Gateway Family Services https://gatewayfs.org Tue, 19 Mar 2019 14:01:24 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://gatewayfs.org/files/2017/04/cropped-Gateway-Icon-Blue-sq-512-32x32.png Gateway Family Services https://gatewayfs.org 32 32 Happier, healthier, and housed: Alia’s story https://gatewayfs.org/2019/03/14/happier-healthier-and-housed-alias-story/ https://gatewayfs.org/2019/03/14/happier-healthier-and-housed-alias-story/#comments Thu, 14 Mar 2019 07:58:19 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11125 To celebrate the first Social Prescribing Day, we wanted to share a recent story from Healthy Futures, our social prescribing service.

Social Prescribing Day aims to highlight the importance and significance of social prescribing within healthcare. Created by the Social Prescribing Network, a collaboration of doctors, colleges and the NHS, it’s a chance for services like ours to share stories about a way of working that has become a social movement.

In just over two years, our Healthy Futures “Wellbeing Navigators” have worked with over 200 people in Birmingham to support them with social and other non-medical issues. People are usually referred into the service by their GP, and then we work with them to provide a range of tailored interventions.

Those interventions might be as simple as a cup of tea and a chat, or — more often — help applying for the benefits people are entitled to, help bidding for social housing, understanding and filling in forms, calling the utilities to sort out bills, travelling with people to appointments, finding social groups people might enjoy (and going with them, if needed), and signposting to other organisations and agencies. Sometimes, as Alia’s story below illustrates, our staff are the only support workers available to listen at a time of crisis.

How Ralph helped Alia and her son to put down roots

Ralph, Wellbeing Navigator
Ralph, Alia’s Wellbeing Navigator
When Wellbeing Navigator Ralph first met Alia* last summer, she and her young disabled son were living in a homeless centre after moving away from her abusive partner. Socially, they were very isolated, with no local family and few friends. Alia cared for her son 24/7 with very little respite, and told Ralph she was suffering from depression and anxiety.

Alia’s risks were recorded as:

  • unsuitable accommodation
  • social isolation
  • caring responsibilities (disabled son)
  • low wellbeing
  • domestic abuse

Alia told Ralph she was looking for social activities so that she and her son, nearly two, could make some friends – important not just for her, but for her son’s development. And of course, she was keen to move out of the homeless centre. With support from Shelter, she had applied to move into social housing and was waiting for a decision.

Ralph was in the office one evening when he received a frantic call from Alia: her housing application had been rejected. Extremely upset, she hadn’t been able to speak to anyone. They talked and Ralph changed his plans so he could meet her the next day.

The following day, Ralph found Alia feeling very low. He explained that the next step would be to appeal against the decision, then called Shelter to arrange a visit from her support worker for the following week. Worried about her mental and physical health, he asked her to consider going to her GP. When he left, he told the Centre staff his concerns and told Alia that he would be available over the weekend if she needed him. (Later, Alia admitted to Ralph just how ill she’d felt that day, and that she had been considering self-harm, but that his friendly advice encouraged her to seek help.)

Since then, things have started to look up. Alia’s Shelter support worker and their legal team made the appeal against the social housing decision, and Ralph helped to arrange an Occupational Therapy assessment for her son as part of that appeal.

Ralph also found lots of activities for them to get out and meet people. Alia’s son likes animals, so he told them about the local nature centre and farms, which they have since enjoyed visiting. He referred them to their local Children’s Centre, and a support team helped them access free nursery care and activities. Alia’s GP surgery offered her a stress management course which she took up and really enjoyed. And, although Alia had originally refused Home-Start support, she changed her mind and began to receive support from volunteers providing temporary at-home respite.

Three months on, Ralph was overjoyed when Alia called to say the appeal had been successful. Now, they live in their own temporary accommodation. Alia’s making new friends and her son’s doing really well at nursery. They still have a long road ahead, but they’re happier and healthier – thanks to Ralph, Shelter, and her new support networks.

*Alia’s name has been changed

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Programme Co-ordinator Vacancy https://gatewayfs.org/2019/03/05/programme-co-ordinator-vacancy/ https://gatewayfs.org/2019/03/05/programme-co-ordinator-vacancy/#respond Tue, 05 Mar 2019 10:28:45 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11095 DEADLINE EXTENDED until Sunday 24th March

We are looking for a Co-ordinator for our Straight Talking Peer Educators programme.

