Nicky Smith Wellbeing Alcohol Advisor
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 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:
This one is for Jenny, sweet, sweet Jenny!
I have been a little quiet on the Wellbeing blog front recently. In all fairness, I sometimes find it hard to create content or find the words to write something that I think will resonate with people, always trying to find that upbeat angle and sometimes it is just impossible to, when you are staring at the blank white page in front of you.
Two weeks ago, I learnt that my lovely friend Jenny, from my hometown, had suddenly and very sadly died. I was in utter shock and disbelief and if I am honest, as I write this, my eyes are leaking water and I have a lump in my throat.
Jenny was a pure soul, she wore her heart on her sleeve, she was kind, beautiful, chaotic, crazy, talented and intelligent, and I loved her immediately. She was a truly genuine soul and she will forever be sorely missed by me and many others. I do hope she knew how loved she was and how missed she is.
I felt and still feel such a mix of emotions. I feel privileged that I did indeed know her, that she entrusted and confided in me, with information that I will take to my grave. I felt sadness that she was taken away so young, it just feels cruel and such a sad injustice. I felt guilty that I didn't have a last moment with her and I feel grateful that I am still able to live in this crazy world, although it feels a little less bright without Jenny in it.
Grief, unless you have been through it yourself, you can't really explain it or understand the physical pain or heartbreak that comes with it. Grief is messy and without rules.
Nearly 22 years ago I lost my Dad without warning, as he suffered an aneurysm whilst on holiday and unfortunately the medics were unable to save him. It was an extremely sad and traumatic time for everyone, to say my world collapsed within that one phone call, a single heartbeat, is such an understatement.
The hardest thing for me is the finality of sudden death and I have learnt as time goes by, there isn't a day when we don't miss the ones we loved, they are in our thoughts and with every raw and happy memory, their spirit is kept alive and gets to live on through our own crazy little worlds.
The one thing that truly helped me recently after learning of Jenny's passing, is having some really good friends that showed up, rallied around me and allowed me to just feel whatever I was feeling and made it a safe place for me to grieve with no judgment.
I wanted to reassure anyone who is going through something similar, that there is no one way to grieve, so never let anyone tell you differently, there is no rule book, I wish I had known this 22 years ago, it would have helped.
If you have been affected by what has been discussed today, please do reach out for support, below are some local services that can help you deal and heal from bereavement.
Remember to hug the ones you love… we have one life and it is truly precious, never take it for granted, be kind to ourselves and others, forgive quickly and let the arguments go and make memories and make it count!
Until next time, Nicky :)
For further information on our services please visit Adur & Worthing Wellbeing and see the links below for specific support around bereavement:
- Cruse West Sussex – helpline 0808 808 1677
- Winston's Wish – offer support to those supporting bereaved children – helpline 08088 020 021
- Child Bereavement UK – provide support to bereaved children and families and those supporting them – helpline 0800 02 888 40
- Sudden – offer support when someone has died suddenly – helpline 0800 2600 400
- BAMESTREAM - bereavement support for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) adults who have been affected by the death of a loved one due to Covid-19
- Hospice UK's 'Just B' – counselling and trauma helpline 0300 303 4434 – for all NHS, care sector staff and emergency workers
- Samaritans – helpline 116 123
“The most popular topic of the day was losing weight.”
On Saturday, 16th July 2022, at the Maybridge Keystone Centre in Goring, Worthing Homes put on their annual fun day for residents of all ages, which proved to be very popular.
There were a range of activities to keep the kids happy, from bouncy castles, face painting and nail painting. There was adult entertainment provided, from yoga to belly dancing lessons, plus a make your own smoothie cycle and an official photographer - my good friend, Mr Stephen Millar, who took amazing photos of the whole day which will be uploaded to the Worthing Homes website.
There were freshly made pizzas in the woodland garden, food trucks in the sports field and a range of cakes, teas and coffees all provided free from all the amazing staff at Worthing Homes, who I would like to thank for inviting us and also who made the event so successful.
Sarah also attended from the Wellbeing Hub and we had a stall with all our props, leaflets - all and everything about wellbeing. I must say, the pound of fat prop, was a real conversation starter as the kids were fascinated by it and it did start great conversations around weight and how body fat is lost and what it looks like.
