local projects. In collaboration with the Home Office, they have extended the use of their helpline to provide information and advice to parents and others concerned about young people who may be involved, or affected by gang activity. Their helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Freephone: 0808 800 5000. Email: help@nspcc.org.uk Web: www.nspcc.org.uk/gangs  

Anti–Bullying Alliance – Advice on bullying. Web: www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/

Victim Support – a national charity which helps people affected by crime. Web: www.victimsupport.org

Also available for children:

ChildLine – offers a free, confidential helpline and online service dedicated to children and young people. Tel: 0800 1111


For further information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/345337/AdviceParentsCarersGangs14.pdf

Acid burns

Treatment after Acid Burn

Recommended First Aid for Acid Burn Patients

It is very necessary to get a first aid as soon as possible. Otherwise in worst cases the acid penetrates to the bone which could be fatal for patient’s life.

1.The most important First Aid is to immediately wash affected body part of patient with plenty of fresh or saline water.

2.Don’t rinse the burn area with dirty water as it can cause severe infection.

3.Keep flushing the affected burn area with plenty of cool water,(not very cold) until the patient’s burning sensation starts fading. It may take 30-45 minutes.

4.Remove all the jewelry or clothing which had contact with acid.

5.Don’t apply any kind of cream, ointment on the affected area as it may slow the treatment procedure by doctors.

6.If possible, use sterilized gauze to loosely wrap the affected area. The gauze protects the skin from air, debris, dirt and contamination.

7.Rush the patient to a burn specialty hospital having isolated wards for burn patients

Points to Remember during treatment of wounds

While the treatments of wound are going on in the hospital, kin of acid burn patients should understand the importance of following listed points. Usually the doctors/nurse treating the patients should take care but it is good for the attendants of burn patient to be doubly sure. And in case there is any negligence, bring the issue to correct authority notice.

The most common cause of death for acid burn patients is Infection. The burn skin is very sensitive and can be very easily infected if not taken care and cleaned properly. Hence throughout the course of treatment, a strict hygiene has to be maintained until the wounds are completely healed. The room and washroom used by patients should be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant 2-3 times a day. Food containers used for carrying patients food should be properly sterilized before use. Outside food is strict no.

2.Proper Dressing
Utmost care has to be maintained while doing dressing for movable body parts. It has to be ensured that burnt skin do not come in contact with each other, otherwise they would stick with each other leading to handicap.

Due to acid burn nerves under skin get permanently damaged leading to inability in the movement of body parts. If ignored it can lead to physical handicap. Hence regular sessions of physiotherapy is important to ensure that nerves are trained properly and body part remain movable

4.Skin Grafting
The surgery perform to cover the open flesh with a skin, taken from the other part of the body like thigh or lower back where there is no burn.

5.Protein Rich Food
Burned body needs lot of protein and carbohydrates for damaged tissues to heel. Consult the hospital nutritionist to arrange for proper deit for the patient throughout the course of treatment.

6.Hemoglobin Check
Since lot of blood is lost due to burn injury, it results in very low hemoglobin level. Doctors cannot perform any surgery if hemoglobin is low. Hence patients should take diet which aids in building hemoglobin level and in some case blood transfusion should also be considered.

7.Corrective Surgery
After the burn would heal a series of corrective surgery are required for correcting the contracted skin, reconstructing the burnt body parts like eyebrow, nosetrils, ear holes etc depending on feasibility. A good plastic surgeon should be consulted for planning out the sequence of operation.

Long Term Care

1)One needs to take care of the skin after the wounds heal post surgery so that the scarred tissues settle well.

Following three simple techniques have shown good results.

a)Regular Massage – with Contratubex and coconut oil, two times each daily.

b)Gell sheet- to be applied on affected area at least for 12 hrs a days.

c)Pressure Garment- to wear for at least 10-12 hrs a day.

Patients should be provided good counseling support as the long course of treatment, pain, social stigma has a very detrimental effect on their self esteem. In most cases they loose hope to live and be back again in the society. There are several instances when the acid burn patients have bounced back in life. Citing such examples help the patients to regain faith and look ahead for their log battle with life.

