Category: Events

New date announced for RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement course

PLEASE NOTE: THIS COURSE WAS POSTPONED DUE TO THE SNOW.
NEW DATE: 8TH JANUARY 2018.

As an RSPH Approved Centre, we are delivering the L2 Understanding Health Improvement qualification as a one-day course at our premises in Edgbaston. The next course date will be Monday 11th December 2017 Monday 8th January 2018.

If your pharmacy is working towards becoming a Healthy Living Pharmacy, you’ll need to have at least one full-time member of staff who has qualified for a Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement.

But the qualification is also suitable for anyone who delivers one-to-one or group health interventions, for example Health Trainers, gym instructors, or Health Champions.

RSPH Understanding Health Improvement, Level 2

Next course date: Monday 11th December 2017 Monday 8th January 2018
Time: 9.30am – 5.00pm
Venue: Gateway Family Services
5th Floor, Chamber of Commerce
Harborne Road
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 3DH
Cost: £80+VAT
Book now: To book your place, please contact Michelle Smitten on 0121 456 7820, or email michelles@gatewayfs.org.

The objective of this qualification is to provide candidates with an understanding of the principles of promoting health and wellbeing, and to enable them to direct individuals towards further practical support in their efforts to attain a healthier lifestyle.

The qualification is for existing or aspiring health champions and volunteers who wish to improve the health and wellbeing of people in their local community by motivating and encouraging them to make positive lifestyle choices.

Community workers, health advisors, pharmacy assistants and anyone in the wider public health workforce will also benefit from this qualification.

This is a one day course with a multiple choice exam at the end.

For more information about this or any of the other courses we run, please contact Michelle Smitten on 0121 456 7820, or email michelles@gatewayfs.org.

Fun for all the family at our Health and Wellbeing Day

Medals for those who completed the 5K!

Thanks to everyone who came to our Family Health and Wellbeing Day in Cannon Hill Park on Saturday. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

This annual event has grown, in the last few years, from a simple Fun Run into a community event for all the family. This year’s Family Health and Wellbeing Day included health checks, parenting information, dance lessons, Tai Chi classes, games and activities for children, and two “fun run” courses – long and short – for people to run or walk.

Health Trainer Wayne carrying out a Health Check

The idea is for everyone to be able to take part in a healthy activity, no matter what their age, mobility or current physical activity levels.

Our services, including Health Trainers, Pregnancy Outreach Workers and Pre-Diabetes courses, work with people of all abilities and we’re keen for everyone to be able to get involved.

Getting some baby bath tips from POWS

We know that mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing, and the two are closely linked. So we wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to socialise and meet new friends, as well as taking the opportunity to get moving!

Saturday morning started off a bit damp, but the sun soon came out, turning it into a fabulous day for a picnic in the park. Gateway Health Trainers and Pregnancy Outreach Workers were on hand to give out health advice, carrying out health checks and parenting classes. Around 15 people entered our Fun Run, including Raymond (featured in the video below) who completed both the short course AND the full 5K with his Health Trainer Beckie!

Reza DanceFitness got us dancing

Steve from Painting the Rainbow did two Tai Chi sessions which were the perfect foil to the run – a relaxing work out for everyone. And Teresa from Reza Dance got people moving with some lively dance fitness sessions.

The kids had a great time doing a range of activities, from storytelling on the bandstand to giant Jenga and Connect 4 games, and some races especially for them.

Children enjoyed some games in the sunshine

And of course, the whole thing was topped off by a lovely picnic lunch. Everyone who registered got a goodie bag which included some healthy snacks and refreshments.

Thanks again to everyone who got involved, including Gateway staff and our friends at partner organisations who led the sessions and spread the word. Some of you may even spot yourselves in the video below…

See you again next year!

Get the whole family active at our Health and Wellbeing Day!

