Jane Piggott Smith (L) and Michelle Smitten (R) receive the RSPH Three Year Health and Wellbeing award from Lord Patel

A prestigious double award win for Gateway!

We are very proud to announce a double success this week. On Tuesday we won a Three Year Health and Wellbeing award from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). This meant we were put forward for the prestigious Health Ministers Award… and yesterday, we won that too!

The RSPH Three Year Health and Wellbeing Award

The RSPH Health and Wellbeing awards are open to all organisations that promote health and wellbeing as part of their role. The awards “recognise achievement in the development and implementation of health promotion and community wellbeing strategies and initiatives”.

Jane Piggott Smith (L) and Michelle Smitten (R) receive the RSPH Three Year Health and Wellbeing award from Lord Patel. (Photo: RSPH)
Jane Piggott Smith (L) and Michelle Smitten (R) receive the RSPH Three Year Health and Wellbeing award from Lord Patel. (Photo: RSPH)

Awards are given for one, two and three years, with the Three Year Award being the highest level. On Tuesday, Jane and I went to the RSPH Headquarters to accept a Three Year Award for Gateway’s contribution to tackling health inequalities of communities in Birmingham.

In announcing the Three Year Health and Wellbeing Award, RSPH commended Gateway for:

  • “…how the organisation encourages whole family responses to their messages; this approach has proven to be effective in reaching communities.
  • “…the excellent internal referral pathways allow an effective and efficient nurturing process for service users. People only leave the service when they are ready.”
  • “…the organisation’s capacity to develop services based on the experiences and needs of service users. For instance, the strategy for the compilation of clients’ feedback is accessible and innovative, facilitating the capture of users’ comments and feelings about the service they are receiving.
  • “…the organisation’s employment policies and process for favouring service users whom often are part of the most disadvantaged communities. The opportunities that those individuals receive equips them with transferable training skills which will support them for life.

The Public Health Minister’s Award

All organisations that achieved the highest level of the RSPH Award were considered for the Public Health Minister’s Award, which recognises organisations for “outstanding contributions to the public’s health”.

Katherine Hewitt (L) and Ann Forletta (R) receive the Health Minister's Award
Katherine Hewitt (L) and Ann Forletta (R) receive the Health Minister’s Award

The Health Minister’s Award was presented yesterday, and Gateway won jointly with The Big Life Group, a group of social businesses and charities based in Manchester. Both organisations won because we demonstrate “exceptional asset-based approaches to engage with communities and deliver real public health gains”.

As part of our application, we were asked to give an example of the way that we engage with communities. We used the example of Making Health Work, a project we ran in partnership with the Foyer Federation to get young people thinking about the ways in which work impacts on health and health impacts on work. Making Health Work, like all of our services, used Gateway’s extensive paraprofessional experience and innovative support tools – like our Impact Assessment App – to break down barriers and improve opportunities for the people we worked with.

We believe that Gateway’s success, across all our services, comes from the way we engage with clients. We often talk about people who are ‘hard to reach’, especially when we talk about projects like Making Health Work, which targeted younger people. But the fact is, many of the ‘hard to reach’ people have been in the system for years; they just haven’t yet been properly engaged. We use our experience and links to engage people in an innovative and (as our clients tell us) life changing way.

Jane Ellison MP, Minister for Public Health, said: “I am delighted to be able to award the second Public Health Minister’s Award jointly to The Big Life Group for Be Well Salford and Gateway Family Services for their Making Health Work Project in Birmingham. They are outstanding examples of how organisations, large and small, can improve the life chances of the people in their communities, through developing local skills, knowledge and networks to target interventions to where they are needed the most.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “We are delighted to once again partner with the Department of Health on the Public Health Minister’s Award to celebrate the inspirational work of these two organisations. They are exemplars of innovative, progressive programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. I would like to wish both winners all the best as they continue delivering impressive public health outcomes, and hope they will inspire others to do likewise in future.”

On Wednesday this week, we’d just picked up the RSPH Three Year Award and we’d just heard the great news that we’d been selected to receive the Health Minister’s Award too. Here’s a short video to tell you more.

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