3)Social Reintegration Support
In many cases acid burn patients are disowned by their kins due to social stigma attached to the patients. The expensive cost of treatment is another reason. Without proper social re integration support patients tend to alienate them selves from the society. They should be persuaded to step outside and participate in all the day to day activities that they can. Following are few important ways to enable social reintegration of the patients

Patients may need to travel to various cities(usually metros) and hospitals due to various surgery needs. In many cases they cannot afford shelter for themselves and theirs family members at these locations. They should be provided shelter during the treatment course and also after that.

b)Occupational Training
Making the patients financially independents is a very effective in re installing confidence in them. With proper occupational training they can work and earn money for them and their families. This increases their self esteem and motivates them to look ahead in life.

c)Education support
Several acid burn patients come from very weaker section of the society and they may not have proper education. Providing educational support opens new options for them and makes their chance of rehabilitation better.

After Effect of Acid Burn

When a woman is attacked by acid on face. Its not only the face she has to cover, she has to cover all her ambitions, dreams, thoughts, anger, pain everything for rest of her life.. Because nobody can understand and feel the pain. She cannot explain that too. People only see a burned and ugly face and find a chance to blame her for that in the name of Karma.

The acid burn is usually considered as the third or fourth degree burn as it burns not only the skin but penetrates to the fourth layer of skin and damages the tissue. Usually the burn wound takes several months(about 3-4 months) to heal properly. Once the wound heels, the scar remain forever. Once the scar covers the wound, it will remain the same size, and in many cases, it will resolve over time (usually 3-4 yrs). It irritates in sun or fire or dry weather. One has to apply oil or ointment 4-5 times daily to keep the skin moisturized.

The hypertrophic scar becomes swollen, puffy, and reddened, causing it to stand out from the surrounding skin. It leaves the part of body immobile if it is on joints. If the scar is on neck, one cannot move the neck left or right.

As the skin pores are closed due to burn, the skin doesn’t sweat and that makes it very dry. (remember how you feel when your skin gets super dry in winter? They feel it everyday...)
Usually acid patients lose their eye sight either partial or full due to penetration of acid into the eye. And there would always be yellowish discharge coming out from the eye.
Usually one has to clean the eye 10-15 times a day. Can you do that?

It’s so common for acid attack patients to lose social life.  They can’t step outside because there is no acceptance for such kind of face in the society. Apart from the scars on their face, they struggle with society too!!! Conservative people of the society make them scarier.

Our society needs mature and progressive people who look and think beyond the mere physical appearance. Instead of hiding their children from acid patients, they should make them understand that it happens to some unfortunate people and they should not be scared and run away from them. Instead they should help them, talk to them, smile at them.

Source: http://www.stopacidattacks.org/p/medical.html

Terror advice video for holiday makers



A video advising UK holidaymakers what to do in the event of a terror attack abroad has been released by police.

The four-minute film depicts a firearms attack unfolding at a hotel and uses the "run, hide, tell" safety message.

Thirty British tourists were among 38 people killed when a gunman attacked a Tunisian beach resort in June 2015.

Counter terrorism police said there is no specific intelligence Britons will be targeted this summer and the film is part of a general awareness campaign.

But Det Ch Supt Scott Wilson told the BBC it was "only right" to offer advice following the terror attacks in London and in Sousse, Tunisia.


"These people are not there to steal a mobile phone or steal your watch, they are there to kill you, you have to get yourself out of that danger zone," Mr Wilson told the BBC.

"It's very unlikely [that you will be caught up in a terror attack].

"It's very much like the safety briefing you get on an aeroplane before it takes off - it's very unlikely that plane is going to crash, but it's very important you are given that knowledge of what you should and what you shouldn't do."

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40553565

Childcare Choices

The government is introducing new ways to help parents with childcare costs. 

Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support.

Visit https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ for more information

Check what help you could get with childcare costs at:https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator

Citizen Aid

 In the Ambulance Service, we prepare for events like Westminster. I specialised in the Ambulance Service after the London Bombings and having trained relentlessly to deal with major incidents and CBRNe attacks, I know that lives can be saved. The public play a crucial role in these situations. We believe that being prepared really matters. Those first 5 minutes count, they make the difference, you make the difference. You can save lives...

With the right skills and knowledge YOU can deliver care to yourself , your friends and family and to the stranger caught up in a terrorist attack.



