We talk with Ayehsah Khan, founder and director of The Health & Wellness Hub. This social enterprise was founded in 2012 with the aim of providing a healthy, fair and equitable space to the people of North Lanarkshire regardless of the economic, social, physical or emotional barriers some people may encounter in other settings. Through a range of community-based activities and their successful Transforming Lives volunteer programme, The Health & Wellness Hub creates opportunities for these people, so that they can realise and achieve their full potential.
Q. What services offers the Health and Wellness Hub to the community and why is important in a place like North Lanarkshire?
A. Services we offer are very much in the heart of communities and areas where there’s high levels of deprivation —so in areas like north Motherwell, we’ve been in Craigneuk, Carfin, Bellshill. So it’s important for us to have something in the community, so it’s different by the local community, not by us as an organisation. It’s important in North Lanarkshire because we have a lot of health issues and a lot of people who are disadvantaged in some way, so we hope that we can strive to bridge that gap in some way with the services that we offer.
Q. Who can benefit from the activities, treatments and therapies you offer?
A.Anyone in North Lanarkshire can benefit, but we aim our services particularly to people who’ve got some type of health issue, or marginalised backgrounds or people who’ve got learning or physical disabilities or long-term health issues. Particularly those types of people who do have barriers to access mainstream services, so we try and offer things that are affordable, accessible, and most importantly, inclusive.
Q. What would you say to any potential volunteer to join the programme and be part of this family?
A.I think the volunteers speak volumes for the impact that the volunteering programme has had in their own health. People tell us they feel less socially isolated; they feel that their health has improved physically and emotionally, that they’re actually part of something bigger now and giving back to the community is really important to them. A lot of people end up going on and working in other jobs, or they’ve never worked before and they now access employment, or they end up going on to other training courses, or just further education. So opens up a number of streams, but we get so much back from those who give the time for us.
Q. How does the work you do fit with the vision that North Lanarkshire is the place to Live, Learn, Work, Invest and Visit?
A. I think it absolutely fits with that vision. We want North Lanarkshire to be a thriving place where people actually are proud, and I think is really important that everybody contributes to that vision. We actually encourage everyone that links with our organisation to play a part and contribute in some way to the greater aims of the vision of North Lanarkshire.
Q. You work all across North Lanarkshire. Could you summarise where you work and what activities you do?
A. The Health and Wellness Club doesn’t just have this space in Motherwell. We operate very much at community level. Over the last 6 years we’ve been in fifteen – twenty areas of North Lanarkshire. Some of these areas have included Craigneuk and Wishaw; we’ve been in Chapelhall, we’ve been in a variety of different places. At the moment we’re in north Motherwell, we’re in Carfin, we’re in Bellshill and we also run a hub in this area [Motherwell] as well. Everything we offer is very low cost and it means there is no barriers to accessing if you’ve got no money to do so.
Our services are very person-centred. I think is important for us to recognise that people have varying degrees of need, and we hope that what we offer through our volunteering programme and the community stuff that we do in a weekly basis definitely meets those needs. As long as it’s non-clinical, and it’s holistic in its approach to health and well-being, then we’ve got the creativity and freedom within our own third sector organisation to do what meets the needs of local people.