International Day for Older Persons

What is International Day for Older Persons?  

On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly selected 1 October the International Day for Older Persons. This is a day set aside to raise awareness of issues affecting the elderly and to appreciate our Elders.   

With better knowledge, care, medicines and lifestyles choices/ changes people are living longer.  Age UK, the charity, is there to help the older generation, who feel there is no one there to support them with information and advice, telephone friendship (someone to talk to) and current up-to-date information.   

Check out their website here.

In the meantime, here are 10 tips for aging better, produced by Age UK. 

We all know health both physical and mental is important whether young or old.  For a fifteen minute workout by the National Institute on Aging, see  here

For useful advise on incorporating strengthening exercises in your routine, read this.

What about mental health? Lots of useful information is again available on the Age UK website, see here.

What can you do to support the elderly on this special day? 

Just a few suggestions:  

  • For exciting volunteering positions go here.
  • Visit or talk to your elderly neighbour or relative  
  • Can you help your neighbour bring in groceries or medication?  
  • Have you any ideas? 

National Hygiene Week

The Hygiene Bank is launching National Hygiene Week to help raise awareness that hygiene poverty is real for many of the 14 million living in poverty in the UK.

National Hygiene Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about hygiene poverty by bringing together thought leaders, community partners, grassroots organisers, schools, charities, and volunteers to contribute to the public conversation and increase demand for action so that collectively we are a voice for change.

What is hygiene poverty?

Hygiene poverty is a real thing and affects many of us here in the United Kingdom. This  link provides  very useful information about Hygiene poverty, what it is, and the statistics associated with it.  The Hygiene Bank have put together some good resources here, along with a series of conversations that explore the issue of Hygiene poverty.

You can watch this short video about Hygiene poverty produced by the Hygiene Bank, and this short Animation tells the story of Elisha, and how Hygiene Poverty impacted her life.





Pets and Wellbeing

Having a pet brings many rewards including companionship, affection and exercise.  Here are some links that explore this in more details, highlighting how having a pet can benefit your health and well-being in many ways.

Continue reading “Pets and Wellbeing”

Healthy at Home

Welcome to our two part series, Healthy at Home.  Its so important for our health and wellbeing that we take regular exercise to keep our bodies healthy and ourselves happy and calm.  Here is a selection of resources that you can use to exercise in your own home.  This week, it’s floor exercises. Continue reading “Healthy at Home”

Jewellery, Handa and Fruit kebabs!

On Monday 21 December Kensal Library hosted Go Golborne’s Fruity Jewellery making session.  The children were delighted by the beautiful beads and some truly stunning creations were made.

Choosing Beads
Choosing Beads

Selecting beads to create bracelets
Selecting beads to create bracelets

Showing off a Sweet Bracelet
Showing off a Sweet Bracelet

My Ladybird Bracelet
My Ladybird Bracelet

Showing off our Finished Bracelets
Showing off our Finished Bracelets

Also a wonderful performance of Handa’s Surprise complete with animal masks was acted out the by the children and narrated by Kate Gielgud, Health Information Officer for Libraries who guided and encouraged the children during the play.

Zebra Mask
Zebra Mask

Making Masks
Making Masks

Showing our masks
Showing our masks

Go Golborne is a local campaign led by the council which is all about supporting children and families to eat well, keep active and feel good.

Go Golborne banner
Go Golborne banner

We made delicious colourful fruit kebabs which are always very popular at Go Golborne’s events!

Making Fruit Kebabs
Making Fruit Kebabs

If you missed this event don’t worry, come along to the next one on Monday 1 February at 4.15 to 5.30pm.

Hello 2016!

We had a fantastic year in 2015 and I have no doubt that 2016 will be just as great. We wish all our customers health, happiness and success in 2016.

Stay Well This Winter!

Winter Wellness
Winter Wellness

We have blogged in the past about the ways that libraries are good for your health and wellbeing: increasing social and community cohesion with events and book groups, improving literacy and life skills, providing information about CV sessions, interview skills, job opportunities, housing issues and helping with digital inclusion with free online access through PCs and wifi, adult learning, children’s book sharing and of course a wide range of regular health sessions, talks and stalls for all ages – all these aspects of library life are good for our health.