Dementia guidance


The living well with dementia workstream has created guidance for professionals to support people with dementia and carers immediately following diagnosis. The guidance covers prognosis, mediations, assessing carers needs, signposting, post diagnosis support, information on services available, and signposts the reader to further information.



The dementia guide is for anyone who has recently been told they have dementia. It will help you understand more about dementia and the treatments, support and services that are available. It includes information about how you can live as well as possible with dementia and about making plans for the future. It also contains helpful information for anyone taking on a caring role.

The dementia guide has recently been updated, and now includes sections on living alone, technology, coming to terms with a diagnosis, communicating and changes to relationships.

Shared Decision Making


Shared decision making (SDM) is the conversation that happens between a patient and their health professional to reach a healthcare choice together. This conversation needs patients and professionals to understand what is important to the other person when choosing a treatment.


Patient Decision Aids are specially designed information resources that help people make decisions about difficult healthcare options.  They will help you to think about why one option is better for you than another. People's views change over time depending on their experiences and who they talk to. Understanding what is important to you about your decision will help you choose the option that is best for you.

Learn more about shared decision making



Patient decision aids help people think about healthcare decisions in the context of their lives. They have written information that is accurate and balanced, ask questions to let you think how the treatment consequences might affect you, and summarise your reasons for choosing, or not choosing, an option.

People who use decision aids say they understand the health problem and treatment choices more clearly, they understand why one treatment is better for them than another, and they can talk more confidently about their reasons for liking or not liking an option with doctors, nurses, friends and family.

Learn more about Decision Aids





Shared decision making sheets (SDMS) are resources designed to facilitate a conversation about the reasons for choosing one treatment option over and above another treatment option between people with different types of expertise: professionals with access to evidence-based information on treatment effectiveness, disease outcome and patient’s clinical data; patients with access to their experience of illness, views about treatment and knowledge of how they (want to) live their lives. Both parties need to understand why the treatment chosen was the best one for the patient given that it may, or may not, be the most clinically effective option.

The shared decision making sheets are:

  • Prompts for use in consultations by health professionals with their patients
  • Aide-memoires for patients with instructions for accessing the corresponding web-based patient decision aid



Shared Decision Making Sheets (SDMS) are resources for health professionals to use with patients in consultations when making a treatment decision for a given health problem.

They are designed to facilitate a conversation about the reasons for choosing one treatment option over and above another treatment option, between people with different types of expertise.

View available SDMS



Atrial Fibrillation

Protection from stroke: How the internet can help 1.3 million UK Atrial Fibrillation patients

Infographic on AF and online resources for treatment support

January 17, 2017
(With thanks to Austen Gustavino for the information)

Atrial Fibrillation (also 'AF' or 'AFib') is a serious health condition that, if untreated, can have severe consequences. In the UK alone, 1.3 million are diagnosed with AF. Every 18 minutes a UK citizen suffers an AF-related stroke. Battling AF and its life-changing consequences is not only a task for medical professionals: patient behaviour greatly influences the risks associated with AF. Our infographic on Atrial Fibrillation in the UK summarises what patients need to know, what apps they can use, and what sites they should turn to for more information.

Choosing the right treatment for an AF patient is up to the cardiologist or GP. However, patients themselves can do a lot to manage their risk. This of course assumes informed patients with access to the right set of tools. To give an overview of AF as well as helpful tools and sites, we sat down together with Anticoagulation Europe and designed an infographic on Atrial Fibrillation in the UK: What is AF? How wide-spread is AF in the UK? What can you do as a patient to mitigate the risk of stroke? And what are apps for Atrial Fibrillation patients and sites building a sound understanding of the disease?

Have we missed out on anything? Please let us know in the comments below.

Atrial fibrillation in the UK: What you need to know and where you can find support

What is atrial fibrillation and why is it dangerous?

Atrial Fibrillation describes episodes of irregular heartbeat. As a consequence, the heart may not empty completely and dangerous blood clots can form. If a clot breaks loose it can travel from the heart to the brain, where it can cause a stroke. People with Atrial Fibrillation have a 5 times higher risk of having a stroke. In the UK alone each year 30,000 patients suffer from an AF-related stroke.
The causes of atrial fibrillation are not fully understood. UK data shows that men are more often affected by AF than women and that the risk increases with age. There are also a couple of conditions that often go along with or precede AF, such as Hypertension, Angina Pectoris or Diabetes. Atrial Fibrillation should be taken seriously. The good news: When discovered early, the right treatment can control your heart rate and lower your risk of stroke significantly.

