Author: debbieh

Cooking up new ideas: Solihull Lighten Up

As Solihull Lighten Up goes from strength to strength, we’ve been looking at ways we can improve the service, to help improve the health and wellbeing of more people across Solihull. So we’re pleased to announce we’re planning some exciting changes.

Bob, one of the Lighten Up Help Centre staff

Solihull Lighten Up is a weight management service offering people a package of support tailored to their needs. As well as vouchers for commercial weight loss groups, it offers a range of extra specialist help and advice, including phone support from staff at our Lighten Up Help Centre and free referrals to activity groups in the area.

For people with slightly more complex needs (including people with learning disabilities, disabled people and their carers, people with mental health issues and recent ex-smokers) Solihull Lighten Up also offers up to 12 months of one-to-one support from a Behaviour Change Advisor or Dietitian.

It’s been running since Spring 2016 and in its first year, 772 clients lost a total of 2567.6kg, or 404st 3lbs. That’s an average of over half a stone each!

Having now talked to and worked with hundreds of people and numerous partner organisations in the area, we’re now liaising with commissioners to start implementing some new ideas, based on the conversations and feedback we’ve had.

Alternatives to weight management groups

For most of the people Solihull Lighten Up supports, weight management groups like Weight Watchers and Slimming World work really well. In the first year of service delivery, we supported over 800 people to go to groups (backed up by regular phonecalls from Lighten Up Help Centre staff) and, for most of these people, membership of a group was a good way to kickstart their weight loss.

But, for some people, groups are just not a perfect fit. There might be a practical reason; perhaps meeting times clash with work, or there are insurmountable childcare issues. Or it might be something less obvious; some people just don’t feel able to make the big lifestyle and dietary changes required by a group straight away, and some need more support with physical activity.

So we’re designing our own new 12-week weight management programme, strongly influenced by feedback from the people we work with. Delivered in community venues across Solihull, it will be family-friendly, so that kids can join in, with plenty of healthy eating and physical activity sessions.

The Solihull Lighten Up team has already taken on a new Behaviour Change advisor, Kavita, to enable us to do more tailored support, and we’ll be launching the new programme soon. We hope that, by offering some carefully designed alternatives, we’ll help more people to adopt the Behaviour Change principles that we know create long-term lifestyle change.

New “slow cooker” sessions

We currently run a few different cookery sessions. Many of our staff, across all our services, have been trained as Cooking Mentors and they run sessions showing people how to cook simple healthy recipes on a budget.

The feedback has been really positive and we’ve seen a demand for more healthy cooking support, especially for people who are short on time and space at home. So – with the support of Solihull Council – we’re putting together a “slow cooker” course.

Participants will be given a slow cooker that they can plug in anywhere at home (it doesn’t even have to go in the kitchen!), together with demonstrations and a variety of easy healthy recipes. Slow cookers are associated with winter meals but we have plenty of ideas for summer dishes that we look forward to sharing too!

If you live in Solihull and you’d like to kick-start your weight loss journey with a bit of extra help, contact us to find out if you are eligible for the Solihull Lighten Up programme. Contact our Lighten Up call centre on 0800 599 9880 or via email on lighten.up@nhs.net.

A kick-start that works: Solihull Lighten Up

We’re continuing on the theme of “wrap-around” care this week, as we catch up with Solihull Lighten Up.

The scheme has been running for a year now, and we’re delighted to report its continued success:

  • In the last year, 772 clients have lost a total of 2567.6kg, or 404st 3lbs
  • A total of 595 people have been to Slimming World thanks to Solihull Lighten Up, and 236 to Weight Watchers
  • 90 people have been referred to a Dietitian or Behaviour Change Advisor to receive one-to-one specialist support

The Lighten Up programme is known for offering free vouchers for commercial weight loss programmes like Weight Watchers or Slimming World. But it’s so much more than that!

In the last blog post, we wrote about the ways in which Gateway’s services let the client lead. We believe that asking someone what their priorities are, believing them, and working with them to build self-confidence and resilience creates a programme of support that is more successful and more sustainable.

And that’s how Solihull Lighten Up works: by offering people a package of support that is tailored to their needs. So, as well as vouchers for the commercial weight loss groups, Solihull Lighten Up offers a range of extra specialist help and advice.

Once a person has started on their weight loss journey, staff at our Lighten Up Help Centre (like Bob, pictured above) make regular phonecalls to check in with them, offering a little extra motivation, making sure they’re happy with the help they’re getting, and checking that they’re on their way to achieving the goals they’ve set out for themselves.

We also work with local organisations in Solihull to offer free referrals to activity groups, including dance classes and cooking sessions.

And for people with slightly more complex needs (including people with learning disabilities, disabled people and their carers, people with mental health issues and recent ex-smokers) we offer up to 12 months of one-to-one support from a Behaviour Change Advisor or Dietitian.

In Solihull, the north of the Borough – including Fordbridge, Kingshurst, Chelmsley Wood, Bickenhill and Smith’s Wood – has a particularly high prevalence of obesity, so we’re particularly keen to work with people in these areas.

The personal touch

Across all of our services, we find that a little extra one-to-one help and motivation goes a long way. Read what some of our clients have to say about Solihull Lighten Up’s extra level of support:

“I would never have done this without seeing you and having these appointments.”

“It will give me incentive and it’s nice to know I will be monitored.”

“Your phonecall helped me a great deal. It’s made me more optimistic and helped with the weight programme and cheered me up.”

Taking the time to listen, being flexible and adaptable, and letting the client lead makes a huge difference to people’s outcomes. That’s why this way of working is at the heart of Solihull Lighten Up – and across all of Gateway’s services.

If you live in Solihull and you’d like to kick-start your weight loss journey with a bit of extra help, contact us to find out if you are eligible for the Solihull Lighten Up programme. Contact our Lighten Up call centre on 0800 599 9880 or via email on lighten.up@nhs.net.