We rely on close partnership work with the NHS to guide us so that we can keep you informed as to priorities in healthy lifestyle behaviours. At the moment Public Health England and more specifically our CCG, West London Clinical Commissioning Group, are urging us to ‘Stay Well This Winter’.

Here are the answers to some questions you may have about one aspect of ‘Stay Well this Winter’ – the flu vaccine:

Stay Well This Winter  – the Flu Vaccine

The NHS has been encouraging everyone to Stay Well This Winter by taking a number of steps to minimise the risk of falling unwell during the colder months – you might have seen posters and information displayed in libraries throughout Kensington and Chelsea. There are also videos to raise awareness:

Importantly, free flu vaccines are available to a number of groups of people including older people aged over 65, children aged 2-4 and in school years one and two, pregnant women, people with long-term health conditions and carers. Most GPs and pharmacies will be providing free flu vaccines until the end of January or February so it is still not too late if you, a friend or a family member has not yet had yours. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine your GP will be able to organise one for you, so it’s worth asking about.

To help understand why getting the flu vaccine is important we spoke to Dr Sarah Wallace, Public Health Registrar:

Why do we worry so much about preventing flu?

Flu is a strange illness.  People so often confuse it with a cold, but in reality they are very different.  Most of those who have had flu need no convincing to have the flu jab. You can be ill for up to a week, and it isn’t just the sniffles, shivering and sore throat that you have with your average cold. People will generally be in bed with high fevers, muscle aches, profound tiredness and other symptoms and will be completely unable to complete their normal daily activities.  This means time off work or school – it may be up to seven days before you feel better.

We particularly worry about certain groups of people getting the flu, who for various reasons have an immune system which can’t fight the flu as well as others can. These people include those aged 65 and over, people with other long-term medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease and many others), pregnant women and young babies. Because these people may have a weaker immune system they are more likely to end up in hospital as a result of the flu, with complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or rarely meningitis.  Sometimes flu can have incredibly severe consequences and Public Health England estimates that around 8,000 people die of flu every year in England and Wales.

Will having the vaccine guarantee that you won’t get flu?

The flu is a virus which is constantly changing and there are many strains; however each year the most common flu strains are different, and so the vaccine changes yearly.  Although the vaccination can’t stop all flu viruses, and it is not a 100% guarantee that you’ll be flu-free,if you do get flu after having the vaccination it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.  There is also evidence to suggest that the flu jab can reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Can you get flu by having the flu vaccine?

There are lots of myths about the flu vaccine.  Contrary to many people’s belief the flu vaccination will not give you the flu.  Some people feel a bit tired and achy, but this is simply your immune system working.

How can you get a free flu vaccine if you think we might be eligible?

Free flu vaccines are for these eligible groups are available until the end of January; not only from GPs but in London many pharmacies are also providing the flu vaccination for adults, which may be more convenient for some.

What if a child doesn’t like injections – can they still be protected against the flu?

The flu vaccine for children is particularly easy – it is just a simple and painless nasal spray.  There have been many people asking why they should vaccinate their healthy child against the flu.  It not only helps to reduce the likelihood of them getting sick, but also helps to stop them spreading the flu to others in the community particularly people who are vulnerable.  Flu is generally spread in the community by children.  They might be visiting elderly or sick relatives over the holidays, or those with young brothers or sisters. 2015 is the first year that children in school years one and two across the country are included in the programme.

Why is it important people in Kensington and Chelsea receive the flu vaccine?

Unfortunately we know that historically in Kensington and Chelsea flu vaccination uptake has been low, below the London average.  I urge those who are eligible for a flu vaccination to make an appointment with your GP today, or if you are over 18 visit your local pharmacy.  More information on how to Stay Well This Winter can be found at  The flu vaccination will be available at most GPs and pharmacies until the end of January or February, please don’t put it off.