I have Atrial Fibrillation. What can I do?

AF is a serious health condition and your doctor will guide you through diagnosis and treatment decisions. Regular doctor visits are important to monitor your treatment and your symptoms, such as shortness of breath, tiredness and dizzyness. However, also when you are on your own, there is a lot you can do to ensure treatment success and safeguard yourself:

Never miss a dose

With AF, you typically receive different kinds of medication: Heart rate control drugs manage your irregular heartbeat. Anticoagulants such as Warfarin, Xarelto, Eliquis or Pradaxa prevent clots from forming. So while you might feel an immediate benefit from taking your heart rate control drugs, regular intake of your anticoagulant is key for preventing stroke. The MyTherapy app (available for iOS and Android) has been clinically tested for supporting you in safely taking medications, be it Warfarin or one of the newer NOACs ('Novel Oral Anticoagulant, e.g. Xarelto (Rivaroxaban), Eliquis (Apixaban) or Pradaxa (Dabigatran)). MyTherapy reminds you to take your meds on time. It also supports you in monitoring your measurements, such as your heart rate and weight. The built-in health report summarises your medications, measurements and symptoms so you and your doctor can oversee your health progress.

Stay fit

Exercising is a great way to improve your quality of life. Even with Atrial Fibrillation you can do moderate physical activities to keep a healthy weight and to reduce your heart rate. Apps like the '7 Minute Workout' can help you finding the right exercise and staying motivated. Before you start, please consult your doctor what you can and what you cannot do. Also, make sure to slowly ramp up your level of exercise and to always watch your pulse and symptoms.

Minimise risk factors

High blood pressure, poor diet or smoking are proven risk factors for stroke. Take action and protect yourself from a stroke. Apps like 'Lifesum' and 'Smoke Free' can help you set up and reach your individual health goals.

Buildling a sound understanding of your disease is a pre-requisite for taking informed decisions regarding (un-)healthy behaviour. If you are based in the UK and need additional information about atrial fibrillation and stroke, also check out:

  • NHS Choices
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Stroke Association
  • Thrombosis UK
  • AF Association

Have we missed out on anything? How are you managing your atrial fibrillation? Please let us know in the comment section below.

The App for Atrial Fibrillation patients.

Protect yourself from stroke: MyTherapy reminds you of your AF and other medications and keeps track of weight, blood pressure, and symptoms.


On top of your medication, on top of your health: The award-winning MyTherapy app is both, a powerful pill reminder and a comprehensive health journal. For the first time you can manage your meds and track your measurements and symptoms in one place. Use the built-in pdf-report for better discussions with your physician


Silent Solutions

The Secret Emergency Services Number That You Need To Know

Photo: Alexandra Gavillet
What would you do if you were in danger? Call 999, we'd hope. But what if talking or making a noise could put you or those around you in even more danger? What would you do then?

You might not know it, but emergency services in the UK have a special procedure in place for this very situation.

Usually, if you call 999 and are silent, the operator will ask you to make a noise, such as a cough. But if you're unable to make a sound?

You'll be put through to an operator and the best thing to do is dial 55, otherwise the call will end and the police won't attend, reported the Express & Echo.

Police have admitted in the past that they don't automatically investigate every silent 999 (or 112) call, because there's a chance someone may have mis-dialled the number.

They've recently issued a reminder to the public that the 55 feature, known as Silent Solutions, exists – it is little known and could save women's lives.

“Please do not think that just because you dial 999 that police will attend," a police spokesperson told the Express & Echo.

“We totally understand that sometimes people are unable or too afraid to talk, however it must be clear that we will not routinely attend a silent 999 call.”

So, if you were as clueless about this as we were, why not help spread the word?
Source: http://www.refinery29.uk/2017/01/136061/emergency-services-phone-number-55

Walk Unlimited

Walk Unlimited-Projects


We deliver walking projects - some big and some small. Sometimes we deliver the whole project, in other cases we deliver part of a bigger project. Sometimes we work alone and sometimes we team up to work with other companies. 

On this page we list a few of our recent projects to give a flavour of what we do. 

