Physical activity has a huge range of benefits, including cutting the risk of heart disease, many types of cancer, diabetes, depression and more. In January/June/ October take out leisure centre membership at a special rate. See link below for further information:
There are more than 300 activities at over 100 clubs, leisure centres, parks, and other venues to do more than 60 sports and other types of physical activity right here in Islington. This could be in a leisure centre or other leisure facility, at a sports area, or with a sports or fitness club. Find out more by following the link below:
You can also contact John Thorne, Islington Council Leisure Team, on 020 7527 7096 or email John Thorne.
For information about the sport and physical activity on offer in London, check out
Running opportunities in Islington
Running is easy, natural, enjoyable, inexpensive, helps you get fit and healthy and control weight, can be sociable, does not require special equipment, and can be done at any time. Find out about running opportunities in Islington, including Highbury Fields parkrun, Good Gym, and local running events.
Other running opportunities
Making changes to your lifestyle can have a dramatic, positive impact on your health but we know how hard it can be to stop some of those bad habits. Find out about the support available to help you to cut down or quit smoking or drinking.
Breathe provide a range of support and advice to anyone who lives, works or studies in the borough to help them stop smoking. If you would like to find out more about the support on offer visit their website, phone 020 3633 2609 or text 66777.
You can also visit the NHS smokefree website for extra information and support.
An easy way to get an idea of how much you are really drinking, and the impact it might be having on you, is to take the quick, confidential alcohol test on the Don’tBottleItUp website.
There is also a handy app, created by HAGA, called Drink Coach that can help you keep track of how much you are drinking and help you cut down if you feel you want to.
Going on a diet is a common new year’s resolution, but this year why not make a resolution to make healthy eating a year round activity? The change4life website is packed with advice on healthy eating. Some of the top tips include:
- Super start your day - Don’t be tempted to skip breakfast, even if you’re trying to lose weight. If you have a healthy breakfast in the morning you’re less likely to want to snack before lunch.
- Make it a packed lunch - Plan ahead and take a healthy, nutritious packed lunch to work or when you are out and about. It can also work out a lot cheaper. You could also get together with work mates to make healthy eating part of your everyday by setting up a fruit club or sign up to our salad club!
- Max your pocket, not your drink! - Extra-large whole milk lattes or cappuccinos may seem like value for money, but they also contain more calories. Try swapping for a regular size coffee made with lower fat milk and save on calories, as well as money.
- Mix and match! - If you know you’ll be having a proper dinner later keep an eye on the calories by having a lighter lunch.
- Love your labels - Food labels can seem a bit boring, but they are the best way of checking what you're eating as they can tell you what's hidden inside the food. Familiarise yourself with the labels and you'll soon be making healthier choices when you're shopping.
- Keep an eye on package portion - Many foods and drinks are packed based on two adults sharing, so if you’re eating by yourself save some for later.
Register with Change4Life to join over a million people and get tips, recipes, competitions to help you Change4Life. Our free Employee Assistance Programme also offers a range of information on healthy eating and getting active.
Keeping stress, anxiety and depression at bay
Physical and mental health are closely linked and it’s worth building in more exercise into your daily routine. Staff can take advantage of council benefits such as discounted gym membership, free running sessions, smoking cessation support and much more.
What to do if you’re struggling to cope?
We offer an Employee Assistance Programme, which offers staff free confidential support with everything from emotional support and stress, to family and parenting issues, the EAP service provides counseling and resources to help employees and their families with whatever issues they may face, both at work, and in their personal lives. Employees can count on confidential service access any time, any day, 24/7, 365 days per year, either by phone, email, text, Instant Messaging or web to receive information and clinical support from qualified professionals for any issue that’s important to themselves or their families. If you're an Islington or Camden resident, you can also access the iCope service which provides a confidential psychological therapy service for people over the age of 18 registered with Camden or Islington GPs.
Mental Health Awareness training
Mental Health Awareness training (including Accredited Mental Health First Aid courses) is available to help you support colleagues, friends/family and young people. After completing the training, you’ll be equipped with the skills to spot the signs and symptoms of mental distress, to know how to respond, and to direct people to services. There are courses for people working with adults and for those working with children. You can access the training through the links below:
For further information, please contact Jane Brett-Jones, Mental Health Strategist, Public Health.
Advice for line managers It can take a lot of courage for a staff member to approach their line manager to report a mental health issue, so a sympathetic approach from managers is really important. However, many mental health issues are not just work related, and may have a variety of underlying causes. It’s important to take the time to understand what your staff may be going through. Here are some useful resources:
School Wellbeing Service
Islington’s School Wellbeing Service (SWS) is a new NHS resource for all mainstream schools and colleges in Islington.
The service builds on the excellent mental health provisions already available in Islington and is a collaboration between Islington Council, Islington CAMHS, Whittington Health NHS Trust, and the North Central London Commissioning Group.