Click on the picture to download the full-size poster (PDF)

Looking for some easy ways to get happier and healthier? Join us for our free Family Health and Wellbeing Day on Saturday 1st July in Cannon Hill Park from 10am until 1pm. (Meet you by the bandstand!)

Building on the success of last year’s Community Fun Day, and the Fun Runs from previous years, the Family Health and Wellbeing Day is open to everyone and will include loads of fun activities for all the family, plus a free* picnic lunch, including healthy recipes to take away.

Physical activity will still be a big part of the day – we’ll still be holding the 5K Fun Run (or walk, if you prefer!) – but we wanted to make the day even more inclusive, so we’ll be putting on a range of health and wellbeing activities for all ages and abilities.

That includes some healthy picnic food, with free advice about healthy cooking and eating for those who want it… and the chance to meet new people. After all, we know that being sociable is really good for your mental health!

Our health teams will be on hand throughout the day to offer motivation and advice about all aspects of health and wellbeing, including one-to-one health checks and information about what other activities are available in your area.

We’d love to get you moving!

We know lots of people like to do the 5K Fun Run around the park, so there will be warm-up exercises and support from our Health Trainers for anyone who wants to give that a go this year. Perhaps you can beat your time from last year!

We also recognise that many people don’t want, or aren’t able, to do the 5k route, but we’d love to get everyone moving, even if it’s just a little bit. So there will be plenty of other opportunities to get active. You could join the beginners’ Tai Chi class, run by our friends at Painting the Rainbow, or perhaps a dance class led by Reza DanceFitness, who some of you might know through Solihull Lighten Up. (Make sure you wear suitable clothing.)

We’ll also be putting on more activities for children, as we saw how much fun they had last time. The kids really enjoyed the impromptu races last year, so we’ll make sure they get to run about even more this year with a range of races and silly games. There will also be storytelling sessions to feed the little ones’ growing imaginations and, of course, some facepainting fun.

*The Family Health and Wellbeing Day is totally free and you can turn up on the day – we’ll be by the bandstand – but if you want to receive a free picnic, you must register first by emailing your name, number of guests and any special dietary requirements to info@gatewayfs.org. You can also register by phone on 0121 456 7820, or even on Twitter by using the hashtag #GatewayFun (please ensure we send a confirmation reply, though!)

We look forward to seeing you there!

Introducing our new brand and logo

As you may have noticed, Gateway Family Services has a new logo. In fact, we’ve got a whole new brand – so we thought it might be nice to give you a peek behind the scenes at the changes.

When Gateway was founded, over ten years ago, a standalone logo was created for use on all our marketing literature. At the same time, we created our Core Values, Aims and Objectives – and these remain at the heart of everything we do. But what we didn’t do at the time was to bring these together as part of a consistent overall “brand”. We have strong professional values, and very high standards for all of our work, but for many years, our marketing materials haven’t really matched those high standards.

The Gateway logo has been simplified and modernised

So, over the last few months, we have been working with designer and branding expert Lisa Barratt to understand and formalise the “Gateway brand”. This didn’t just mean creating a new logo, but looking at everything we put out into the wider world: making sure our public face reflects our values and the high standards of professionalism that we have internally, and giving everything a consistent, well thought-out look and feel.

Lisa worked closely with a panel of Gateway staff to find out everything about the way we work, and to make sure the new branding would be a realistic representation of our organisation.

Photographer David Rann did a great job of capturing moments between our staff and the people they support

Lisa recognised that, for Gateway, our brand is our people. So wherever possible, our marketing literature now uses our own photos showing staff and the people they work with in real situations. The new photos (taken by David Rann) show Gateway as we see ourselves – positive, professional, friendly and honest, with an emphasis on relationships and community.

Our “tone of voice” – the voice we use online and in printed materials – is key, so we’ve set out some formal rules for this too, based on the way our staff already communicate with people. Gateway is friendly, open and accessible, so our leaflets and posters will be written to speak directly to the people we support. All our marketing and social media will use a conversational, but professional, tone.

