Gateway Family Services is a Community Interest Company. It was established in 2006 and operates in Birmingham and across the West Midlands.
Our services cover areas like employment training, weight loss and pregnancy outreach (see below for details). The common thread is “people who need help” and all of the areas we cover have a direct impact on health and wellbeing.
A non-profit organisation, we use any surplus to invest in the education, employment, health and wellbeing of the communities we work with.
We understand how health and social care systems work. We work in partnership with the NHS and Local Authorities to support their strategic decisions, whilst empowering people in the community to break the social, cultural and economic barriers that can cause deprivation.
The links between economic health and physical health are inescapable. Our creative approach changes lives by improving health, life skills and economic prospects at the same time.
Health and Wellbeing services
Health and Wellbeing is at the heart of our work at Gateway Family Services.
Our Solihull Lighten Up call centre staff support people who are managing their weight through external weight loss and weight management programmes. They offer extra telephone support, which has been found to motivate people to make further progress.
We also run Pre-Diabetes Courses across South Birmingham. People whose blood sugar levels are consistently higher than normal may be at risk of Type 2 diabetes, so this course provides information and support, helping people to delay — or even prevent — the onset of the disease.
Our Pregnancy Outreach Worker Service (POWS) was set up in 2006 as one of a range of interventions commissioned in response to the Floor Target Action Plan (FTAP) for Infant Mortality. POWS is a unique service which provides psycho-social support to women with complex needs; needs which put them at a higher risk of infant mortality. Along with ensuring engagement with maternity services, pre-natal health, smoking cessation and encouraging breastfeeding, POWS also tackles substance misuse, domestic abuse, safeguarding, mental ill health, housing and homelessness and the surrounding issues linked to financial hardship.
We also run an interpreting agency: Gateway Interpreters are specifically recruited to cover languages that we have identified a need for, as well as other languages that are being spoken in Birmingham at the moment. All have been fully trained as Community Interpreters – so, as well as having excellent language skills, they are trained to be confidential and impartial and to understand some of the more sensitive issues that may come up in community work.
We also have an active training department: EAST (Employment, Access, Skills and Training). Through this, we run our in-house training programme and all the training we are commissioned to deliver externally. Click here for a list of Health and Wellbeing courses we offer.
From years of providing outreach services we have developed our own training packages to equip our staff with the skills and knowledge they need – and we can also be commissioned to deliver these for other organisations. We can also deliver Community Family Worker, the Health Trainer Qualification, Business Administration and Employability. For further details, contact Michelle Smitten.
Services that have now ended
Over the past 11 years we have delivered a wide variety of services. Some are still going strong, but others have come to an end due to fixed term funding or budget cuts. We’re always happy to talk about the things we have done and share what we’ve learnt. We continue to try and secure funds to re-establish those services that have been shown to be particularly valuable.
Gateway Health Trainers ended in September 2017. It offered one-to-one support and advice to people who want to make lifestyle changes (eg to increase activity, eat a healthier diet, stop smoking or cut down on alcohol), helping them to set their own behavioural goals and to increase confidence and resilience.
Read more about the Care Navigation/Social Prescribing service we piloted for 12 months: Gateway Healthy Futures.
Shared learning from the Birmingham Lighten Up service, which included Maternal Lighten Up, shaped and influenced NICE Guidance PH53 Weight Management: Lifestyle Service for overweight and obese adults.