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Author: The Fire Fighters Charity

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Every fortnight Shout!Podcast explores the health and wellbeing of the UK’s fire services community, offering a unique insight into the physical, mental and social challenges facing those who live and work around the fire service. From top tips on sleeping well, to advice on dealing with trauma, nutrition, exercise and injury prevention Shout!Podcast aims to help you live healthier and happier. Hosted by Kim Robson and produced by The Fire Fighters Charity’s extensive team of specialist exercise and psychological therapists, Shout!Podcast also offers you the chance to share your stories and ask those questions that you’ve always wanted to know the answer to. You can find out more and take part in the show at
27 Episodes
Healthy Joints

Healthy Joints


Maintaining healthy joints is of the utmost importance when it comes to overall wellbeing, particularly in the fire and rescue service. So, in this week’s Shout!Podcast we’re discussing tips to look after your joints, whatever your age, and the importance of having a positive mindset throughout.We speak to the Charity’s Wellness and Behaviour Change Coach, Mike Lennon, about how to stay positive while dealing with pain, particularly in the run-up to surgery. Mike shares some simple strategies as well as explaining how a positive attitude can help in recovery.Next we chat to beneficiary Keith Walkington, who is an Operational Watch Manager with Humberside FRS. He began suffering with osteoarthritis in his right hip joint a few years ago. When it began affecting his day-to-day work and life, he underwent a hip replacement and the Charity supported him in his recovery afterwards. Finally Exercise Therapist Craig Williamson and Physiotherapist Peter Raistrick discuss arthritis and how it can impact people in different ways and at different point in life. They share positive steps our beneficiaries can take to help them lead a healthy lifestyle throughout.And we have a special Podcast Plus this week, as Clinical Assistant Sabrina Langley guides us through a relaxation exercise.Support the show (
Sabrina Langley guides us through a relaxation exerciseSupport the show (
For many of us, the last year has brought with it increased feelings of stress and anxiety – so knowing how to identify these feelings and how to cope with them is hugely important. We’ll be discussing just some of those coping mechanisms in this week’s Shout!Podcast.Psychological therapists Becca Harp and Izi Dragonetti begin by discussing the difference between stress – which often happens in response to an external factor and can be a short-term response - and anxiety, which may continue even after a stressful situation. Plus, they discuss what causes each and the key signs and symptoms.Next, host Kim Robson talks to Louise Moody, who works in control at Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service and is the partner of a firefighter. She reveals how a battle with OCD in her teen years developed into depression and anxiety as an adult, before she finally reached out for support. Read Louise’s full story here.Finally, Becca and Izi discuss different coping mechanisms you can try if you’re struggling with stress and anxiety – plus, where to find help if you need it.Support the show (
Wellness and Behaviour Change Coach, AJ Whitaker shows us a calming breathing technique that can be used in any situation to reduce stress levels.Support the show (



A balanced diet can have huge health benefits, particularly when it comes to our gut. But a simple change in lifestyle can also have a positive impact on our mental health, as well as conditions such as diabetes. So, in this week’s Shout!Podcast, we’re discussing nutrition as a whole and the importance of achieving a healthy lifestyle – with a few simple tips along the way.The Charity’s Health Improvement Lead, Dr Greg Lessons, discusses what it means to have a healthy and balanced diet, and reveals the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.You can read more about the Mediterranean Diet here.We also hear from retired station officer Richard Harris, who says his diet spiralled out of control over several years before he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2017. However, after managing to change his lifestyle and lose 25kg in four months, he was able to get into remission without the need for medication.Finally, Greg tells us about some healthy alternatives you can try out and how to cook on a budget. We also have a Podcast Plus this week with Greg, who explains the importance of hydration for firefighters in particular.Support the show (
Dr Greg Lessons talks about the importance of hydration for your health.Support the show (



