Nicky Smith Wellbeing Alcohol Advisor

About Nicky:

Nicky Smith, Wellbeing Advisor (Alcohol)

Nicky Smith has worked for Adur & Worthing Councils since October 2020 and is currently an Alcohol Wellbeing Advisor.

Nicky's role is to work with adults 18+, who live, work and study in Adur & Worthing, who do not already have a dependency with alcohol. Supporting people to reduce their alcohol use and better understand their relationship with alcohol, whilst making small but positive changes to improve their overall wellbeing.

The alcohol prevention service is delivered via a blended approach of 1:1 extended brief interventions via video, telephone, walk and talk sessions and face to face.

Outside of work Nicky enjoys being creative and has a degree in fine art. Her creativity also connects her with nature and the environment, growing flowers and veggies and she is actively involved in community gardening projects.

You can read Nicky's current blog posts on this page below:

See also: Alcohol wellbeing service on the Adur & Worthing Wellbeing website


15th September 2021: Prevention is better than a cure

With September firmly on our doorsteps, this summer has certainly flown by, having blinked and ta-da, Autumn is here!

September is international recovery month, whereby we celebrate those who have recovered from addiction and promote the work of drug, alcohol and prevention services.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drugs and alcohol, then there is support available for you! Understanding what support is out there and available can help you take back control.

Throughout West Sussex, residents have a choice of Drug & Alcohol Services. The truth is, when it comes to addiction or behaviour change, there is no magic wand! It may take a couple or several attempts to gain back control over addiction, but when people are ready to, there are appropriate drug and alcohol services available.

It can be a minefield trying to understand which Drug & Alcohol service is the right one and often people or their loved ones are feeling at their most vulnerable. Addictive behaviours thrive in silence, untruths, shame and self-doubt. People who have positive experiences finding support are more likely to succeed - when it's meaningful, it's lasting.

I am currently working in the alcohol prevention field as an Alcohol Wellbeing Adviser and trained to deliver EBI (Extended Brief Interventions) sessions. Having that early conversation and intervention around reducing or abstaining from alcohol, understanding what you are drinking and why you are drinking, gives you the insight and ability to make changes which benefits all aspects of health and wellbeing, such as weight loss, better sleep, improved mental health, better skin & hair and feeling more energetic.

West Sussex Wellbeing has hubs across Adur & Worthing, Arun, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham and Mid-Sussex - each have a dedicated Alcohol Wellbeing Advisor, who work with people who are not yet dependent on alcohol, but who are concerned about the amount they are drinking. There is also Drink Coach, an organisation we work closely with, who also offer extended brief Interventions sessions for alcohol reduction via Zoom. There is a lot of information and support online around alcohol/addiction/recovery which includes SMART recovery and Club Soda.

With the NHS under such strain, now more than ever it's truer, that prevention is better than a cure. Worthing Hospital has a dedicated Alcohol Liaison Nurse, who works with alcohol related hospital admissions, providing valuable support, identifying further support needs and referrals. Reducing alcohol helps to reduce the risks of future serious and chronic illnesses and hospital admissions such as high blood pressure, stroke, pancreatitis, liver disease and cancer's of the liver, mouth, head, neck and breast cancer.

For people who already have a history dependency with alcohol or drugs, Change Grow Live is a Tier 3 Drug and Alcohol Service, which helps people to regain control and avoid relapse around their addictions. Offering group work and space to work alongside other people in recovery. In addition to this support, there are Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that run out of Worthing Hospital and have meetings across West Sussex and Al-Anon meetings for family support.

I want to end the blog with a message from a client that I was once working with:

“I'm extremely happy to report that yesterday I had my first dry day in a very long time and I feel GREAT. I definitely wouldn't have been able to do it without your support so a BIG thank you!”

When I read that, it makes me smile, because I want to normalise having conversations around alcohol and accessing support, the stigma around alcohol and addiction needs to end. There is zero shame in accessing support and there is zero judgement, just know help and support is available.

Take care, until the next time :)

Drug & Alcohol Support:

National Campaigns (sign up):

Some of Adur & Worthing Councils' services:

2021-09-15 - Alcohol service flyer - Because talking about alcohol, should be as easy and comfortable as buying it

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22nd July 2021: Kickstart your wellbeing

Chloe Gatland

Hello I'm Chloe Gatland, I thought it would be good to write a small section in Nicky's blog post this week to introduce myself and tell you all about my current role within the wellbeing team.