We had wellbeing freebies, such as hand sanitisers, stress balls, trolley key tokens, pens and pedometers, which all went down really well with the kids. The afternoon flew by and it was really lovely to see all the families and residents coming together and enjoying themselves after two years of the event being cancelled due to Covid.
Sarah and I offered 15-minute wellbeing sessions throughout the day, where I took people's height measurement and inputted the details on the weight Tanita scales, which does a bespoke health printout. Sarah was then able to spend time with each person, interpreting the information and offering helpful advice and next steps and links to our Wellbeing Services.
The most popular topic of the day was losing weight. I feel that most people (in theory) know if they are overweight and also (in theory) know how to lose weight, 'eat less, drink water, move more'. But it isn't always that easy on your own, and sometimes you need support. If you are struggling around healthy eating then the Wellbeing team is here for you.
We have a range of wellbeing interventions that can help you to get you back on track, including one-to-one appointments with our Wellbeing Advisors. These sessions can kick-start and motivate you on your healthy eating journey. If you need a more structured programme, our 12-week weight management course helps you to navigate your healthy eating journey and goal setting, plus we have our get-active programmes, which offer access to gym memberships, a range of outdoor programs and table tennis to help you and your family get active throughout the local borough.
And lastly, our new UpBeat Workshop, which is proving very popular, is an interactive workshop that provides information and advice around preventing Cardiovascular diseases including diabetes.
We have a programme for everyone where you can find out more about our free Wellbeing Services! For details see the:
In the meantime, stay cool, stay hydrated and stay well!
Bye for now, Nicky :)
“The mindful and sober market is really shaking things up ...”
Nicky Smith is Adur & Worthing Councils' Alcohol Wellbeing Advisor. Check out her blog below on enjoying a sober summer.
Club Soda hosted a jammed packed event last weekend at Brighton Open Market, full of all things low or alcohol free to promote mindful drinking.
It was such a great event with lots on offer, including guest panels/speakers and mocktail making sessions, as well as a variety of vendors all offering their latest low or no-alcohol alternatives.
On Sunday I sat in on the panel 'How to summer sober' organised by Club Soda (see their website) and the conversation was really lively, with different levels of drinks, lots of advice on favourite non-alcoholic drinks and their own personal strategies to navigate the summer months with “bring your own” being a key theme.
The sober market is definitely building momentum, but let's face it, there is still a long way to go in getting quality alcohol-free options stocked and available as standard. The guest panel discussed how there are often little or no alcohol-free options at music festivals, gigs, special occasions, such as parties, weddings, pubs/clubs etc.
But the mindful and sober market is really shaking things up as the race is on to produce a non-alcohol alternative or product that isn't high in calories but still has all the flavours without the added sugar.
One of the questions I get asked a lot as an alcohol advisor is “what can I swap or replace wine with?” So it was my mission to find out what non-alcoholic drinks are up and coming in the market, where they are stocked while obviously having to try to taste them too!!
Here are my non-alcoholic favourite flavours of the day!
I was really keen to try Kombucha Tea, this is a fermented tea that is an alternative to sparkling wine/champagne. I wasn't disappointed, I tried a brand called REAL, my favourite being Royal Flush, which is stocked in Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Ocado.
I sampled low-alcohol wine alternatives from binary botanical, really nice flavours, which do alcohol versions (Binary1) and non-alcohol (Binary0) and are brewed in West Sussex and are stocked on Amazon and via their own website.
I tried most of the alcohol-free 'Clausthaler' products, the grapefruit, the dry hopped and the original. They were all great, the original was my favourite tasting lager and I wouldn't have known it was alcohol free or low in sugar. They are currently stocked in Waitrose and Ocado.
Another sample I tried was from Only with Love. They mainly stock at independent bars and restaurants but have developed a 'Big Issue' branded drink where £1.50 goes towards supporting people finding employment.
There were also a range of spirit-flavoured drinks via Anon & Fluere provided by Wise Bartender, with my favourites being the rum-flavoured drinks Spiced Cane and Dark and Spicy, which were all very smooth.