Government published guidance on mental health and wellbeing
NEOST Wellbeing guide for staff working in schools
Managing the wellbeing of staff during COVID-19
Counselling and resources
School staff can get confidential counselling and coaching to help support their emotional wellbeing and mental health, and to help manage practical challenges such as maintaining healthy work-life balance.
There are two main programmes staff can access, both of which are confidential and free.
- Able Futures provides support from qualified professionals, to coach you to better mental wellbeing, for up to nine months.
- The Employee Assistance Programme offers emotional support from qualified counsellors as well as practical advice, for you and others in your household, 24/7, 365 days a year.
Employee Assistance Programme
Whatever issues you or your family might be facing at work or at home, the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides support and resources, including emotional support from qualified counsellors and practical advice. You can either use self-help online articles or request confidential counselling, which is available remotely.
You can get one-to-one support from qualified counsellors on areas including:
- couples counselling
- specialist trauma support
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- extended therapies.
These are available via telephone, text and chat messaging, either through the website or via the app. Plus, they can give you access to self-help articles online.
You can get practical advice on areas including:
- Managing a healthy work-life balance
- Money management and legal information
- Career development and advice on working effectively
- Maternity and back-to-work planning
- Childcare including in-house qualified and experienced childcare specialists
- Caring for elderly people and people with disabilties
- Team management for line managers.
Call for free on 0800 243 4588 or visit the Workplace Options website and use the client ID islington and password employee.
You can also access it by downloading the iConnectYou app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android). Register using the passcode: 124222.
If you live with mental health difficulties, you know there are good days and bad days that can affect you at work. Able Futures provides support on anything affecting your emotional wellbeing – such as stress, anxiety, depression, mental wellbeing, eating and drinking, sleep, bereavement, Seasonal Affective Disorder – from qualified professionals for a maximum of nine months who will act as your coach to better mental wellbeing.
Able Futures is continuing to deliver mental health support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic via telephone and email. Face-to-face meetings are not possible at the moment.
You can get:
- information and advice on support services available to you
- coaching on wellbeing strategies to help you manage your mental health
- assistance on obtaining help from various
Once you sign up, Able Futures will get in touch to arrange a meeting with one of their qualified healthcare professionals. Following this, you’ll receive sessions lasting 15 minutes to an hour.
The healthcare professional has experience of helping people with mental health difficulties and will listen to you to understand the difficulties you are experiencing. They will plan support for nine months, but you can leave the service when it suits you.
Complete the online form on the Able Futures website. Able Futures will then get in touch with you by phone to establish your eligibility and book your first meeting with one of their healthcare professionals. You can also email Able Futures or call their Freephone number 0800 321 3137 (8am to 10.30pm, Monday to Friday).
More information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).
Our Frontline - mental health support for critical workers
Leading mental health organisations have come together to provide, for the first time, a single service to support the millions of key workers who form our frontline against COVID-19.
Together, they are providing a round-the-clock service to be there for key workers, whenever and wherever they need support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing. By combining their services, they are able to offer practical, non-judgemental support with problems, ranging from feeling overwhelmed or stressed through to coping with the bereavement of a colleague or family member.
Education Support Partnership
The Education Support Partnership provides a free helpline for school staff and targeted support for mental health and wellbeing:
A staff member is feeling worried or anxious. What should I do?
It’s understandable to feel worried at this time. It is important to remind staff to take care of their mind, as well as their body, and to get support if needed. There are some simple things we can all do to help ourselves and others stay healthy and well.
- Stay active! Short on time? Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website. Here are some handy 10-minute exercises. You can also go for a walk outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes. For tips on how to stay well if you’re self-isolating at home, visit the MIND website.
- Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into the garden.
- Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media. If you can, avoid reading, or posting, speculation. The most up-to-date and reliable sources of information are from the NHS and gov.uk.
- Take some time to clear your head. Why not try some free Headspace mindfulness meditations? Or check out this website for advice on wellbeing.
- Get support if you need it. The Every Mind Matters website has all the information you need, from advice to support helplines.
NHS: 11 tips to cope with anxiety about getting "back to normal"
Cruse Bereavement Care offer an online course on Bereavement Awareness. Many people are currently working beyond their usual experience, and sadly will be coming into contact with bereaved residents in larger numbers during the coronavirus epidemic. Any bereavement during this time is likely to be more complex and lonely, with reduced opportunities for close contact with loved ones before and after death. Whatever your reason for being in contact with a resident, we want you to feel confident to talk to people who are bereaved in a simple, empathic way, to be able to find the right words, and to provide simple signposting where needed.
Mental Health Awareness Training
Mental Health in the Workplace for Managers
Mental Health First Aid (Adult)
Managing Suicidal Conversations
- Understand the scale of the problem
- Recognise the factors that lead to suicide
- Recognise signs of distress and suicidal thoughts
- Understand and acknowledge suicidal thoughts and feelings
- Show that you have listened, heard and understood,
- Understand how talking about suicidal thoughts and feelings can be beneficial,
- Feel confident to converse with someone who is feeling suicidal,
- Sign-post people to support.