Thousands of people become carers in the UK every day, often for a family member or someone close to them, and with very little warning. It’s these unsung heroes that we’re discussing and celebrating in the latest episode of Shout!Podcast.We speak to the Charity’s Welfare Services Lead Carrie Pearce around what caring for someone actually means – as well as what the burdens of caring can be for different families. We also chat to beneficiary Maureen Allen about how her own life changed practically overnight two years ago when her husband Clive, a retired firefighter, suffered a major stroke. She has been caring for him at home ever since and she says the support they’ve both received from the Charity, digitally and face-to-face, has been invaluable.You can read their full story here.Next we talk to the Charity’s Welfare Caseworker Sharon Dobson, clinical assistant Lucy Milton and nurse Janet Brown, in a round table discussion about some of the many types of carers they themselves have worked with – from young children to wives and husbands – as well as the different circumstances people may find themselves in.Finally, Carrie explains how the Charity may be able to help you. If you are caring for someone – or are facing the possibility that you might have to start – and would like support from The Fire Fighters Charity, get in touch today either online or by phoning 0800 3898820.Support the show (
Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction


Drinking is a big part of life for many people, but where is the line between drinking socially and having a potentially dangerous addiction? That’s what we’re discussing in the latest episode of Shout!Podcast.We speak to the Charity’s lead practitioner Andrea Trotman and psychological therapists Charlene Taylor and Izi Dragonetti in a roundtable talk about the impact alcohol addiction can have on others. They discuss the different ways an addiction may be sparked and how easy it is to get stuck in a harmful cycle.Firefighter Owen Spiers shares how he battled alcohol addiction for more than 20 years, before finally overcoming it following a health scare. He reveals the warning signs he can now identify and how he’s feeling stronger than ever, having received help from the Charity.Finally, we return to the roundtable to hear their thoughts on Owen’s experience, how it has many similarities to others they’ve seen and the different tools people can use to try and tackle an addiction.Support the show (
AJ Whitaker shares her top tips on how to improve your mental wellness and resilience.Support the show (
Mental Wellness