Position Title: 1 x Programme Co-ordinator (fixed term contract to end of March 2020)

Salary: £20,655 per annum

Hours per week: Full time (37.5 hours per week)

Gateway Family Services CIC is a leading provider of services to the health and social care sector. Our aim is to reduce inequalities in learning, employment and health.

Co-ordinator required to work on Straight Talking Peer Education Service across Birmingham and surrounding areas. Straight Talking is a service that recruits young parents to deliver sessions in schools and other locations, talking to young people about topics including teen parenting, healthy relationships and sexual exploitation.

The role will involve:

  • Recruitment, training and ongoing support of a team of young parents, both sessional and permanent staff at differing levels
  • Engagement with vulnerable young people and organisations that support them to engage them to become Peer Educators. This includes Care Leavers, young people who have experienced gang involvement and others
  • Performance and quality monitoring of delivery and individual Peer Educator performance
  • Engagement with schools and other support agencies for young people to secure bookings and repeat business
  • Administration for contract including financial administration and report writing

Essential requirements include experience of supervising or management of staff, preferably young people.

Applicants for this post must be willing to work flexible hours that will be set around the needs of the organisation which will at times include evenings and weekends.

This post is subject to DBS disclosure as at times the post holders will come into contact with vulnerable people.

Read the full job description

Please note, interviews will be held on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th April. Shortlisted applicants will need to be available on one of these days for interview.

How to apply:

Application packs can be obtained by emailing Maxine Brown m.brown@gatewayfs.org or by calling 0121 456 7820.

Closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 24th March 2019. Completed application forms should be emailed to Maxine Brown as above.

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Spring training dates: RSPH courses in April and May https://gatewayfs.org/2019/02/26/spring-training-dates-rsph-courses-in-april-and-may/ https://gatewayfs.org/2019/02/26/spring-training-dates-rsph-courses-in-april-and-may/#respond Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:21:12 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11081 We’ve just released new course dates for RSPH Level 2 courses in Understanding Health Improvement, Encouraging a Healthy Weight and Healthy Eating and Understanding Behaviour Change.

RSPH logoThese short courses are suitable for wellbeing officers, health champions, community workers, health advisors, pharmacy assistants, volunteers, and anyone else who is interested in improving the health and wellbeing of people in their workplace or local community.

What’s more, we now have places available for a series of Workplace Wellbeing Workshops we’ll be running in June. Choose from Resilience, Stress Management, Mindfulness and Healthy Lifestyles – and take advantage of a soothing 20% discount if you book all four!

Courses and booking information

RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement
Learn the principles of promoting health and wellbeing: how effective communication can support health messages and how behaviour change can improve an individual’s health and wellbeing. At the end of the course you will understand how best to direct people towards further practical support in their efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Monday 1st April and Monday 8th April 2019 (two day course)
Edgbaston
12 places available
£210* per person including qualification
Block booking discounts available (call for more information)

Call Jemma on 0121 456 7820 to book

RSPH Level 2 Award in Encouraging a Healthy Weight and Healthy Eating
Increase your knowledge and understanding of why individuals may not be at a healthy weight, the effect this has on health, the principles of healthy eating, and how individuals can be helped and supported to achieve a healthy weight and eat healthily.

Wednesday 24th April 2019 (one day course)
Edgbaston
12 places available
£120* per person including qualification
Block booking discounts available (call for more information)

Call Jemma on 0121 456 7820 to book

RSPH Level 2 Award in Supporting Behaviour Change (Health and Wellbeing)
This qualification provides learners with the knowledge, confidence and skills to support individuals who are thinking of making a health behaviour change. Learn how to work with individuals to increase their motivation to make a behaviour change and explore the factors that hinder and facilitate that change.

Wednesday 8th May and Wednesday 15th May 2019 (two day course)
Edgbaston
12 places available
£210* per person including qualification
Block booking discounts available (call for more information)

Call Jemma on 0121 456 7820 to book

Workplace Wellbeing Workshops

Educating and supporting staff to actively manage their wellbeing has been shown to reduce absences and sickness levels, and to improve staff retention, motivation and productivity. These workshops, led by Gateway’s experienced health professionals, teach employees some basic wellbeing practices and show them how to make small, preventative health changes that could have a big impact on their working life.