The new colour scheme brings services together

The new logo is a simplified, modernised version of the previous one, including the recognisable “G” symbol. But we now have a wider colour palette to use alongside the main logo’s blue and gold. We’ve assigned a specific colour to each service: pink for POWS, teal for Health Trainers, light blue for Lighten Up, and a pale purple for other services.

One of the things that staff really wanted was for the different services to feel more aligned with each other and with the Gateway name; we hope that the new colour palette and templates will not only provide consistency, but help people to recognise that each service is part of the Gateway whole.

We launched the new brand internally last week – with a quiz and some nibbles!

Working with staff to refresh the brand means we’ve also been able to pick up on some other useful ideas and requests from staff. In particular, we’re creating some specially-designed “congratulations” and “sorry I missed you” cards for support workers to give to clients.

We’ll also be publishing some new hand-outs focusing on some of our areas of expertise, including things like breastfeeding advice and healthy recipe suggestions. Our staff are full of knowledge, so it would be a shame not to share it more!

We hope you’ll enjoy spotting the new Gateway logo and marketing materials as they make their way out into the wider world.

POWS dad with baby

Thank you for helping us to help others this Christmas

This week we’ve been giving out Christmas Hampers to some of the most vulnerable people we work with.

Thanks to a record number of donations, we’ve been able to put together more parcels than previous years, including some for the homeless people that we met during the Love Your Neighbour “Week of Kindness” event a few weeks ago, who are sleeping in the streets around our offices.

We’re also passing some of the donations on to other local organisations, such as the hostel we visited during the Week of Kindness, and our friends at SIFA Fireside.

We’ve even been able to save up some food and toiletries so that we can give them to people who need them in the coming months because – as this year has really shown us – people need help all year round, not just at Christmas.

Who do we work with?

Two of our outreach services, Gateway Healthy Futures and the Pregnancy Outreach Workers Service (POWS), work with people who are in the most “at risk” categories – and each week our staff are seeing more and more people in dire need of basic essentials.

POWS works with pregnant women who usually have a low medical risk and high social risk, dealing with issues including temporary accommodation, homelessness, substance misuse, domestic abuse, offending, newly arrived communities, poor mental health and safeguarding.

Gateway Healthy Futures client The Gateway Healthy Futures service provides a one-stop-shop for people with a wide range of social needs. GPs can refer anyone that needs non-medical help, so that includes people who have issues around things like housing, alcohol, finances, mental health, benefits, social isolation, and much more. Our Practice Navigators provide reassurance and a point of contact for the people they work with, as well as vital practical support.

We’ve also opened up the food and baby bank to our Health Trainers this year, as some of our Health Trainers are working with people who are in need of basic essentials too.

Thank you!

We’re incredibly grateful for everything you’ve sent us. As you’ll see in the video, every available space in the office is now full of donated food and toiletries! Thank you so, so much. (But please don’t send any more tinned peas!)

We’d especially like to thank:

The pupils and teachers of Holte School
Vineyard Network Church
Healthy Minds Northfield
Ambition School Leadership
NHS St Chads (Worcs & B’ham)
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce
Staff and friends of Gateway

Love Your Neighbour – taking part in a “Week of Kindness”

Last week the Love Your Neighbour campaign held a Week of Kindness, encouraging people across the city to plan small acts of kindness towards others in their neighbourhood.

We’ve been involved in Love Your Neighbour since its launch in the summer, and we loved the idea of a Week of Kindness, so we had a vote in the office and came up with two events. On Wednesday, Managers Jane and Michelle, together with Health Trainer Wayne and volunteer Caroline, visited a local hostel with some little gifts to give to people; and on Friday, a group of staff went out into the streets around the Gateway office to hand out hot drinks and snacks to anyone who wanted them.

Wednesday: chocs and chats at a local hostel

Michelle with hostel visitorWednesday’s visit to the homeless centre was really interesting. It’s a place we have quite a lot of contact with anyway, as we often work with people who have housing issues, but despite our experience there were still some surprises – not least the varied mix of people who were at the centre: from single mums with children, to married couples, older single women and a lot of non-English-speaking residents who hadn’t been in the country very long and were new to Birmingham.

Wayne with hostel visitorIt’s important for us to have an up-to-date knowledge of the issues that people in Birmingham are facing, so that we can adapt the services we offer and respond to need as quickly and usefully as possible. So it was really good to spend some time with staff and visitors to the hostel, and have a proper chat over a cuppa.

What’s more, we were also able to offer direct support to some of the people we met. Despite their stressful experiences, seven people who’d dropped in that day signed up with Wayne to receive one-to-one support from a Gateway Health Trainer, which is great.

Friday: hot drinks and help at Five Ways

On Friday a larger group of staff went out for our second Week of Kindness event, taking hot drinks and snacks to give out on the streets around our office. We’ve noticed an increasing number of people sleeping rough recently so we also took some gloves, hats, socks, scarves and a couple of blankets in case we met people who might need them.

CxjH24pWIAAhMHcOne of the people we met was a man called Keith who had slept rough the night before, so we got chatting about the options available to him. Thanks to our staff’s knowledge of services in the area, we were able to tell him about the cold weather provision at the William Booth Centre in town.

After spending some time in the underpasses at Five Ways we moved on to a very busy spot outside Morrisons. The weather was freezing so it was good to be able to offer passers-by some hot drinks! Thanks to all the staff who took part.

The Love Your Neighbour campaign

Anyone and everyone can get involved with Love Your Neighbour. In fact, that’s exactly what it relies on. The idea is just to start thinking about getting to know the people around us a bit better, with the hope that it might help to combat loneliness and prejudice.

The Love Your Neighbour campaign says,

Over many generations people have made the UK their home, built it up and found they can belong here. But we cannot take our diversity for granted. It is no use sharing a street or a suburb with people from different backgrounds if we do not know them. Loneliness is at epidemic levels, prejudice threatens to pull communities apart.

We cannot love our neighbour if we do not know our neighbour, understand them, their culture and identity. We all need to build friendships that cement our society together, crossing differences that can become barriers such as age, social background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and faith – working for peace alongside all people of goodwill.

Love Your Neighbour started in Birmingham, but we’re glad to see it’s starting to spread across the country. It’s a simple message but a very positive one… something we all need at the moment!

Fun for all the family at our Community Fun Day

Maxine and sisterLast Saturday, we held our Community Fun Day: a day for all the family in Cannon Hill Park.

And what a lovely day it was! The weather was great (especially compared to the last time we held the Fun Run) and the extra activities meant that everyone could join in, whatever their age or ability.

The main event was our regular Fun Run (or “fun walk”, for those who preferred it), a 5K circuit around the park.

warming upGlenn, one of our Health Trainers, led the warm-up, which included stretching exercises and tips, and then everyone set off around the circuit, which is the same one used by the Cannon Hill Parkrun.

As well as the 5K challenge, we held lots of activities for the children, including egg-and-spoon and sack races, face painting and storytelling.

Adults, too, found the Community Fun Day a good opportunity to get out and socialise in the sunshine.

egg and spoon raceThere were healthy snacks available for people to have as a picnic, and some more games for the big kids amongst us. How many people can say they made new friends over a game of giant Connect 4?!

Staff members who volunteered on the day included Caroline, who said, “this was the first time I’d been to a Gateway Fun Day and it was great! There was a real sense of community as so many staff and clients brought their families along.

connect 4“Overall it was a good way to make physical activity more fun. Especially for those who had been working up to doing the 5K – there was a real sense of achievement.”

Mary’s story

Mary came along to the Community Fun Day after hearing about it through the Gateway Pre-Diabetes group that she’s been attending for the last few weeks.

Before starting Pre-Diabetes course, Mary did no exercise at all and her diet included lots of sugary snacks.

Mary, on the left in this photo, came to the Fun Day after hearing about it on the Pre-Diabetes course.
Mary, left, came to the Fun Day after hearing about it on the Pre-Diabetes course.
However, after hearing about the Fun Day, she decided to use the 5km walk as something to aim for, and started building up to it with short walks near her home. By week three of the Pre-Diabetes course, she was walking short distances on a regular basis and swimming twice a week.

On Saturday, Mary completed the walk with no problems at all. Because she’d started walking regularly anyway, she found the Cannon Hill Park course a doddle.

And thanks to the walking bug, and a healthier diet, she’s started to lose weight too. She’s been telling everyone at the Pre-Diabetes group how great she feels, and we’re confident Mary’s blood sugar levels will have dropped by the time she is tested again in September. Well done Mary!

Not just a Fun Run – a day out with a difference!

Click the poster to view full size
Click the poster to view full size

This year we’re holding a Fun Run with a difference – a Free Community Fun Day for all the family!

GATEWAY FUN RUN/WALK AND COMMUNITY FUN DAY
DATE: Saturday 23rd July 2016
TIME: 10:30am – 13:00pm (but please arrive early to register and warm up)
LOCATION: The Bandstand, Cannon Hill Park, B13 8RD

We’re still inviting people to run or walk the 5km route, with the support of our Health Trainers, but this year there will be a lot more activities on offer too.

Why are we changing the focus of the day?

All of Gateway’s services (Health Trainers, Lighten Up, Gateway Healthy Futures, Pre Diabetes and the Pregnancy Outreach Worker Service) have an impact on the whole family, and their work isn’t just about healthy eating and exercise – it’s about leading a happier life. A lot of the people we work with are looking for more reasons to get out and about and meet more people, so we’re hoping that a Community Fun Day will give everyone that opportunity.

Health Trainers preparing to marshal last year's Fun Run
Health Trainers preparing to marshal a previous Fun Run

As well as the fun warm-ups and the 5km run (or walk, or stroll…) we’ll have a snack bar serving healthy snacks and refreshments, and some new activities: children’s races and games, story-telling from our very own Jane, and face painting by Sara. Of course, the activities are aimed at kids, but adults are very welcome to join in too!

We hope that a shared day out will be fun for everyone, and we look forward to seeing some new faces, as well as those of you who enjoy this day out every year. Everyone is welcome, and you don’t have to be a client of Gateway to get on board. Just give us a ring on 0121 456 7820 to register your interest and get your name down for a free snack bag!

Whether you want to beat your personal best at the 5km, find out more about our services, or just meet some new people and maybe make a few friends in an informal atmosphere, we’d love to see you.

Happy 10th birthday to us!

Gateway's Chair Ann Forletta cuts the birthday cake
Ten today! Gateway’s Chair Ann Forletta cuts the birthday cake on Weds 10th Feb, our official birthday.

This week is Gateway Family Services’ official tenth birthday. We can’t believe it either!

We’re so proud of everything that the organisation has achieved over the last decade. In ten years we’ve created and delivered nearly 20 services to support over 70,000 people across Birmingham. And there are more in the pipeline – our teams are working with partners all over the city to develop new ideas all the time.

What all of our services, past and present, have in common is “people who need help” and everything we do has an impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Many people in the city have a consistently poor relationship with health and social care services, and Gateway is here to make a difference to the experience and outcomes of those people.

How do we do it?

All of our services support the whole person, not just single issues.

We train all our staff, across all our services, to support people to be more resilient by equipping them with knowledge. Knowledge about (for example) changes to the benefits system and other social issues that could affect them; knowledge about their rights, about the opportunities available to them, and knowledge to help them navigate a maze of systems and processes. Our outreach staff are also experts in behavioural change, so we often hear from people who were referred to us for one thing but have gone on to make positive changes in all areas of their life.

