Salford Heart Care, based in Eccles, exists to improve the wellbeing of people with long-term conditions through peer-to-peer support.

The group aims to prevent heart disease and heart attacks, reduce social isolation, improve health and wellbeing, provide aftercare for people with heart conditions and long-term illnesses, and reduce the risk of further heart attacks.

The group’s Healthy Heart Clubs offer exercise, tai chi, stress management, group relaxation, holistic therapies, weight management support and healthy living advice. The group offers support to people suffering with cardiovascular diseases and also offers help to carers who are living with an individual suffering with heart problems.

Two of the group’s members, Peter and Jean, joined Little Hulton Healthy Heart Club in June 2014 after noticing a poster advertising the sessions in their GP surgery. Jean suffers from multiple long-term conditions and illnesses. She has had a heart attack and a stroke and has received treatment for cancer. She also suffers with respiratory problems, high blood pressure and is diabetic. Jean is registered disabled and Peter is his wife’s main carer.

They decided to attend the sessions at Little Hulton and have gained a great deal of benefit from the emotional and psychological support available from their qualified psychotherapist. They have learned relaxation techniques and now better understand how to manage stress and reduce anxiety, which can exacerbate illness and health conditions. They have developed a network of social support by attending the sessions and feel more aware of health conditions and the support available. The couple has attended social day trips and parties with the club, and Jean now has regular appointments with the holistic therapist who offers Reiki healing and massage therapy.

As a carer, Peter has developed greater confidence to support his wife whilst benefiting from the social and emotional support at the sessions. Often help for carers is overlooked but being able to reach out to someone like the supportive people at Salford Heart Care makes a huge difference to carers, which in turn makes a difference to those suffering as carers feel better rested and more positive about their care for their loved ones.