10.00–11.00 Resilience
11.15–12.15 Stress Management
13.00–14.00 Healthy Lifestyles
14.15–15.15 Mindfulness

Wednesday 12th June
Edgbaston
12 places available on each workshop
£25 per person per workshop, or £80 per person for the whole day*

Call Jemma on 0121 456 7820 to book

*All prices are excluding VAT

Sign up to our Workplace Wellbeing newsletter

Want to be the first to hear about workplace health events and new course dates, as well as other advice and tips to support employees in the workplace? Sign up to the Gateway Workplace Wellbeing email newsletter today.

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Announcing a new Integrated Lifestyle Service for Solihull https://gatewayfs.org/2019/02/11/announcing-a-new-integrated-lifestyle-service-for-solihull/ https://gatewayfs.org/2019/02/11/announcing-a-new-integrated-lifestyle-service-for-solihull/#comments Mon, 11 Feb 2019 09:00:03 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11047 We’re really pleased to announce that Gateway Family Services has been awarded the contract to provide Solihull’s Integrated Lifestyle Service for a minimum of three years from April 2019.

Gateway will be working with a number of partners to deliver a range of core lifestyle services to communities in Solihull, including health checks, weight management, smoking cessation, men’s health and health psychology.

These lifestyle services make up a significant part of Solihull’s new community wellbeing service: a broader partnership of voluntary and community organisations working together to improve the lives of Solihull residents. The new approach will promote self-care and independence, making it easier for people in Solihull to find information and advice, as well as providing specialist support for those who need it.

Expertise

We are delighted that Solihull Council has chosen Gateway to lead the Integrated Lifestyle Service, an important part of the borough’s new community wellbeing service.

Some of Gateway’s Health and Wellbeing facilitators

In doing so, we will be drawing upon our vast experience and years of expertise delivering health and wellbeing services like Health Trainers and Solihull Lighten Up. Since 2015, Solihull Lighten Up has helped more than 3,000 people with a range of needs – sometimes complex – to lose weight and make major lifestyle changes.

And our delivery of the Solihull Integrated Lifestyle Service will perfectly complement Gateway’s other services, like our Workplace Wellbeing services, health and wellbeing training courses, the Birmingham and Solihull Maternity Voices Partnership (BSol MVP) and the work our Peer Educators do with young people (Straight Talking).

As health and wellbeing experts, working in the local community for more than thirteen years, we know that the accessible, community-based approach that Solihull Council has chosen will be most beneficial for people’s health.

We’re looking forward to working with our new partners to deliver a top class service and supporting thousands more people in Solihull to a healthier lifestyle.

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Sharing the realities of teenage pregnancy https://gatewayfs.org/2019/01/20/sharing-the-realities-of-teenage-pregnancy/ https://gatewayfs.org/2019/01/20/sharing-the-realities-of-teenage-pregnancy/#respond Sun, 20 Jan 2019 15:22:18 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11034 Who better to tell young people about the realities of teen pregnancy than a group of young parents who have been through it themselves?

Gateway Straight Talking Peer Educators
Some of our Straight Talking Peer Educators with Co-ordinator Caroline (right)

Gateway’s Peer Educators are young people who became parents as teenagers. They visit groups of children and young people – usually in schools – to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE), healthy and unhealthy relationships and the realities and implications of early parenthood.

Peer Educators are trained to work with children and young people, and draw on their personal experiences to help pupils understand the emotional, social, and practical implications of becoming a parent. As well as telling their own stories, they get pupils involved with a range of activities, some of which you can hear about in the video below.

Gateway delivers these programmes across the West Midlands in partnership with Straight Talking Peer Education.

Course content

Straight Talking courses have been independently evaluated to be effective in making students listen to, hear and remember our message.

The teenage pregnancy course is hard hitting, covering the responsibilities of parenting and giving an insight into the realities and challenges of life as a young parent.

To work alongside this – in response to DfE statutory guidance “Keeping Children Safe in Education”, and requests from schools – Straight Talking has developed a supplementary programme that covers child sexual exploitation (CSE), grooming, healthy and unhealthy relationships, sexting, relationship abuse and consent.

Watch the video to meet Peer Educators Che, Cherelle, Casey, Natalie and Cherrie, and find out more about their work in schools across the West Midlands.

What do the schools say?

As part of our RSE day […] Straight Talking provided us with sessions on both Teenage Pregnancy and CSE and sexting and the feedback from our staff and students was fantastic. Students talked about how they felt engaged, spoken to with respect and relevance to them and that they loved the fact that teenage mothers were willing to speak to them about their experiences, this made it really ‘real’ for them.