So let me start by telling you a bit about myself. Previous to working at the Councils I was in a completely different sector - I felt I needed a fresh start elsewhere after working in the beauty industry as a beauty therapist for four years. I strive for growth and I felt like in the short four years, I had already progressed quite far. So it was time for a change!

When looking for a new position I knew I wanted to be in a workplace environment that had a positive impact on people and helped people in whatever way they may need. As a result of that, here I am today working as part of the Wellbeing team at Adur & Worthing Councils.

As a Wellbeing Assistant, I have the joy of working alongside all the other great wellbeing advisors. Also involved in my position is focusing on young people, aged between 16 and 25 on smoking cessation.

Currently, I'm looking into the best ways to engage with this demographic and how I can effectively communicate and gather ideas from the people I will be working with to hopefully run a successful stop smoking campaign. This will take place around the month of Stoptober.

In the lead up to the campaign I'm making connections with local youth groups and organisations in the area. I am also currently running a questionnaire to help me understand the perceptions and attitudes around smoking within young people. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this project goes and working beside groups of people.

Did you know smoking affects nearly every part of the human body?

Now, I'm sure we are all aware of the health risks that come with smoking, but are the younger generation educated enough on the risks and side effects that occur alongside smoking. I'm making it my mission in the coming months to help, support and educate young people on this.

Kickstart Scheme logo

How I started out my role as a wellbeing assistant was through the government's latest Kickstart Scheme. So what is this new scheme? Jobs from the Kickstart Scheme are open to 16 to 24 year olds, who are claiming Universal Credit, and are at risk of long-term unemployment. Not only do you receive paid employment for six months but you also gain a great level of experience working within the organisation.

Being part of the Kickstart scheme also includes additional employability support to help boost employment prospects in the future. For myself this has been a great opportunity and so far I have obtained a great level of knowledge and experience that I will carry through with me to future career developments.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about my role and upcoming project then please get in touch. For now, I look forward to the coming weeks and months of meeting and working with more of you!

Best wishes, Chloe.

2021-07-22 - Stoptober - NHS quit smoking poster

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8th July 2021: Wellbeing ... It's a weight off

During Covid, many people reported gaining some extra pounds, it's been tough having to navigate new ways of living with restrictions to our normal routines!

Exercise and healthy eating were put on the back burner, simply getting through the day was enough of an achievement. But if covid taught us anything, we all benefit when we are connected to nature and our community.

So after over a year of lockdown and restrictions, the outdoors is calling! Check out the latest issue of ThriveAW Magazine - Back to Nature. Having moved to West Sussex from a concrete city, how lucky are we, to be nestled between the coast and countryside! The best of both worlds!

A&W Wellbeing has such a variety of courses to help people understand healthy eating habits, whilst being physically active, plus being healthy and active doesn't have to cost the earth! All our programs are affordable, so you can rest assured the only pounds you will lose are around your wobbly bits.

We have many different options and there is something for everyone - helping you and your loved ones manage a healthy weight, including one to one support, group courses, plus cookery skills with UK Harvest! (on the A&W wellbeing website).

So let's begin, back due to popular demand, the huge range of Get Active programs (on the A&W Wellbeing website) working in partnership with Activ8 and grassroot organisations, check out page 9 of our Summer 2021 ThriveAW magazine or Sign up today for the £10 challenge! Call James 01273 263064 or email info.wellbeing@adur-worthing.gov.uk

Family Wellbeing (on the A&W Wellbeing website) - Contact Caroline from START on 077122 90606 or email caroline@123start.co.uk

“I didn't realise it was going to be so fun. The whole family looked forward to the sessions every week and each session we learnt something that has really helped. We didn't want it to ever come to an end.”

Working with the whole family to make changes in a way that suits everyone. You will receive personal support, nutritional advice, physical activity and cooking sessions too!

The Weight Escape, for men and women (on the A&W Wellbeing website) - Booking is essential, please call Wellbeing Hub on 01903 221450.

“Friendly, helpful and useful information that I really feel able to put into practice. Never judged, only supported. Would definitely recommend it to anyone.”

Weight Escapes help you learn the strategies to help you change habits and behaviours to live a healthier lifestyle. Covering different topics each week, food labelling, portion size, healthy recipes and more!