Mental Wellness


It’s no secret that life in the fire and rescue service is tough and can have a major impact on mental wellness. So in this week’s Shout!Podcast, we discuss the importance of taking care of yourself – and ways to build up resilience.We speak to the Charity’s Wellness and Behaviour Change Coach AJ Whitaker to delve into both mental wellness and resilience – looking at the different ways your individual wellness can be impacted, while also focusing on how resilience can be learned and nurtured – for example, in retirement.Then we hear from Kelvyn Thompson, crew manager for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, on how the Charity helped him overcome a very low point in his mental wellbeing. Kelvyn visited Harcombe House in 2019, as he struggled in the aftermath of an incident he’d experienced in Iraq. He explains how the Charity helped him discover the tools he needed to change his life around.Finally, Kim and AJ reflect on Kelvyn’s story and discuss how he showed incredible resilience following his harrowing experience – before discussing the ways people can become more resilient and how it all starts with asking for help.We also have another Podcast Plus this week, with AJ sharing her top tips on how to improve your mental wellness and resilience.Support the show (
Nursing Services Lead Kath Savage shares how gardening and nature, both indoors and outdoors, can reduce stress. Plus, she reveals tips to make the most of smaller spaces and shares ways of getting the family involved too.Support the show (
The last year has impacted all of us, but older generations have been hit particularly hard – whether it’s being stuck in isolation for months on end or facing long health battles. So, as we slowly ease out of the latest lockdown, it’s never been more important to ensure everyone is living well in later life – and we’re discussing ways to achieve this in our Shout!Podcast this week.Communities Development Lead Clare Hannaford discusses the challenges our older generations in the fire service have faced over the last year, including feelings of social isolation and loneliness, and how our virtual Living Well Groups have helped many connect with each other and socialise from afar.We also join a virtual group where three beneficiaries share how they have found the sessions “exceptionally useful”, while helping them socialise with like-minded others following difficult times.Finally, out psychologist Louise Lawton discusses the importance of movement later in life – revealing how getting active can prove hugely beneficial to our physical and mental health – while sharing some simple ways to add activity to your every day.Support the show (
Kirsty Gladdis leads us on a guided walk through the wilderness (or wherever you maybe).Take a set of headphones and head out for a walk from your front door with this 10 minute mindfulness exercise.Support the show (
As clocks go forward and we edge ever closer to some semblance of normality, more and more of us will be looking forward to spending time outdoors – and, as we discuss in this week’s episode of Shout!Podcast, it could be hugely beneficial to our physical and mental health.Charity Nursing Lead Kath Savage sits down with host, Kim, to share how simple things like gardening can not only get our bodies moving and stretching, but also improve the health of our bones, teeth and muscles.Meanwhile, Shilla Patel, Inclusion Manager for London Fire Brigade, reveals how a “life changing” stay at Harcombe House made her appreciate the power of green spaces in improving her own mental wellbeing.You can see Shilla’s full story here.Shilla: “It’s so tiring, having to wear a mask every day, so it’s nice to be able to take that mask off” – The Fire Fighters CharityAnd we meet Simon Jakeman from London Fire Brigade who is busy encouraging other firefighters to enjoy nature in an urban environment. He reveals how his vision has literally grown from a few tomatoes in a fire bucket to a string of green spaces in stations right across the country. Support the show (
It’s no secret that regular physical activity has a positive impact on our bodies, but in this week’s episode of Shout!Podcast we’re taking a closer look at how it can also improve our mental wellbeing. Charity physiotherapist Laura Connolly and senior exercise therapist Kelly Brown sit down with host, Kim, to share how something as simple as walking the dog, or carrying your shopping, can improve your overall mental wellness. Meanwhile, retired London firefighter Stuart Rye reveals how his incredible fundraising effort - which saw him cycle the four compass points of mainland Britain to raise vital funds for the Charity - improved his own mental wellbeing after a harrowing incident. Stuart's full podcast interview: to set you on the path to positive physical and mental wellbeing, Laura and Kelly also discuss how finding something you enjoy and that motivates you is the key to success.Support the show (
For World Sleep Day, here's a bonus episode of our Podcast Plus, featuring a relaxation brought to you by Mary, one of our Nursing Team based at Jubilee House. Set aside 10 minutes to listen, relax and unwind. And don't forget you can find other resources online at the show (
What is the secret to long-term success when it comes to healthy lifestyle changes? This is the topic we're kicking off the new season of our health and wellbeing Shout!Podcast with. Assessment Practitioner Liz James sits down with our host, Kim, to chat through why and how we should be changing our habits for the benefit of our overall health, and why starting small is your best chance of success. County Durham Firefighter Paul Bainbridge shares his incredible fundraising story about running three miles every day for our Charity and the relationship he's discovered between his physical and mental health. If you'd like to, you can donate to his fundraising efforts here. Finally, after a year spent struggling to find motivation to do very much, our Senior Exercise Therapist Kirsty Gladdis chats with Kim about setting SMART goals to inspire us to stay motivated and achieve all that we want to.Support the show (
This week we take a look back at our first ever virtual Spirit of Fire Awards, introduced by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, and talk to our winners to find out what the recognition means to them. We also speak to our four of the Charity’s services leads to find out how you can still access the support you need during lockdown and what you can expect from a visit to one of the centres once things get back to some kind of normal. We’ve got great advice on fundraising through the winter, and we round off with more of your incredible achievements over the past few weeks.Support the show (
This week we meet retired firefighter Roger Moore, who came to the Charity for support after a battle with his mental health. Bravely opening up about the impact it has had on his life, Roger explains why others in a similar position should seek the help they need. We also speak to Andy Jeans, Director of Delivery at ORCHA, a company that rates and reviews health and wellbeing apps, to find out how its special partnership with The Fire Fighters Charity will benefit everyone across the fire services community. Kresse Wesling, co-founder of Elvis & Kresse, the luxury accessories manufacturer, meanwhile, tells us how she fell in love with old fire hose after a chance encounter that has since seen her company donating tens of thousands of pounds to the Charity.Support the show (
This week we hear three stories that illustrate three very different sides to life in and around The Fire Fighters Charity. Retired Buckinghamshire firefighter's wife Sherron Razey tells us how the Charity supported her with a chronic pain condition that had all but destroyed her quality of life. Hertfordshire Station Commander, James Bull, talks to Sophie Pierce about his plans to take on one of the most gruelling land races in the world and we join three of the Charity’s regional fundraising team – Kerry, Alan and Debbie – to find out how they plan to help you to reach a monumental milestone in the Fire Family Challenge.Support the show (
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