National Trails

We're delighted to be the official promotion partner for National Trails in England and Wales. We're working with Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and the staff managing the trails to tell the world how great they are.
Find out more

Walk London

A walk around London will reveal things that you simply can't see from a car or train and the Walk London magnificent seven, well maintained, clearly waymarked routes connect it all together.
Find out more


The Walk4Life website is designed to help everyone walk more. With thousands of free walks there really is no excuse not to go for a walk.
Find out more

Dr Maps or Walk4Life Maps

Would you walk more if your GP or another health professional advised you to? We think you would and this belief was behind our first series of Dr Maps - beautifully drawn maps showing short local walks, directly from the health centre.
Find out more

Green Exercise

The Green Exercise Project is a joint pilot project involving The Conservation Volunteers, Mind and Walk Unlimited.
Find out more

Maps for Print


We produce a range of maps illustrating walking routes. The details vary but the maps are always clear, easy to read and easy to use. One of our favourite products is a map showing short, attractive local walks based around a central point, for example a GP practice. The maps are printed and bound into pads which the GP can 'prescribe' to patients that need to take more exercise. You can see examples of them here 


Our aim is to provide people with good quality information so that they have the confidence to walk more and good maps can really help. We know how to draw them so that people can read them. For example we know that using key features to aid navigation can make a big difference - which is why our 3D maps have key buildings drawn in extra detail.

We have produced maps ranging in size from tiny folded maps to huge poster-sized maps. We will work with you to establish exactly what will work, addressing the base map (OS, 3D, open source or hand drawn), the presentation (flat, folded, large, small, tear-off pads) and whether a map is actually the right option. Have you considered photo guides or audio guides?


Cold Weather ailments

Some health problems, such as asthma, sore throat and cold sores, are triggered or worsened by cold weather. Here's how to help your body deal with cold weather ailments.


You can help prevent colds by washing your hands regularly. This destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people, such as light switches and door handles.

Read this guide to how to wash your hands properly.

It's also important to keep the house and any household items such as cups, glasses and towels clean, especially if someone in your house is ill.

Top tip: If you get a cold, use disposable tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs to avoid constantly reinfecting your own hands.

Read five surprising facts about the common cold.

Sore throat

Sore throats are common in winter and are almost always caused by viral infections. There's some evidence that changes in temperature, such as going from a warm, centrally heated room to the icy outdoors, can also affect the throat.

Top tip: One quick and easy remedy for a sore throat is to gargle with warm salty water. It won't heal the infection, but it has anti-inflammatory properties and can have a soothing effect. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water.


Cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. People with asthma should be especially careful in winter.

Top tip: Stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth. Be extra vigilant about taking your regular medications, and keep rescue inhalers close by and in a warm place.

Get five tips to avoid cold-related asthma attacks.


Also known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is an extremely infectious stomach bug. It can strike all year round, but is more common in winter and in places such as hotels and schools. The illness is unpleasant, but it's usually over within a couple of days.

Top tip: When people are ill with vomiting and diarrhoea, it's important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Young children and the elderly are especially at risk. By drinking oral rehydration fluids (available from pharmacies), you can reduce the risk of dehydration.

Read about how to prevent food poisoning.

Painful joints

Many people with arthritis say their joints become more painful in winter, though it's not clear why this is the case. Only joint symptoms such as pain and stiffness are affected by the weather. There's no evidence that changes in the weather cause joint damage.

Top tip: Many people get a little depressed during the winter months, and this can make them perceive pain more acutely. Everything feels worse, including medical conditions. Daily exercise can boost a person's mental and physical state. Swimming is ideal as it's easy on the joints.

Read about how to get started with swimming for fitness.

Cold sores

Most of us recognise that cold sores are a sign that we're run down or under stress. While there's no cure for cold sores, you can reduce the chances of getting one by looking after yourself through winter.

Top tip: Every day, do things that make you feel less stressed, such as having a hot bath, going for a walk in the park, or watching one of your favourite films.

Read about the top 10 stress busters.

Heart attacks

Heart attacks are more common in winter. This may be because cold snaps increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart. Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it's cold.

Top tip: Stay warm in your home. Heat the main rooms you use to at least 18C and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed. Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.

More tips on how to keep warm and well.

