At last, the ground works for the site on which the new Medical Centre will be built have started. For clarification the entrance to the site is about 200m down from the Morris Dancer going towards Chester. We do not yet have a definitive completion date but we hope by the end of 2021.
We have previously reported that discussions between the medical practice and the PPG on how a sustainable business model for the Wellbeing Hub would be managed, were ongoing.
Since then we have had the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which has altered the playing field somewhat. Given this situation, the PPG are concerned that the original plan cannot be sustained in its current form. What this means is that the plan for the Hub is now uncertain.
The PPG is therefore pursuing an alternative business model as we believe that our best option is now to seek a third party Partner to assist us in the development and running of the Wellbeing Hub. We are cautiously optimistic that a suitable Partner will be found.
We still need to raise £33,000 to ensure that we can pay for the building and repay all the bonds, but our fundraising plans are on hold until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we have a suitable plan and Partner in place.

Caroline Stein Chair Kelsall PPG

The Hub - what is it & why do we need it?

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Kelsall is to have a new surgery.  The Doctors are keen that this should become a health and wellbeing centre for which an annexe is required as a base for the wellbeing activities.  The NHS will not fund this annexe, which we are calling the Wellbeing Hub, so the Practice has asked the Patient Participation Group (PPG) if it could raise the £130,000 that is required.  The PPG has accepted the challenge as it believes that it could contribute very greatly to the health and wellbeing of the village.  It is intended that the Hub will be open to all the patients of the Practice, all the residents of Kelsall village and also those who live in surrounding villages who could benefit from what it will offer.

Dr Chris Ritchieson, Clinical Chair of the West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I was delighted that West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group was able to support Kelsall Medical Centre in its plans to redevelop their building.  A key strength of the planned development is the creation of the Wellbeing Hub, a facility accessible to the community, third sector and other organisations that can help the practice to offer much more than a traditional General Practice. The ability to become a central point in the local community; helping individuals to look after themselves, tackling loneliness and isolation, and providing a space in which the community’s wider health and wellbeing needs can be supported is strongly in line with the local vision of General Practice and Primary Care. Nationally recognised sites of best practice have used similar models adapted for their own local needs and I am excited and supportive of the work happening in Kelsall, especially through their Patient Participation Group, to develop such a Wellbeing Hub.”

As demands on the NHS and Social Care increase due to an aging population and rising costs we shall need to do more in our communities to improve health and wellbeing.  Isolation in our communities, and not just amongst the elderly, is a growing problem which leads to unhappiness and sometimes to physical and mental illness.

There are many things we can do to help people lead happier and healthier lives, to prevent them getting ill and being admitted to hospital, and to cope with long term medical conditions.  We want Kelsall to develop into a caring and supportive community that helps people to remain fit and healthy, to reduce isolation, to deal with issues that lead to unhappiness and ill health, and to cope with mental and physical illness when that is needed.

One step towards this is to create a room attached to the new surgery that will act as a hub for a wide range of activities.  We want it to be somewhere that people can go for a bit of company, a cup of tea and a chat.  It will be available for clinical services that will increasingly be provided locally rather than at the Countess of Chester.  We are expecting that charities will use the space to provide a wide range of support; for example, support for carers; for people with diabetes or mental health problems; or with addiction problems; or weight management challenges; courses in healthy eating and nutrition; mother and baby groups; bereavement counselling; strength and balance classes for the elderly.

We want this to be a base from which a team of volunteers, trained to sign-post people to the services they need, whether they be provided by the NHS, the Council or by charities, can help to find the solutions to whatever challenges those people face that have an impact on their health and wellbeing.

Dr Claire Baker, of the Kelsall Medical Centre, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity of working with the Patient Participation Group and the wider community of Kelsall on our new Wellbeing Hub, using input from community groups and already established organisations to make a real difference to the wellbeing of our patients through developing a focal point for these organisation to come together.  The idea of a Wellbeing Hub came from an initial realisation that there were lots of conversations in the waiting room and at times these seem as important to people’s wellbeing as seeing a health professional. Social isolation is an increasing issue and one which cannot be solved with a prescription.  Enabling people to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, is very important. We are really excited about the possibility of being able to provide a place where people can meet that focuses on the wellbeing of the community as a priority."


The Wellbeing Hub is being modelled on a very successful project in Frome, Somerset which was established about five years ago.  Hospital admissions from the area covered by the project have reduced by 20% while hospital admissions in Somerset from areas not covered by the project have risen by 20%.  At the same time all the qualitative indicators have improved.  For example, the number of people dying in the setting of their choosing has doubled, which is of major benefit for carers and relatives as well as for those at the end of their lives. It is therefore hoped that the Hub will not only improve the health and wellbeing of those who use it but also reduce costs to the NHS and to West Cheshire and Chester Council.

The Frome project has four key building blocks:

1.       Groups they run, such as Talking Cafés, self-management programmes for people with long term conditions, groups of people who are setting goals which might improve their health and wellbeing;

2.       Health Connectors who support people to make positive changes to improve their health and wellbeing. Health Connectors, commissioned by the CCG, can listen to a person’s health story and provide information about local services such as exercise classes and support groups.

3.       Community Connectors who help friends, family, colleagues and neighbours find support in their own communities.  Training is provided to anyone who wants to join the programme.

4.       A Directory of Services that lists every intervention available, whether it is delivered by the NHS, the Council, Charities or local groups.  It is used by the Doctors, Health Connectors and Community Connectors to signpost people to the support they need.

The links below provide more information on the Compassionate Frome project:

Many people seek help from doctors when the root cause of their condition is social rather than physical, yet in many cases the only response a doctor can give is to write a prescription for a drug.  We are aiming to give the doctors the opportunity to make a different response, i.e. to write a social prescription which will go to the root cause of their patients’ condition.

We have mapped all the activities that are currently on offer in our village.  Although there are many that provide the opportunity for social contact for the gregarious there are many gaps.  In spite of what is already available we know there are people who are lonely.  In our survey we asked people to tell us the activities that they would like to see in the Hub if only three were on offer. “Drop in for a chat” came out at number one.  We intend to build on what is already happening in the village by broadening the range and filling the gaps. 

There are community spaces in the village such as a Community Centre, a Social Club and church rooms.  The doctors and the KPPG believe that having a space which is directly linked to the surgery waiting area and is dedicated to Wellbeing activities is crucial to success.  We intend to run themed Talking Cafés on most days and there is no other space in the village that could accommodate these.  However, we anticipate that, when the range of interventions on offer reaches its full potential, we shall need to use other community spaces and this will increase their utilisation considerably.

We have a particular need to hear from anyone who could help us with community engagement and fund raising.


For more information please enquire on or contact

Caroline Stein 751308

Michele Grant 752778

Fundraising for the Wellbeing Hub