Your local library and children’s libraries will have hard copy Stay Well this Winter and Flu Vaccination leaflets.

[Dr Sarah Wallace, Public Health Registrar;
Kate Gielgud, Health Information Coordinator]

African Dance session at Brompton library

Stephanie Webb, Librarian at Brompton Library, writes:

We were very happy to host Faith and Mary from Healthier Life 4 You last week for a feelgood session of African Dance. We knew we were in for a good time as feedback from other sessions at North Kensington and Kensington Central libraries had been very positive.

Faith and Mary from Healthier Life 4 You at Brompton Library, April 2015
Faith and Mary from Healthier Life 4 You at Brompton Library, April 2015

Faith and Mary deliver a gentle workout – you’d hardly know you’re exercising as you can’t help moving to the rhythm of the African music. The audience was on the young side and were a bit unsure to start with, but by the end – and with the help of their parents and carers – they were showing me their moves on the way out!

Highly recommended and we hope to see them again soon.

The Brompton roundup- January 2014

A Belated Happy New Year to all our friends and readers!

We hope you all had wonderful holidays and are ready to face the joys and challenges of 2014. If you are new to this blog, it is an insight into some of the great activities and events that have taken place recently or will be happening soon. It also allows our staff to share their thoughts and experiences of working in our library. Enjoy!

Resident pop-culture geek Christian Stevens writes: Every week Brompton receives new stock that is tailored to suit the demands of our readers and local residents. Some of our new titles that I would recommend for fans of adventure books are popular titles such as Clive Cussler’s Mirage and The Tombs, as well as Chris Ryan’s Extreme Most Wanted. I have also ordered in some new graphic novels including Crecy and Fell, two great books from one of my all-time favourite writers – the legendary Warren Ellis, and the first three volumes of Ghostbusters by IDW -a stylish comic adaptation of the original movies including fantastically ghoulish artwork and amusing storylines that really captures the feel of the 1984 classic movie. I would also recommend checking out the new thriller movie Jack Reacher (based on popular Lee Child novel One Shot), in which Tom Cruise is surprisingly watchable as the eponymous former military police officer called in to deal with a mass-murdering sniper. Sports fans can now also rent a copy of Rush starring Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt, whose fierce rivalry with Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One season is legendary.

They say the greatest wealth is health, well now you can get some free advice from a health trainer on the second Wednesday of every month between 2-4pm. This is a chance for anyone over 18 to get a free health-check, diet advice and healthy lifestyle information to help you reach your personal goals.

Our Health Trainer
Our Health Trainer


Our Communities, Our Stories

Stephanie Webb Librarian, writes: Here at Brompton we’re half way through a really exciting project bringing together older residents with young local school children. We’re working with the lovely “Celebrate My Library” (Hilary and Victoria) and our new partners, the Kensington and Chelsea Older Residents Forum.

Planning the sessions
Planning the sessions

We had a planning meeting with our older residents at the beginning of January and then mid-month we had the first event giving our 2 groups time to compare life as a child during and after WW2 with life as a child now. The kids couldn’t believe the older residents didn’t eat pizza when they were young and but our young Philippina could chat away quite happily with the older Trinidadian resident who was brought up among fruit trees and farm animals!

Our Community, Our Stories
Our Community, Our Stories. The dress you can see hanging up is the blue silk wedding dress that belonged to the mother of one of our residents.


Working at the clothes table our young volunteer works on a mood board to convey fashion of the rich and famous of the time.
Working at the clothes table our young volunteer works on a mood board to convey fashion of the rich and famous of the time.

At the end of the session each young person read out their creative writing which Celebrate My Library have taken away to craft into a fantastic book. At the beginning of March we’ll all get to together again for the book to be revealed and to celebrate a fantastic experience all round.

We had great feedback from young and old alike who all thought it was an excellent idea and the older residents especially said how much they’d enjoyed it!

Hieroglyphics Workshop at Brompton Chatterbooks

Think like an Egyptian!