Cold hands

Raynaud's phenomenon is a common condition that makes your fingers and toes change colour and become very painful in cold weather. Fingers can go white, then blue, then red, and throb and tingle. It's a sign of poor circulation in the small blood vessels of the hands and feet. In severe cases, medication can help, but most people live with their symptoms.

Top tip: Don't smoke or drink caffeine (they can both worsen symptoms) and always wear warm gloves, socks and shoes when going out in cold weather.

Get advice on how to stop smoking.

Dry skin

Dry skin is a common condition and is often worse during the winter, when environmental humidity is low.

Moisturising is essential during winter. Contrary to popular belief, moisturising lotions and creams aren't absorbed by the skin. Instead, they act as a sealant to stop the skin's natural moisture evaporating away.

The best time to apply moisturiser is after a bath or shower while your skin is still moist, and again at bedtime.

Top tip: Have warm, rather than hot, showers. Water that is too hot makes skin feel more dry and itchy. Hot water will also make your hair look dull and dry.


Flu is a major killer of vulnerable people. People aged 65 and over and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, are particularly at risk.

The best way to prevent getting flu is to have the flu jab (or flu nasal spray for children aged 2 to 18). The flu vaccine gives good protection against flu and lasts for one year.

Top tip: Find out if you're at risk of getting flu by asking your GP, or read our article on who should have the flu jab. If you're in a high-risk group, see your GP to get the vaccination.

Now, read about how to stay well in very cold weather.

This Month's Finds for Young people

The Mix


This website is amazing. It has a plethora of information-all really valuable!


Helpline: 0808 808 4994

Description of service

Confidential helpline for young people. The helpline operates by telephone, email, webchat and SMS. The aim of Get Connected is to find young people the best help, whatever the problem. Callers can be connected free of charge to local or national helplines when appropriate. The Team can help with issues including abuse, violence, bullying, harassment and discrimination, citizenship and cultural issues, rights, addictions, education and training, families, mental health, gender identity and sexual orientation, self harm, housing, money matters, heatlh, sex and relationships. Calls to 0808 80 numbers are free to call from landlines and mobile phones within the UK and do not appear on itemised bills.

Key Focus

Confidential help for young people

Age Range

Young people up to 25 years

Opening Times

Open every day, 11am-11pm for all services

Area Of Operation

Whole of UK

Referral Method

Self referral

Registered Charity Number


Registered Company Number



Children and Young People
Emotional Distress

 Some of the issues covered are as follows:

      Sex and relationships:

Your Body:


Mental Health:

Drink and Drugs:




Work and Study:

Crime and Safety:


Travel and Lifestyle:








Student Life

London Nightline



We are students there for students.

We are a confidential listening, support and practical information service for students in London and Open University. You can talk to us about anything – big or small – in complete confidence. We won’t judge you or tell you how to run your life: we’ll simply listen to whatever is on your mind.

All our volunteers are students themselves, who have undergone extensive training and who understand that university life isn’t always plain sailing.


Helpline: 0207 631 0101
Email: listening@nightline.org.uk


Description of service

Confidential listening, support and practical information service for students in London and Open University.

Key Focus

Support for students

Age Range

18 and over

Opening Times

6pm to 8am every night of term

Area Of Operation

Greater London

Referral Method

Self referral

Registered Charity Number

101 5744


Emotional Distress
Mental Health


Here is a list of the affiliated education establishments:

 Brunel University SU
Central School of Speech and Drama
Courtauld Institute of Art Students’ Union
Coventry University in London
Danenberg Oberlin-in-London Program
Glasgow and Caledonian University in London
Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Heythrop College
HULT International Business School in London
Imperial College London
Institute of Cancer Research
INTO London World Education Centre
King’s College London
Kingston University
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Mountbatten Institute
Middlesex University
National Film and Television School
Newcastle University in London
New York University in London
Open University (all campuses)
Queen Mary University SU
Ravensbourne College of Design
Royal Academy of Music
Royal College of Art
Royal College of Music
Royal Holloway
Royal Veterinary College
School of Oriental and African Studies
St. George’s Hospital Medical School
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
University College London
University for the Creative Arts
University of the Arts
University of Coventry in London
University College of Estate Management
University of Greenwich
University of Law
University of West London
University of Westminster


Mother's Pre/post natal Mental Health



 The PANDAS Foundation is here to help support and advise any parent who is experiencing a perinatal mental illness.  We are also here to inform and guide family members, carers, friends and employers as to how they can support someone who is suffering.

