Free health checks will be offered by a community-led group in Copeland at the West Cumbria Vintage Rally this weekend.

The Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Group wants to reduce the number of people having a stroke.

Last month the group saw more than 90 people at the Cumbrian Traders’ Day in in St Nicholas Gardens in Whitehaven providing advice and guidance.

Rotarian Kevin Walsh has helped organise the event. He said: "We had a fantastic day in Whitehaven and we are really excited to be taking part in the Vintage Rally.

“Rotarians are continually looking for ways to help our local communities and by helping the stroke prevention group we know we can make a real difference in people’s lives.”

The Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project is made up of: Rotary, the West Cumbrians’ Voice for Healthcare, the Stroke Association, North West Ambulance Service, Healthwatch Cumbria, Public Health, Community Pharmacy Cumbria and the local NHS.

The tests include blood pressure and irregular pulse checks – they can indicate problems which are known to significantly increase your chance of having a stroke, but can be treated relatively easily.

Lynn McFarlane from Community Pharmacy Cumbria, said: “We are pleased to be part of this project. Last time our team had a really busy day and carried out lots of tests but also spent a lot of that time talking to people about their health and making them aware of other information that could be helpful.”

The group also shared advice on the things people can do to improve their own health, such as healthy eating, taking more exercise and stopping smoking which are key to reducing the chance of having a stroke.

Jon Ward from the West Cumbrians’ Voice for Healthcare said:  "I was very pleased to see so many people come to get checked at the last event, and we’re hoping for an even busier day on Sunday. If you get the car MOT’d and the central heating boiler serviced – next on the list are you and the people close to you. If you’re at the Distington Vintage Rally, take a few minutes to get checked out – it might cut into a great day out, but we’re trying to prevent something that might stop you coming back to shows like this in a few years.”

As many as 85 % of strokes could possibly be avoided by treating some risk factors and making positive health choices such as losing weight, taking more exercise. NICE Guidance supports this approach.

Last month the group saw:

  • 92 people who had blood pressure and/or pulse checks
  • Ages ranged from 19-80 years
  • 11 people were referred to their community pharmacy with home monitoring tested to provide a more detailed picture
  • 2 were checked by a GP on the day

Feedback included:

  • A thank you from one young man who had lost a close family member with heart problems but had been putting off getting tested
  • A business owner who has struggled to find the time to visit the GP who has been referred to the community pharmacy project
  • There were also conversations about the importance of taking prescribed medications and several people welcomed the idea of home monitoring through our community pharmacy project to get a more rounded picture.