Active Worthing - To book a place contact 07706 626158.

Our 12-week courses 'Weigh to Go' have been designed to help men tackle their weight through healthy eating and activity. Helping you to change habits and behaviour for a healthy you!

Kick off the Weight - with Albion in the Community. For more information call 07719 569076.

“I'm walking a lot more now than I was doing before, as the health team put the step challenge into place. That sense of competition really helped me.”

Our FREE 12 week course includes support on nutrition and physical activity for all abilities. Suitable for men with a BMI between 25 and 40 – Check your BMI on the NHS website.

Well?! What are you waiting for?! Wellbeing ... it begins with you!

Until next time, bye for now! :)

2021-07-08 - 0885 Kick Off The Weight Social Media Graphic

2021-07-08 - Apple and tape measure (Pexels - andres-ayrton-6550823)

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1st July 2021: Wellbeing and building resilience

Resilience - What does that mean and why is it important to our wellbeing?

By definition resilience is the capacity to recover from difficult events. It's like orienteering without a map or a compass! It takes time, strength and yes, there will be setbacks along the way, but in the end you will reach your destination and look back at how far you have come.

2021-06-30 - The word resilience painted in watercolours (Pexels-ann-h-6980526)

Can we all have a personal bank account of resilience, ready to cash in to help our wellbeing, enabling us to bounce back and push through? Yes! It is possible for all!

Resilience primarily is linked to individuals who achieve for the many, the unachievable, the superhuman! Who have drive, commitment, motivation, determination and let's face it, the opportunity to push themselves both physically and mentally. That quite frankly, I was not built for nor afforded by way of opportunity to explore.

A&W Wellbeing helps people build their personal resilience resource, helping achieve the small daily wins on those impossible days/times when the mind is preoccupied, defeat and negativity creeping in. How debilitating are these days? Harder than training for a marathon, for sure!

It can feel comfortable to live in an uncomfortable state of Wellbeing. It's familiar and ingrained, with health and wellbeing easily slipping away and worthiness is for 'other people' or feels out of reach.

The “I'll do it tomorrow” ... but tomorrow turns into a week, month or longer, familiar negative patterns masquerading as a friend. If this resonates with you, maybe you have overcome difficulties in your own life, maybe you are still going through difficulties, having days on negative overdrive, giving a perfect platform for unhealthy habits to dominate.

2021-06-30 - The boardwalk on Shoreham Beach

Wellbeing support helps you build resilience, forming new healthy habits and routines, allowing a kinder voice to emerge ...

“Take that shower, you'll feel better.”

“Make that nice lunch, you'll feel stronger.”

“Drink more water, you'll feel refreshed.”

“Get some fresh air, you'll feel connected.”

By becoming more mindful of our own behaviour patterns, we become resilient in maintaining our own wellbeing, front and centre.

Don't get me wrong, if it was easy then we would all be living life to the fullest each day, but that's not real life. We are human, uniquely flawed, beautifully individual and there will always be days that get the better of you. Allow it, own it, sit with it, just don't unpack and live there, it's not a permanent residence.

Working on building resilience helps to move you forward and pushing through takes work, but with support it is easier. A&W Communities & Wellbeing Team offers a wide range of preventative services that are free, private and confidential, for adults who live, work or study in Adur and Worthing.

We are trained in behaviour change, helping people to recognise their triggers and become mindful of them, finding ways around perceived barriers. Often it's the goals that seem the smallest and easiest, which are the hardest to implement, it's important to not overlook their importance to long lasting health and wellbeing.

Click on the links below to find out more ...

Until the next time, bye for now :)

Some of Adur & Worthing Councils' services:

Mental health support from other organisations:

2021-06-30 - A couple and their dog looking out to sea, standing at the end of Worthing Pier

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17th June 2021: Men's Health Week: 14th to 21st June 2021

This week we are discussing men's health to encourage men, of all ages to prioritise improving their health and fitness. It's no secret that men are often reluctant to seek help with health concerns. The reasons are often ingrained around perceived male expectations, but these expectations are outdated, as getting help early can avoid the devastating effects of a late diagnosis, especially with cancers.

West Sussex health services are collecting data for Prostate cancer diagnosis, as rates of diagnosis are rising, with strong indications that Adur district has the highest numbers of men diagnosed across West Sussex County. Click the NHS link What Are the Five Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer? If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, or if you have concerns about someone you care about, book in with your GP to get checked out!