Helpline: 0843 28 98 401


Description of service

Provides support to families suffering from pre (antenatal) and postnatal illnesses. Run a helpline, support groups and online advice. Helpline volunteers can discuss pre or postnatal depression and are trained to listen and offer support over the telephone. The cost of calling Pandas varies according to the telephone provider and contracts. Calls cost between 3 and 5p per minute, in some phone packages the phone call is free. Leaflets, posters, self help information and advice for carers also available on website.

Key Focus

Pre and post natal advice and support

Age Range


Opening Times

Monday to Sunday, 9am-8pm

Area Of Operation

Whole of UK

Referral Method

Self referral

Registered Charity Number



Emotional Distress
Family and Parents

Action on Elder Abuse

Action on Elder Abuse


Over 500,000 older people are abused in the UK each year

  • Elder abuse can occur anywhere. This includes in someone’s own home, a residential home, or a hospital
  • Both older men and women can be at risk of abuse, though a majority of victims are women over the age of 70
  • There are five common types of abuse: physical, psychological, financial, sexual abuse and neglect


Helpline: 0808 808 8141
Email: enquiries@elderabuse.org.uk


Description of service

Helpline offering information and support for anyone concerned about the abuse of an older person. Action on Elder Abuse promotes changes in policy and practice and aims to raise awareness about the treatment of older people. Training for care staff. Conferences. Talks.

Key Focus

Information and support for anyone concerned about the abuse of an older person

Age Range

All ages

Opening Times

Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

Area Of Operation

Whole of UK

Referral Method

Self referral

Registered Charity Number



Pet Bereavement Support Service

Blue Cross - Pet Bereavement Support Service


 Often people can underestimate the effect that losing a pet has on someone.

Grieving for the loss of a pet, whether through death, parting or enforced separation, can be a sad and difficult experience. Life once filled with the love and friendship of a pet, may suddenly seem very empty and feelings of deep sadness and loneliness are not uncommon. We also offer emotional support to assistance dog users.

Sometimes it helps to share these feelings with someone who knows from personal experience how distressing pet loss can be, and who will listen with compassion and without judgement. Our Pet Bereavement Support Service is able to help you through this traumatic time.

Contact the Pet Bereavement Support Service on 0800 096 6606 (UK only including northern Ireland). The support line is open from 8.30am - 8.30pm everyday. All calls are free and confidential from a landline. If calling from a mobile phone, some phone networks may charge. Alternatively you can also email the Pet Bereavement Support Service on pbssmail@bluecross.org.uk

Helpline: 0800 096 6606
Email: pbssmail@bluecross.org.uk


Description of service

Offers confidential support, understanding and practical information for pet owners and others in contact with animals through its telephone and email support line service. Dedicated and trained volunteers across the UK offer their time on the support line every day of the year to help pet owners through their loss. Volunteers welcome. The Pet Bereavement Support Service also has a range of literature available to download covering euthanasia, children and pet loss, information cards and posters. Charity provides training courses in pet loss.

Key Focus

Pet bereavement support

Age Range

All ages

Opening Times

Monday-Sunday 8.30am-8.30pm

Area Of Operation

Whole of UK including Northern Ireland

Referral Method

Self referral

Registered Charity Number


May the Forces be with you

SSAFA - Forcesline



Helpline: 0800 731 4880 UK


Description of service

Forcesline is a free and confidential telephone helpline and email service for current and former members of the Armed Forces and their families. The Team can provide factual information and 'signpost' ways forward to assist. Support extends to Regulars and Reserves in the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and those who have completed National Service. The Helpline also provides a listening service to those personnel currently AWOL. As an independent charity SSAFA is not part of the military chain of command. Helpline numbers to call outside the UK: Germany 0800 1827 395, Cyprus 800 91065, Falkland Islands #6111, Rest of the world +44 (0)207 463 9292.

Key Focus

Support for current and former members of the Armed Forces and families

Age Range

All ages

Opening Times

Monday to Friday, 9am-5.30pm

Area Of Operation

Whole of UK, International

Referral Method

Self referral

Registered Charity Number

210760, SC038056


Housing and Homelessness
Occupations and Forces
Prisoners and Ex-Offenders