The English Garden, which came ready-mixed in a can, was a great alternative to Pimms and was really refreshing!
There was also a product from Sentia, which claims to be the world's first GABA spirit, developed to activate the GABA neurotransmitters. It's like alcohol, yet contains no alcohol. It is unique to the market and unique in flavour. This is stocked in Better Foods, Amazon and via their own website.
And lastly, I visited the Heineken stall and tried the non-alcohol Berries and Cherries Old Mout Cider and also Birra Moretti Zero, both again were great no-alcohol alternatives.
Remember that like everything, one size doesn't fit all. It's important to try to test what alcohol-free products are available and keep trying. There are so many products available now that I am convinced there is now an alternative for most people.
If you are looking to reduce or cut out alcohol from your life then support is available. Contact Adur & Worthing Alcohol Wellbeing on 01903 221 450 or use our online secured referral link on the Adur & Worthing wellbeing website.
Enjoy your summer, drink mindfully and live well!
13th to 19th June 2022 is Men's Health Week, so we are encouraging men, of all ages to prioritise accessing their Wellbeing Assessment, Men's Health Forum's campaign “it's time for your MOT”.
This highlights the need to access GP appointments now Covid restrictions are lifted and book in a yearly Wellbeing Assessment.
Personally, I would love it if every man woke up tomorrow and just said “yeah okay” and booked one. No stress, no drama, just a routine and normal part of your overall health care routine.
It's no secret that men are often reluctant to seek help or discuss their health concerns with anyone, usually dealing with something once it's serious, which is often too late and could have been prevented.
Tyler (A&W Wellbeing Advisor) kindly invited me to attend a Dad'La'Soul session in Worthing at the end of May and introduced me to Dan Flanagan, the founder of the activity club.
Dan explained how Dad'La'Soul is supporting dads from across the whole of Sussex with sessions open for all Dads and their young children. The activity club takes an alternative approach to tackling social isolation that many men face.
The group is peer-led, relaxed, modern and informal, offering alternative childcare activities through art/tech/music mediums, whilst being able to meet up with other dads.
Dad'La'Soul encourages men to take care of their health & wellbeing. Accessing support and help doesn't have to feel all that daunting with links to services which can help to prevent and address current health concerns.
I found there was a real sense of community and friendship within the room, and in addition to these play sessions, there are alternative sessions and meet-up opportunities, such as sea dipping, sound bath/meditation and hot yoga sessions. There is also a new project on the horizon, Men v's Life. Follow their website for the most up-to-date information and events.
To try to understand men's reluctance around men accessing yearly health appointments/checks I took the opportunity and asked a few of the dads:
“Have they ever accessed a yearly Wellbeing Assessment?”
“And if not, why not?”
These were some of the themes that emerged:
- Time issues, work commitments and juggling co-parenting schedules
- Unable to prioritise own health needs
- Stubbornness/not liking being told what to do, or fear of having to change lifestyle
- Fear around health appointments being invasive
- Shame, insecurities around body image
- Guilt, admitting there might be something wrong health wise
- Weakness, accepting that there might be something wrong health wise and feeling less manly
- A preference to access alternative approaches to health. Feeling less inclined to access Western style approaches/medicines
Whilst these views do not represent all men, it does help to give some insight into the male perspective and some of the barriers men potentially face when accessing health services.
There is much work we can ALL do, around empowering and encouraging men to prioritise both their physical and mental, health & wellbeing and one way to help is by reading this blog and booking in for a Wellbeing Assessment! Ta dah!
At your Wellbeing Assessment you'll be asked some questions about your lifestyle and family history, measure your height and weight, and take your blood pressure. Helping to establish your health baseline, making it easier to make better-informed decisions around your health and can also reduce the risk of a minor condition developing into something more serious.
It's a no brainer, so if you are male and aged 18 or over and live or work in Adur & Worthing call 01903 221450 and book in for your 'free and confidential' Wellbeing Assessment today!
Stay well and bye for now, Nicky :)
Mental Health Support:
- Dad La Soul website
- West Sussex Mind website - crisis support)
- Time to Talk, West Sussex, website
- Samaritans website
- Sussex Mental Healthline - on the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website
So this year, the Wellbeing Team threw our hat into the ring to take part in the Coastal Gardens Planting competition. Myself, Sarah and Jen made up the dream team!