This month the Chatterbooks reading group explored one of the most ancient languages and created their own words and phrases out of the symbols.

Children learnt about hieroglyphs by writing and reading, using a worksheet and a number of games. The group focused on hieroglyphs related to pharaohs or to gods.

They also wrote their names in the beautiful ancient Egyptian script.

By Babita Sinha; Senior Customer Services Assistant

Love Music, Love Reading

David Bushell; resident rock-star and graphic designer, writes: One of the best things about working in the library is constantly coming across the hidden gems on the shelves. I’m always surprised by how many items I see where I think “oh, I want to read that!” or in the case of the CD collection, “oh I want to listen to that!” Coming across the critically acclaimed Neil Young autobiography, I thought the same, and again when sorting through the ‘Y’ section in the music catalogue. This gave me the idea of the current display, where you can choose from a wide range of music related biographies, and in some cases, issue the CD to listen to as well. Perhaps, if you’re in the mood, you can give yourself a sound track while you read! If you love music and reading as much as I do, this can be for you.

New books and music at Brompton
New books and music at Brompton





Reading Well Books on Prescription

What is Reading Well Books on Prescription?

Books on Prescription
Books on Prescription

Self-help books can help people understand and manage common conditions, including depression and anxiety. Individuals with mild to moderate mental health conditions often use self-help books as an early intervention or additional treatment.

The Books on Prescription scheme includes a core list of self-help books, which are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help individuals understand and cope with a range of common conditions. Professor Neil Frude, a clinical psychologist, first developed it in Cardiff and there has been a national scheme in Wales since 2005.

For a full list of these self-help books visit the Reading Agency website.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme will be launched in June 2013, as the first national scheme for England and all self-help books and other resources for the scheme will be available in all Kensington and Chelsea libraries.

Reading Well logo
Reading Well logo

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Books on Prescription Launch event

For a chance to know more about the Scheme and an opportunity to meet and network with key health professionals:

  • Wednesday 5 June, 2pm to 4pm
  • Brompton Library
    210 Old Brompton Road
    London SW5 0BS

Which topics does the Books on Prescription scheme cover?

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • binge eating/ Bulimia Nervosa
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • health anxiety
  • obsessions and ompulsiocns
  • panic
  • phobias
  • relationship problems
  • self-esteem
  • social phobia
  • sleep problems
  • stress
  • worry

How does Reading Well Books on Prescription work?

Books can be recommended by your GP, psychological well-being practitioner or another health professional using the form attached to the user guide – you can find this in your local library or your local GP.

Individuals can then take their book recommendation to the library, where the book can be borrowed for free. If the book is not available, it can be reserved for you free of charge and the library will let you know when it arrives. Free reservations are available in most libraries.

Some people may also use the self-help books independently as a first step in seeking help.

Choosing a book
Choosing a book

What if I am not a library member, can I still borrow a book?

Yes you can. Joining is quick and easy when you go to the library to collect the book.  You will be asked to complete a short membership form and provide one form of identification such as a driver’s licence, passport or bank card.  If you need any assistance to complete the membership form or borrow a book, the library staff will be available to help you.

How long can I borrow a book for?

Books can be borrowed for three weeks and renewed a further four times.

Can books really help?

Research shows that reading improves mental well-being, and reduces stress levels by 67 per cent (Mindlab International, 2009). Also, there is strong evidence from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) that self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

For more information about this research visit the Reading Agency website.

The books provide helpful information and step-by-step self-help techniques for managing common conditions, including depression and anxiety. Although books can sometimes work on their own, research has shown that self-help approaches work best when there is support from a health professional.

The books on the scheme have all been recommended by experts. They have been tried, tested and found to be useful.

Man reading book
Man reading book

What if the book doesn’t help?

If you find that the book you are reading is not helping, you should contact your GP or health professional for further advice.

You can also visit:

How can I tell you what I think of the scheme or the book I borrowed?

We would like to hear from you about your experience with the scheme and the recommended books, as this will help us to improve. You can contact us by email: or  for information or questions about the scheme.

Also services available in the libraries include: