Category: Improving Lifestyles & Health

Services and initiatives that improve economic and physical wellbeing.

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 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!

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

Lessons learned from Pre-Diabetes referrals

The Pre-Diabetes Courses we run as part of the National Diabetes Prevention Programme have been running for over a year now. Interestingly, referrals to the course dropped (to almost unviable levels) and then rose again significantly during that time – but why? We thought we’d share some of the lessons we’ve learned about the referral process since we’ve been running the course.

During the Pre-Diabetes Course pilot period, which started in late 2015, patients came to us via a mailshot from their GP. When someone was diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes, they received a letter from their surgery, which included a leaflet from us explaining what the Gateway course offered, with contact details. If they wanted to go on the course, they called or emailed to sign up.

This worked really well. By March 2016, we’d received around 600 referrals, and had run over 30 courses, with a 92% retention rate. Feedback from patients was overwhelmingly positive. The success of our pilot, along with others, contributed to the programme being rolled out nationally.

A worrying change

However, things changed when we amended the referral process.

Under the new process, referrals came from people who had received an NHS Health Check. If a Health Check revealed Pre-Diabetes, GPs sent the patient’s details to us, and we called them on the phone to personally invite them onto the course. It sounded like a good idea.

But, despite the personal touch, the number of referrals dropped dramatically. Even worse, very few of the patients who’d agreed to go onto the course over the phone actually turned up on the day! The people who did come along were still achieving great results, so we knew the problem wasn’t with the course itself, but we were struggling to get enough people through the doors to make each course viable.

So we approached our commissioners (Birmingham South Central CCG) and worked with them to go back to mailshots. We picked up the cost of the leaflets and postage ourselves, and started working with GPs to start getting them sent out to patients again.

Back on track

Now – happily – the number of referrals is shooting up again. In just the last four weeks, we’ve run ten courses (with 15 people on each course) and more than 65 people are on the waiting list to go on a course in the next few weeks.

So why do the mailshots work so much better than a personal phonecall? We think it’s down to the following factors:

  • Awareness. Put simply, fewer people were hearing about the course. When we switched to the phone method, we were only passed the details of people who’d had a Health Check, rather than everyone who’d been diagnosed. Without leaflets, GPs were less likely to suggest the course to people, and we weren’t able to promote it as easily.
  • GPs’ authority. People take more notice of something when they hear it from their GP, so when the GPs sent our leaflet to their patients, it implied that the course was “approved”. When we contacted people ourselves – even though we were phoning people personally, telling them their GP had asked us to call, and allowing them to sign up there and then – it just didn’t hold the same weight.
  • Letting the patient lead. Perhaps counter-intuitively, requiring the patient to refer themselves turned out to be a lot more successful than phoning and asking them to sign up. Why? Well, we’ve said this before, but letting the client lead their own support is beneficial for everyone. Giving the patient the reins and allowing them to decide what action to take and when (rather than telling them what to do, and suggesting we know best) creates resilience and sustainability. In other words, those who make the decision to refer themselves to the Pre-Diabetes Course are much more likely to turn up, and much more likely to stay on track once they’ve joined.

The Gateway Pre-Diabetes Course – better than a handout!

Anyone can read about taking steps to reduce their HbA1c levels, but going on a course with other people is much more likely to make it happen.

Course attendees making healthy salsa!

The biggest difference is the social interaction. When people with similar conditions get together and start talking about their experiences, they receive extra benefits that they wouldn’t get from making changes on their own. They are happier to talk about things like weight loss and physical exercise without feeling judged, and they inspire each other.

We’ve seen people who meet on the course start their own walking groups, share healthy recipes and exercise tips, and start good habits that spread throughout whole families!

Learning is a lot more fun in a group, and the Gateway Pre-Diabetes Course includes many hands-on activities, like games and cooking sessions.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes and you’d like to take part in a Gateway Pre-Diabetes Course, call Gateway on 0121 456 7820 and ask to speak to someone from the Pre-Diabetes team.

Taking control

“Good health” can mean many things. When you hear of someone seeing a Health Trainer, you might assume they’re receiving help with diet and exercise, but that’s really only a small part of someone’s overall health.

Over the last couple of years, Gateway Health Trainers have worked with more and more people who have mental health issues. For some this is due to a diagnosed condition but for most it’s helping with anxiety, stress and just general feelings of low mood. All of which can, and do, lead to depression.

Helping someone to tackle low self-esteem, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by everyday life, can have a massive impact on their overall health. After all, making long-term changes to your activity levels or food intake are a lot more difficult when you don’t feel completely in control.

Diana’s story

Last year, Diana came to the Health Trainers service. She said:

“I want to lose weight to feel better about myself. I seem to be putting on weight each year.”

Diana was placed with Hana (pictured above), who started to get to know Diana. But Hana didn’t just want to know about Diana’s diet and activity levels. She wanted to know as much as possible about her lifestyle – all the other things that might be causing her to overeat and put on weight. As so often happens, Hana found that Diana had some other issues relating to her mental health that they needed to tackle first.

Hana said, “Diana initially said she wanted advice about comfort eating, but as we talked it through, I found that what she really wanted was to feel more organised. So that’s what we addressed first. Starting to plan her home life better would help her to feel more in control of her life, which in turn would help her eating habits.” You can hear Diana talking about this in her own words in the video, below.

We’ve written before about how looking at the “whole person” and taking into account social, economic and environmental factors saves time for GPs and saves money for the NHS. One of the wonderful things about Health Trainers is that they have the time and flexibility to do this.

Health Trainers meet people in their own home, or their local GP surgery or community centre. They have long appointments, where they get to know the person, building trust and allowing them time to talk.

Because Diana was able to work with Hana over time, unpicking some of the deeper issues, she’s been able to take control. And that means the other lifestyle changes she’s making now – like eating more healthily and becoming more active – are not just achievable, but more likely to be sustainable.

Health Trainer group at the Signing Tree

Positive partnerships: strength in numbers!

Forming strong partnerships with other local organisations is a very important part of Gateway’s work.

By sharing resources we are able to provide a more cost-effective, joined-up service – both as an individual organisation and as a sector. In an environment where budgets are shrinking, effective partnerships mean less duplication of work, which saves vital resources. It also means less “pushing from pillar to post” for clients, easier access to services and one point of contact to help someone navigate through services.

People rarely have one issue they need support with, so all our services have always worked in partnership with other organisations, either formally or informally. Over the last couple of years, however, partnership work has become even more important to the Health Trainer service as they have started working with broader groups of people, reaching out to communities who might not otherwise be able to access the service.

Health Trainers at The Signing Tree

One partnership that we’ve set up relatively recently is with BID Services, a charity supporting people who are deaf, hard of hearing, visually impaired or have a dual sensory loss. BID Services runs a social enterprise called the Signing Tree, based at the Deaf Cultural Centre in Ladywood – and it’s here we now run a Health Trainer service with interpreters (one provided by Gateway, and the other by BID).

Gateway Health Trainer Richard, pictured, says, “I visit the Signing Tree once a month, where I set up a classroom together with two interpreters. If it wasn’t for them, the communication barrier would definitely be a sticking point – I don’t think many of the people I see at the Signing Tree would contact the Health Trainer service otherwise. The interpreters are brilliant – they actually get involved and help me to provide an informative yet fun session each month. We have 15 clients per session and it’s very popular – in fact last time, I had to turn four people away.”

Bhavana Jamin, Specialist Enablement Co-ordinator at BID, says, “This has been a positive experience for all the deaf people involved. The trainers make the pace of the sessions meet the clients’ needs and by this the clients became confident to participate and engage with the sessions. They gain access to information about their health and wellbeing that they may not be able to access from other areas, so they now have some knowledge of healthy food choices, and the information is presented visually.

“Word of mouth has been used to promote these sessions within the community and I now have a waiting list of people who would also like training in the future. So I look forward to working with Gateway again in the future.”

Strong partnerships allow us to do several things, especially when clients have more complex needs. They enable us to have an up-to-date knowledge of the issues that people in Birmingham are facing, so we can adapt the services we offer and respond to need as quickly and usefully as possible. It means more opportunity to help clients prioritise their needs, and to deal with issues in a way that suits the individual, by taking the services to them.

As well as the Signing Tree, we now also deliver services in partnership with a number of other organisations, including Jobcentres in South Birmingham, and Cerebral Palsy Midlands, based in Harborne.

If you would like to know more about working with Gateway, whether that’s to work with our Health Trainer service, or any other Gateway services, for example the Pregnancy Outreach Workers Service, do contact us – we’d be very pleased to hear from you.

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

Happy birthday, and happy clients!

It’s Gateway’s 11th birthday this week. Eleven years of connecting with hard-to-reach communities, filling the gaps and designing innovative wrap-around services that look after the whole person. Eleven years of changing people’s lives!

So, in this week’s story, we thought we’d mark our “happy birthday” by talking about “happiness”.

With so much going on in the world today, looking after yourself and your mental wellbeing is more difficult, but more important than ever. That’s why staff across all our services – Health Trainers, Pregnancy Outreach Workers Service (POWS), our Pre-Diabetes course and Solihull Lighten Up – work so hard to help people to look after themselves and to feel happier.

So, when we review the support we’re offering to people, we don’t just measure – for example – how much weight a person has lost, or whether they’ve reduced their blood sugar levels. It’s tricky, but we also measure things like “happiness” and “mental wellbeing” in a variety of ways.

Since May, Health Trainers have been using the WEMWBS (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale) at the start and end of each person’s support. So far, results show that “mental wellbeing” improves for around half the people they work with during the time they are with a Health Trainer. Perhaps this is because they are achieving what they set out to do; after finishing support, 85% of Health Trainer clients say they feel they’ve either fully or partially achieved the goals they set out at the start. Setting goals and being supported to achieve them is a great way to start feeling happier.

In POWS, we use a similar tool, called DASS (the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale). Despite the fact that all POW clients have high levels of vulnerability, which can often mean that making changes takes longer, 34% of the women POWS work with see a definite improvement in their emotional state by the time they exit the service.

One of the things every client is asked at every appointment, across all services, is for a “happiness rating”. It’s a simple, unscientific question, and we leave it to the individual to decide what is meant by “happiness”, but we find it very useful because it means we can track how things are going on a session-by-session basis. To illustrate this, have a look at the comments and ratings given by some of our clients, from the first appointment and their most recent appointment:


POWS client Marika* is in her 30s. Compare her first appointment with the most recent, just a few days ago:

28 Sep 2016:

I have found it helpful as we discussed depression and the kind of help I need. I am feeling really low and suffer from mood disorder and other health issues. I am struggling to bond with baby. I have my scan next week.


8 Feb 2017:

You brought baby clothes for me and I liked the knitted jumpers and hats. I can’t wait to have my baby now.


Health Trainers client Elaine* is in her 40s. Her first appointment with Susan, her Health Trainer, was in December. And look at her now!

8 Dec 2016:

I was going to the group sessions but due to work I couldn’t attend the six weeks. I’m not very keen on going to groups. I have been to slimming world in the past but I didn’t like it, I went to Zumba didn’t enjoy it. I am a bit lazy in making the effort to do things. But I will try to make some changes to what I eat.


8 Feb 2017:

Susan you will be shocked. I’m taking my main meal to work now instead of having it late in the evening and I am actually having vegetables every day with my meals. This has helped me with my digestion as well. And best of all I lost a few pounds in weight. People have been saying I look like I have lost weight.

It’s the same across all our services. For Health Trainers, happiness levels increase by an average of 14%. For people on the Pre-Diabetes course, it’s 9%. Solihull Lighten Up clients’ happiness increases by an average of 12%. And for POWS clients, the average increase is 16%.

Thanks to all of our brilliant staff and volunteers who make this happen, not to mention everyone who’s supported us for the past eleven years. Here’s to many more!

*names have been changed
† we do this via the Impact Assessment App.

Richard, Health Trainer

Health Trainers service at risk: please help

If you value the Health Trainers service, then we want to hear from you.

The latest round of cuts to services in Birmingham is being discussed as part of the Birmingham City Council’s budget consultation, and one of the services highlighted as being at risk is the Health Trainers service.

Health Trainers are one of the few discretionary services provided by Public Health (ie they are not statutory services), which means they are most susceptible to cuts. It’s possible that funding to the Health Trainers service will be cut dramatically, if not completely, later this year. We are currently putting together a response to the consultation to explain why Health Trainers are important to the city, and to thousands of people who receive their support.

One of the letters we’ve already received is from a woman explaining how her mother was helped by Beckie, a Gateway Health Trainer.
If you have benefited from a working with a Health Trainer, please let us know how they helped. What was your experience? What would your situation be like now if it wasn’t for your Health Trainer?

If you haven’t been supported directly, but you understand the value of the service, maybe as a partner or referrer, we’d still be very grateful for your feedback.

You can send comments to us via email at, or write to us at: Gateway Family Services, 5th Floor, Chamber of Commerce House, 75 Harborne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3DH, and we’ll include your comments in the response we give to the consultation next week.

Alternatively, you can respond to the consultation directly by filling out the Council survey before next Wednesday, 18th January.

And if you’d like some inspiration, read on to hear why we think this service is so important…

Health Trainers: we give you extra!

The Health Trainer service isn’t just about weight management; it’s a long term, preventative service. Health Trainers help people to make lifestyle changes that have far-reaching consequences and so reduce the impact on other services.

Health Trainer Wayne visiting a local homeless hostel last month
In the last year, our Health Trainers have supported more than 2,000 people to increase their physical activity and to eat more healthily. But they’ve also helped hundreds of people to learn how to budget and to learn how to cook. They’ve helped people who were at risk of diabetes, or high blood pressure, to reduce their risk in the long term. They’ve set up group activities – which increase physical activity and reduce social isolation – and signposted people to many more. They’ve even helped people with housing issues, benefits claims and access to food parcels; issues that aren’t medical but nevertheless have a big impact on health.

Like all of Gateway’s services, our Health Trainers are an adaptable, flexible team. They offer home visits and phone support as well as community consultations. They respond to need as it happens and they put their wide network of contacts and skills to good use. They offer practical advice, but they also offer time, and someone to talk to.

More than 40% of the people Gateway Health Trainers have supported in the last year are from vulnerable groups, such as older people, people with mental health issues, and people who have an issue with substance misuse. And around 65% of Health Trainer clients are from deprived areas of the city. We know that people in these groups are much less likely to access resources on their own, which is why access to a Health Trainer is so vital: many of the people we work with would not otherwise receive any ongoing support at all.

Please help us to show why the service should stay.

Reducing risk: the Gateway Pre-Diabetes Course

The results are starting to come in from the first people to complete our Pre-Diabetes Course – and we’re hearing some brilliant success stories.

The most important results are the HbA1c levels, which signify whether a person is classed as being at risk of diabetes. A reading of under 42 mmol/mol is normal, but a reading of between 42 and 47 is classed as “pre-diabetic”.

We’re very pleased to see that 66% of the clients who’ve sent in results so far have reduced their HbA1c levels since starting the course nine months ago, to a point where they are no longer at risk of Type 2 Diabetes. This is tremendous news and a great indication of the hard work that everyone has been putting in.

A further 15% have reduced their HbA1c levels, but are currently still classed as “pre-diabetic”; that is, they are still at risk of becoming diabetic. However, everyone who’s been on the course is now armed with important information about the preventative action they can take, including healthy eating, physical activity, food preparation, and managing portion sizes.

The lifestyle changes made by our course attendees also means that many of them have lost weight. An amazing 71% of attendees for whom we have results have lost weight since starting the course. Of these, 14% are no longer “obese” and 17% are no longer “overweight”. One person has lost a spectacular 16kg (that’s more than two and a half stone!)

Roger’s Story

One course attendee who is definitely seeing the benefits of a healthier lifestyle is Roger Taft. Roger came to us in December with an HbA1c reading of 46, which put him at the top end of the “pre-diabetes” category. Roger had already made some changes on his own before being referred to Gateway – he’d started cutting down on snacks and had started riding a bike – but the course helped him to focus on the lifestyle changes that would reduce his diabetes risk.

You can hear Roger’s story in his own words, and find out just how much his life has changed, in the video below.

Gateway’s Pre-Diabetes Course is commissioned by Birmingham South Central CCG, which is a Demonstrator site for the National Diabetes Prevention Programme. The course is for people who have been referred by their doctor because they are at risk of becoming diabetic. It runs for nine months and is designed to get people thinking about diet and exercise, and making lifestyle changes that will help them to become healthier.

How have I helped you today?

We thought we’d have a bit of a change from our usual fortnightly blog post and rather than a story from one of our services focus on something a bit more pictorial, with photos and comments from people we’re currently working with.  Hearing what people think of us and what they’re achieving or the changes they’re making is really important.  It’s essential in terms of us making sure we’re providing what people need and getting the level of support right but at the same time the information is often encouraging and thought provoking.

To make gathering this type of information quick and easy our Outreach Staff all have the installed on their phones.  At the end of each appointment or visit they use the app to gather a few simple things; a comment in response to the question “How have I helped you today”, a satisfaction rating – done by using a sliding scale and if they’re willing a photo, a bit of audio or even video.  We think it’s really important to record the comment as it’s said, sometimes the Outreach Worker will pass the phone to the client so they can type in what they want to say themselves or if not it’s entered exactly as it is said so it remains in the client’s voice.

We thought we’d give you an insight by showing you just a little of who we’ve been working with and what we’ve been doing together over the past few weeks.

Jenny (right), her baby daughter and Collette, Pregnancy Outreach Worker

“I am happier than I have been in a long time.  I love my new flat and have been along to the Children’s Centre where there are lots of groups going on which I’m going to go to.”


Ken, who’s reached week 9 of our Pre Diabetes Programme

“I now have smaller portions, more fruit, more veg and I exercise more.  All the talk about healthy options has been noted! “





June, a recent referral into the Healthy Futures Service

“By telling me all the things that are available if I need them you’ve helped me realise there are still things available for me to do.”



Mohammed, Pre Diabetes Programme

“I’ve gained knowledge about food but I’ve also made friends.”                    




Xiaoli, client of the Pregnancy Outreach Worker Service

“We’ve talked about my birth plan and the things to expect when I deliver.  I feel I understand a bit more about labour now.”



Jody (left) and her Pregnancy Outreach Worker, Sarah

“We’ve looked at properties together and we’ve also filled in the Sure Start Grant form.” 





Paul one of our Health Futures
Paul who was referred to our Healthy Futures service by his GP.

“You’ve referred me to a couple of activities I can go to this week. I’m looking forward to going to them, it gets me out of the house, I’m sick of looking at the four walls.” 



Margaret who was also referred to our Healthy Futures Service by her GP


“You’ve helped me fill in the PIP application and given me a bit more confidence.”       


From the information we’ve collected via the app we also know that over the past six months we have provided one to one support to 1424 people and as we gather some basic demographic information we know various things like age and work status.  We can see that we’re working with a wide range of people which is important.

In terms of age the largest single group are those aged 50-64 with 420 people falling into this group but then in total 1045 were of working age,  321 people were over 65 and at the other end of the scale 43 were aged 18 or younger.

In terms of work 439 were in either full time or part time employment and 648 were unemployed,  then 45 were in full time education and 292 were retired.

Satisfaction – we talked about this at the start and how at the end of each appointment or visit we ask people to rate their satisfaction or happiness by indicating where they feel they are on a sliding scale, which is out of 100.  70% is the average score, so that’s like 7 out of 10, but what we can see is that 57% is the average people are scoring at the start of their support but by the end it’s increased to 77%.  This shows that satisfaction increases significantly as time goes on, but then that stands to reason as when people start to see or feel the effect of what they’re doing then their belief and confidence grows in us and the changes we’re making together.