(Claire Kilroy, Deputy Headteacher, Arena Academy, 2018)

Book now for your school

Think your pupils might benefit from some Straight Talking? Gateway’s Peer Educators would love to help. For more information, or to book a course, email Peer Educator Co-ordinator Caroline, or call 0121 456 7820 and ask for Caroline, Jo, or one of the Peer Educators.

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Health and wellbeing qualifications: new course dates announced https://gatewayfs.org/2019/01/08/health-and-wellbeing-qualifications-new-course-dates-announced/ https://gatewayfs.org/2019/01/08/health-and-wellbeing-qualifications-new-course-dates-announced/#respond Tue, 08 Jan 2019 12:27:07 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11029 Limited places are now available for RSPH-accredited supporting smoking cessation, understanding health improvement and supporting behaviour change courses in Birmingham in the new year.

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to gain a health and wellbeing qualification (or to support your staff to do so), then this is for you. These short courses are suitable for wellbeing officers, health champions, community workers, health advisors, pharmacy assistants, volunteers, and anyone else who is interested in improving the health and wellbeing of people in their workplace or local community.

Course attendees will learn how to motivate and encourage others to make positive lifestyle choices, and gain a nationally recognised, accredited health and wellbeing qualification.

Courses and booking information

RSPH Level 2 Award in Supporting Smoking Cessation
Did you know that smokers are up to four times more likely to successfully quit with specialist support? This qualification is for people who are interested in helping others to develop a healthier lifestyle by stopping smoking. You will increase your knowledge and understanding of why people smoke, the personal and social consequences of this and how you can help and support people to stop smoking.

Wednesday 30th January 2019
Edgbaston
12 places available
£110 per person including qualification
Call Jemma on 0121 456 7820 to book

RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement
Learn the principles of promoting health and wellbeing: how effective communication can support health messages and how behaviour change can improve an individual’s health and wellbeing. At the end of the course you will understand how best to direct people towards further practical support in their efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle. This is a one day course with a multiple choice exam at the end.

Thursday 31st January 2019
Edgbaston
12 places available
£110 per person including qualification
Call Jemma on 0121 456 7820 to book

RSPH Level 2 Award in Supporting Behaviour Change (Health and Wellbeing)
This qualification provides learners with the knowledge, confidence and skills to support individuals who are thinking of making a health behaviour change. Learn how to work with individuals to increase their motivation to make a behaviour change and explore the factors that hinder and facilitate that change.

Thursday 28th February and Thursday 7th March 2019 (two day course)
Edgbaston
12 places available
£210 per person including qualification
Call Jemma on 0121 456 7820 to book

Sign up to our Workplace Wellbeing newsletter

Want to be the first to hear about workplace health events and new course dates, as well as other advice and tips to support employees in the workplace? Sign up to the Gateway Workplace Wellbeing email newsletter today.

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What’s the future for Healthy Futures? https://gatewayfs.org/2018/12/10/whats-the-future-for-healthy-futures/ https://gatewayfs.org/2018/12/10/whats-the-future-for-healthy-futures/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 12:52:44 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11019 Unfortunately, we’ve had to stop taking referrals to our social prescribing service Healthy Futures again, leaving dozens of vulnerable people in Birmingham without support. Right now, we simply don’t have the money to continue.

Back in February, we announced that we would be continuing to fund the service using our own savings. At the time, we knew there was a risk we wouldn’t secure external funding before the allocated reserves ran out. Now, sadly, that risk has become a reality. We’ve had to stop taking referrals and our Wellbeing Navigators have spent the last two months winding down people’s support.

How Healthy Futures works

Margaret, Healthy Futures Wellbeing Navigator
Margaret, Healthy Futures Wellbeing Navigator

We have two Healthy Futures outreach workers, or Wellbeing Navigators: Ralph and Margaret, who work with people who’ve been referred by their GP. We work in partnership with SDSMyHealthcare, a consortium of GPs in Birmingham, and receive referrals from them and other organisations in the area.

Ralph, Healthy Futures Wellbeing Navigator
Ralph, Healthy Futures Wellbeing Navigator

Put bluntly, Healthy Futures clients are usually “frequent flyers” at their GP surgery — but it’s not medical help they need, it’s social.