Eight POWs and one Health Trainer who were all part of our original intake a decade ago
Eight POWs and one Health Trainer who were all part of our original intake a decade ago

We work directly with the people who most need help by going to where they are. We recruit and employ people who are part of the communities we support, to ensure we are truly reflective of those neighbourhoods. In fact, 62% of our staff live in areas defined (by the indices of multiple deprivation) as the most deprived in the city.

We’re especially proud to say that many of our staff stay with us long term; 20% of our current workforce were part of the very first intake of staff all those years ago. But we’re equally proud of those staff members who learned with us, trained with us, and gained experience to go on to other jobs in health and social care. People like Farzana and Lynette, who worked as POWS while studying for their eventual careers in nursing. Farzana described working for Gateway as “a ladder that you can step onto – and if you want to climb to the top you can.”

When Gateway was first set up, the CEO and board worked closely with staff to come up with four core values. Those were:

  • We do what we say we are going to.
  • We invest in people.
  • Everything we do has a positive social impact.
  • We work hard and never stop learning.

These values have never changed and they never will. They are integrated into the very heart of Gateway’s work and as an organisation we constantly check ourselves against these statements. We are proud of our achievements and we look forward to working with many, many more people to achieve even greater things in the future.

Have you got a Gateway memory?

Have you been helped by Gateway at any time over the years? Maybe you had some support from a POW and you’d like to show us how your baby is growing up; or maybe you’re living a healthier, happier lifestyle thanks to the kickstart your Health Trainer gave you. You might be part of an organisation that’s partnered with Gateway in the past. Or perhaps you’re a commissioner who has contracted or funded us to do great things!

If you’ve got a good memory of Gateway, we’d love to hear from you. We’re putting together an online scrapbook that we hope to fill with stories from people we’ve worked with over the last decade. So if you’d like to share your story, email info@gatewayfs.org to let us know.

Record numbers of donated Christmas hampers go out to clients

wrappingWe’ve had loads of donations this year … which is great, because this year we’ve got more clients than ever who are in need and will appreciate a little Christmas present.

We started advertising for donations a bit earlier this year because our services were starting to see more and more people in need of food and basic essentials.

Usually our Pregnancy Outreach Workers (POWs) give hampers to the clients they feel are most in need, but this year – thanks to the amount of food and gifts donated – we’ve been able to open it up. So our POWs have been able to give more freely, and our other services have been able to make up some packages for their clients too.

donationsWe have been surprised and thrilled to see donations coming in from all over the country over the last couple of months. After sharing a link to our blog post on social media, we received one particularly large donation of baby equipment and essentials, via our Amazon Wishlist, all the way from Kent!

Holte School in Lozells has been collecting for us this year, via the Trussell Trust, and they’ve been really generous – we were delighted to receive an amazing 32 boxes of donations from pupils, staff and their families.

The Vineyard Church, who donate food parcels to us regularly throughout the year too, have excelled themselves this Christmas with an especially large number of gift sets, toys and chocolates.

And of course our staff have donated a huge amount to the food and baby bank – not just over the last few weeks, but throughout the year. We don’t ask staff to contribute, but many choose to, and have been extremely generous in giving a little bit extra to the people they and their colleagues work with.

In this video, Justine takes us around the stock room to see what’s been donated.

But where do the donations go?

Our POWs, and for the first time some staff from other services too, have nominated people they support to receive a hamper.

In the video below, some of our staff explain who they’ve chosen and why, as well as giving us a sneaky peek at what they’re putting in the hampers. This year it’s not just POWs, because we’ve also been able to give donations to clients in our Befrienders and Healthy Futures services who are in need.

So many of our clients have had a really tough year this year; we’re very glad we’ve been able to give a little bit more to a few more people. So a big THANK YOU to everyone who donated anything, however small.

Having said that… our clients are in need of food and baby essentials all year round, not just at Christmas. If you’d like to donate, give us a ring on 0121 456 7820 or browse our Amazon wishlist.