Planting day was 22nd of May and luckily the weather was really kind to us, having glorious sunshine all day!! I must confess that I was quite pleased waking up the next morning to see it had rained overnight, which hopefully will mean our plants are all comfy, watered and bedding in nicely!
This year's theme was all about the environmental impact of 'Ghost Gear' and trawler fishing, which refers to the fishing equipment that is often thrown into our oceans, such as fishing nets and hard plastics, which cause untold damage to the coastal environment, sea beds and the many different species who inhabit our vast oceans.
There was an array of gorgeous plants supplied by the Coastal Office team which were picked due to their ability to withstand our coastal weather and the staff were on hand to ask questions and were very supportive during the day.
It was a great turn out and lots of passersby were really interested and asking questions, it was lovely to be a part of such an interesting community project. I hope you all get the chance to check out the planters as they bloom over the coming summer months.
It was lovely to see all the planters transform and how everyone interpreted the brief. All the planters looked gorgeous by the end of the day and were a huge improvement from what they were.
That is the beauty of gardening, you can spend a bit of time and effort and immediately transform an area, which is the most rewarding part!
Below are some before and after photos, which were kindly taken by Sarah of our Wellbeing Flower Bed plot 15! Incorporated into the design was a heart (top of picture) pruned by Jen and the wellbeing smile (near the bottom but will have to wait for the flowers to bloom until it will show).
Photos: Before and after
If gardening is your thing, there are many wonderful community garden projects running across Adur and Worthing and both areas now having successfully installed a community composting scheme, so there are many opportunities to get involved and connect with nature. There is no greater feeling than having the earth between your fingers!
Check out some existing gardening/nature projects throughout Adur & Worthing that you can become involved in. Why don't you get those green fingers moving!!
Until next time, Nicky :)
Adur & Worthing Links
Did you know that May is national walking month? With the recent good weather reminding us that summer is finally on its way, it's time to dust off the ole hooves!!
May is the perfect time to get those legs moving after the sedentary months of winter! For healthy lives, we should be aiming for 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day and to increase these if (like me) you are still carrying some of those post-covid pounds and want to achieve a healthier weight.
Photo: These are my feet
A recent report, by Active Lives Sussex (MP4 video on the Active Lives Sussex website), has some fascinating West Sussex data which highlights that physical activity decreased during covid, notably amongst those of us who live in a town or less rural areas.
Having relocated to West Sussex, I feel genuinely lucky and grateful to be surrounded by the rolling South Downs and the sea. Just having the space to breathe and walk is truly a privilege, after living many concrete years in various parts of London, I will always appreciate the feeling of space.
Photo: Devils Dyke, East Sussex
There are some amazing walks and stunning views, right on our doorstep. If the last two years have taught us anything, it's that life is precious and full of the unexpected, so don't waste it, make it count. Make a walking 'to do' list and go exploring. I have a couple on my 'to do' list, such as Lancing College Chapel and Bramber Castle, but mostly I like a spontaneous day trip and to see where it goes!
Photo: A couple of bags!
Walking for Wellbeing has many health benefits, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight and losing body fat
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes
- Improve cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Increase energy levels
I wanted to also talk about the benefits walking can have on your mental health. As they say “A body in motion, is a mind at ease” and I've noticed that walking helps to quiet the mind rubble, dull the clattering and if you tend to wander into the over-thinker arena (like me) the respite a walk offers can be priceless!
There are many walking groups in and around West Sussex that you can join, check out A&W Health Walks. Walking is a great way to meet new people, get some exercise and connect with nature all at the same time. It's a win, win!
If you are looking for other ways as well as walking to stay healthy, the Wellbeing Team has got you covered in all areas, check out the links below…
Until next time, from me and my walking buddy Ernest
Check out below Adur & Worthing free to access Wellbeing Services, helping you on the way to Wellbeing:
- Going Local - Social Prescribing
- One Stop Junction
- A&W Wellbeing website - and specific services on their website:
Page last updated: 04 November 2022