Celebrating South Asian Heritage Month

South Asian Heritage Month is held every year to mark and celebrate South Asian cultures, histories, and communities.

In Bexley we are very proud of our wonderfully diverse borough and the health initiatives we are implementing to support our South Asian communities.

Below you will find stories of our volunteer organisations who work alongside us in raising awareness of health initiatives for the community as well as personal stories about what the month means to our colleagues working across the borough.

More information about the month can be found here: South Asian Heritage Month

South Asian Health and Wellbeing Fair for residents of Bexley and Greenwich

To mark South Asian Heritage Month, join us for a day of celebration of South Asian culture.

You will also get the chance to meet and hear from health professionals about ways to live healthier lives.

GPs and primary care colleagues working across the boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich will be on hand to talk to residents about any health concerns they might have. You will also be able to chat to partner organisations about the support that is on offer to our South Asian communities.

A special panel discussion is also being planned with health professionals and advocates from across both boroughs talking about issues affecting South Asian communities.


  • 11am: Marketplace opens with stalls with health and wellbeing support that is available to residents across Bexley and Greenwich*
  • 12.30: Panel discussion with local GPs pharmacists and other health professionals:

How can local health services support the South Asian community to live healthy lives?

  • 1.30pm: Lunch begins with stalls still open.*
  • 3pm: Marketplace continues.
  • 4pm: End.

*Reiki sessions will be available – please book on arrival





For more information and to book a space, please email: bexleycomms@selondonics.nhs.uk

Working with South Asian Community Groups - The Yog Foundation


We work closely with community groups who help us to engage with the South Asian community and share details of health initiatives and support.

One such group is the Yog Foundation who bring together the local British Hindu, British Indian and wider Bexley communities to improve mental and physical wellbeing for all. Their work has included reaching out to gurdwaras to educate the Sikh community and share resources on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

A recent health and wellbeing seminar run by the Yog Foundation helped South Asian residents discover healthier ways of living.

Attendees gained knowledge on a wide range of topics including:

  • Health check-up: blood pressure, glucose levels and BMI
  • Practical Nutrition Workshop
  • The risk of diabetes and how to prevent and/or control it
  • Mental Health Awareness – addressing issues such as anxiety, depression, stress and dementia.
  • Coping with uncertainty of Covid-19

You can find out more about the Yog Foundation here: Yog Foundation – Bringing the community together, to do good

Our South Asian Workforce - Dr Sid Deshmukh - GP Lead

South Asian culture is “more than just a curry”

Bexley GP, Dr Sid Deshmukh shares his story about why he’s proud of his South Asian heritage and working in Bexley.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the story behind how you became a GP Lead in Bexley

I was born in Mumbai and trained as a Gynaecologist in Mumbai. Mumbai is a city that never sleeps. It’s always on the move, vibrant and happening! It is multicultural, and people of all religions work together and play together.

I came to the UK in 1996 to further my education and worked as a Gynaecologist for 3 years. As a passionate musician that plays the drums, I have performed as a freelancer with many bands in the UK. In 1999, I got to know a group of GPs who also had their own band called Heart Beats. I started playing with them, and we used to talk about general practice and I found the idea of becoming a GP very attractive. I switched from Gynaecology to General Practice and have been a GP Partner in Sidcup for the last 20 years. I was always keen to work with commissioners and provide my clinical input as to how we can improve the care of patients. I have been a clinical lead in Bexley for a number of years, and I am proud of my role.

Tell us why you are proud of your South Asian heritage

For me it’s the vibrancy. I see it in all aspects of life, from arts and culture, the language, the food (and it’s much more than just a curry!) the feeling of community, the various forms of music and the fusion of lived experiences, all the way to the many ways we approach work. I like to call it the “immigrant mind-set”. It’s the idea of the hustle, to experiment and learn, to persevere towards a goal. I also get the best of both worlds here with double the number of celebrations – celebrating all the Hindu and Christian festivals

As a GP does it bring great satisfaction to be able to help the South Asian community in Bexley?

It absolutely does. In Bexley there are health inequalities between different communities and ethnic groups, with Black and South Asian communities experiencing higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

I see great opportunities working as a clinical lead and Chair of the Local Care Partnership and also working closely with other practices in Primary Care Networks and wider stakeholders of the Integrated Care System.

We must work together to find new solutions for tackling health inequalities. I think voluntary groups, community champions and other partners across the Bexley system have an essential role to play. We must get better at reaching out to these communities and building relations, targeting the right people with the right messaging, and using community leaders to help raise awareness around different health issues. I am looking forward to contributing to these efforts.

For more information about diabetesDiabetes – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

For more information about cardiovascular disease: Cardiovascular disease – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Working with South Asian Community Advocates - Gurjit Shokar


Mental Health Advocate, Gurjit Shokar’s life and that of his family was changed forever when his brother took his own life in 2021. Gurjit has spent the time since, talking to South Asian community groups about his death and asking them to change their attitudes towards what it means to “be a man” and to talk about their mental health struggles.

You can read his story below.

In October 2021, Gurjit Shoker and his family’s life took was turned upside down when his elder brother Tony tragically took his own life. In the depths of immeasurable pain and grief, Gurjit began to examine what had led Tony to this, and began by taking a long hard look in the mirror. “I realised that we as a society are at the heart of the problem. When we’re struggling, we don’t talk about it. With men especially there’s this macho code, we just get on with it, we don’t show our emotions, we don’t show weakness. ‘Man up’. I know, because I was one of those people, contributing to this culture.”

Gurjit knew he had to let people know the importance of opening up, talking to those closest to us. He didn’t want another family to go through what they had. He started giving talks at local Sikh temples where Tony had been well known, he fundraised for Mind in North Kent, raising almost £12,000, and he started talking at more and more events on mental health. Mental wellbeing in the workplace in particular is something Gurjit has focussed on, campaigning for Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention courses for employees, especially in male-dominated professions. He explains, “My brother was a builder, it’s a tough, macho profession, and there is a real problem in the trade with men suffering in silence.”

Gurjit is not slowing down, he is planning an event in the autumn where people can have a safe space to talk about suicide and mental health and come up with an action plan, with the aim of a ‘zero suicide society’.

You can view one of Gurjit’s talks here, where he spoke to around 100 construction workers about the importance of talking about their mental health.

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