A DOCTORS surgery in a deprived area of Bradford has been trialling a new way of treating people’s physical and mental health.

Highfield Health Centre, in Tong Street, has been prescribing classes to its patients rather than just medication to help them take control of their health.

The classes come in a range of different styles, from art workshops, body confidence sessions and bereavement classes to yoga.

The Restore BD4 Recovery College has been based at the health centre since its launch in May, and aims to address the areas of life that affect people’s wellbeing outside their physical health through ‘social prescribing’.

Over the past four months since the college was founded, it has seen a good uptake, with patients taking part in a range of sessions and workshops.

Dr Angela Moulson is a GP at Tong Medical Practice - based at Highfield Health Centre.

She is also clinical lead for mental health with the NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups and a member of the Recovery College Steering Group.

She said: “We are working with our local Credit Union and police to put on some very unusual classes.

“When you have high levels of crime in the community or people lose control of their finances, they don’t feel safe, they don’t go out of their houses, they get depressed, they get anxious and they get isolated.”

Through group sessions where people can discuss their concerns and get access to helpful information and support, it is hoped it will improve the health of people in the BD4 area of the city.

Bradford District Credit Union has now also become involved with the Recovery College, offering classes on financial wellbeing and to reduce people’s fear of crime.

Money worries can have a big impact on people’s physical and mental wellbeing, and through the Money SOS classes it is hoped the Credit Union can improve people’s wellbeing and financial situation.

Ian Brewer, financial inclusion officer at Bradford District Credit Union, runs the classes.

He said: “The Credit Union is a cooperative that helps more than 7,000 local people save and borrow safely.

“We have members all the time telling us that once they started to deal with their debt and get into a savings habit, they felt in control of their finances which increased their overall wellbeing.

“In the workshop we explain financial jargon such as APR, payday lenders and credit score, as well as teaching people how to budget and the importance of saving.”

A number of patients at the health centre have reaped the rewards of the Recovery College so far, including women struggling with social isolation and mental health issues, to a man contemplating suicide following the death of his wife.

The Restore BD4 Recovery College is starting more classes this autumn, and will be holding an open day on Tuesday, September 10, to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day.

The Live a Healthier Life open event will take place at Elim Church in Tong Street from 11am to 1pm, and for more information about the programme, call 01274 685449.

For more information about college, call 01274 685449.