During the pandemic covid exposed the mental health crisis and social & economic inequalities across the UK. These are very real and very complex issues affecting us here in West Sussex and relevant when addressing men's reluctance to ask for help.

With decades of sustained austerity, lack of funding for services, low wages & job insecurity, high rents, poor housing options, poor diet, increased drinking, relationship & family units breaking down and the gentrification of urban areas, these are just some of the reasons that men may feel unable, isolated or embarrassed to say they would like or need help.

Among men and boys the age group with the highest suicide rate was 45 to 49 years (25.5 deaths per 100,000). On this, The Office for National Statistics said:

“Generally, higher rates of suicide among middle aged men in recent years might be because this group is more likely to be affected by economic adversity, alcoholism, and isolation. It could also be that this group is less inclined to seek help.”

We all have an individual role in changing the future statistics for men's health. Men need to start talking openly about their physical & mental health. To support this, we collectively as partners, family members, friends and colleagues, need to encourage and offer a safe space for this to happen.

I recently met with Tyler Slade, who is a Wellbeing Advisor, who actively advocates for men's health & wellbeing both inside and outside of his professional role.

“The hard truth is action is required in order to prevent potential problems ... It's OK to put your hand up and say I need some support, guidance or help, that takes real courage. Our service is here to assist with this, we are there to encourage a lifestyle where you feel happier and healthier.” 
Follow Tyler's Story on Instagram.

Tyler is exploring a new project for a men's wellbeing group, using the free resources of our Sussex coast, making it financially accessible, linking with established swimming groups and a new Wellbeing sauna experience, that's documented to have amazing health benefits. I will be discussing this in more detail in future wellbeing blogs.

A&W Communities & Wellbeing Team offers a wide range of preventative services that are free, private and confidential, for adults who live, work or study in Adur and Worthing - providing vital information and local support services. Click on the links below to find out more ...

Until the next time, bye for now :)

Some of Adur & Worthing Councils' services:

Mental Health Support

2021-06-17 - Men's Health Week

2021-06-17 - Man walking his dog on Mill Hill, Shoreham

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3rd June 2021: What is Wellbeing?

Over the next coming weeks and months, I will be blogging in more detail about the Communities & Wellbeing Team, giving my own insight into Wellbeing and what works for me, as well as helping you to discover the key to your own wellbeing journey and linking to A&W community projects.

We hear the term Wellbeing so much nowadays, I first heard it at Glastonbury Music festivals (many moons ago). For a long time, Wellbeing seemed out of reach and conjured up images of people expertly doing yoga on beaches and practising meditation on mountains, or indeed showing off their physical stamina outside their Argos bought tent at a music festival!

2021-06-03 - People walking on the beach at low tide silhouetted against the sky

Wellbeing for me, means literally deciding to put your own health and happiness first and finding what makes you happy (plus this was more relatable, than learning yoga outside my tent, with everyone judging my inability to balance and bend like an actual human being!).

Wellbeing encompasses all aspects of health, physical activity, mental health, as well as creativity and connection with our own uniqueness and individuality. What is interesting, is what works for one person's Wellbeing, doesn't mean it will work for everyone. Wellbeing isn't one size fits all, off you go, you're sorted now! Wellbeing is an individual journey, allowing yourself the time and space to explore, change and grow through the process.

The one thing I can guarantee for everyone, is that your Wellbeing never leaves! You are stuck with it, whether it is currently good or bad, it is yours to own, ignore or nurture. Your own wellbeing is literally sitting there, waiting for YOU to choose it first, (unlike the picking of school sports teams, but that's a different story and for a different day!)

At A&W Wellbeing and wider communities team, there is a dedicated network of staff that deliver private and confidential person centred support, helping people to discover a life free of behaviours that are holding back their potential.

Whether it's through accessing preventative alcohol reduction, stopping smoking, weight loss, behaviour change, heath assessments, healthy eating, basic cookery skills, getting active, prevention of diabetes, falls prevention, family wellbeing for children above a healthy weight or a bespoke Workplace Health package for your business.

So what are you waiting for? Check out our A&W Wellbeing website, you are just one click away from Wellbeing.

Until the next time ... Bye for now!

Nicky :)

2021-06-03 - A woodland path

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Page last updated: 17 September 2021