When someone is referred into the service, Ralph or Margaret will go out to visit them and find out what they need.

Issues they support people with include housing (many are in hostels or temporary accommodation), financial hardship (many are entitled to benefits but are not receiving them, or have difficulty managing them), alcohol or substance misuse, and ongoing mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Some just need a bit of direction to help them start forming their own friendships and networks. The support given is practical, emotional and, importantly, builds people’s independence.

Here are some examples of the feedback we’ve had from Healthy Futures clients in just the last six weeks.

Judith* is in her 50s and unemployed:

I feel more positive and less confused about my benefits now, thanks for calling them today for me, and helping to sort it and update things with them. I feel like I have my mojo back. I think walking more is helping me too, and your support.

James* is in his 40s and has seen a few support workers over the years. He said to Ralph:

I have had a few issues and problems with support workers in the past, even still these days, but not with you. You don’t judge me, you listen to me, and I know how much you really want to help me. I can see that you really care.

Laura* is a mum in her 30s. She works full time but she and her child have been living in temporary accommodation:

I will look forward to my appointment with [the outreach worker] at Anawim [women’s centre], thanks so much for referring me to her, and telling me more about the support they provide. I am sure they will be of great help to me, like you. I am feeling upbeat.

Cath* is in her 50s and currently unable to work due to her depression:

Thanks so much, I really do feel the need to move on in my life now to look at volunteering and work, either temporary or otherwise. It’s thanks to you I feel like that. You have been so patient and supportive.

We know there is huge demand for the service; since February we have a steady stream of referrals from GPs.

And we know that the service works: an official study carried out in 2017 found that Healthy Futures is a cost-effective way to reduce the time people spend with their GP (when a social intervention is more appropriate), and significantly increases people’s self-reliance and self-care.

But, despite searching and applying for funding from many sources, we haven’t yet been able to secure any external funding and, unfortunately, we just can’t continue under our own steam.

A country in crisis?

Over the last year we’ve applied for many bids and tenders, and there are more in the pipeline, but haven’t won any funding for Healthy Futures so far. Occasionally we have been pipped to the post by larger organisations or partnerships whose reputation will allow them to reach more people — dare we say, it seems that quantity is sometimes given priority over quality.

We’ve even looked at crowdfunding — asking members of the public to donate — but really, should this be necessary?

Of course we understand that not every service can be funded, but it’s clear that more and more money is being needed across the third sector. Feedback tells us that every social fund we apply for is massively oversubscribed; for example, the Challenge Fund told us they had received more than twice as many applications as they’d been expecting. Building Connections told us they had a £9m budget but if they had funded everyone who applied they would have needed a £191m budget.

It feels like the country is in crisis when it comes to social support. It’s frustrating to watch and, believe us, even more frustrating to experience.

Watch the video

Watch the video below to find out how Margaret recently helped someone who had had to move house because of ill health, but found herself socially isolated in an area she didn’t know.

*names have been changed

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Worried about staff productivity dipping in the winter months? https://gatewayfs.org/2018/11/27/worried-about-staff-productivity-dipping-in-the-winter-months/ https://gatewayfs.org/2018/11/27/worried-about-staff-productivity-dipping-in-the-winter-months/#respond Tue, 27 Nov 2018 13:55:05 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11016 We know it can be hard to keep people motivated, especially after the Christmas break. That’s why we’ve come up with a range of tailored Workplace Wellbeing programmes that might just be able to help. Together, we’ll beat the winter blues!

Gateway Health and Wellbeing teamOur qualified, specialised Health and Wellbeing Advisers have been working with people in the community for over a decade, and now we’re sharing that experience with employers.

For years, we’ve seen how better health and wellbeing leads to better resilience and confidence, which in turn helps people at work.

Statistics show that better workplace wellbeing can reduce absence and sickness levels, reduce risk before illness occurs, and improve staff retention and motivation.

smoothie bikeWorkplaces can choose from a range of health and wellbeing checks, sessions, activities and workshops.

You might like to start off with a light-hearted Health Taster Day, offering lots of fun activities over a day for people to pop in and try (including the famous Smoothie Bike)!

Or you may have an issue in mind that you’d like to address with your workforce, and be looking for something more structured – like our Preparing to Quit Smoking course.

Give us a call today and we’ll work with you to get to know your needs, and put together the perfect programme to help your staff. All our Workplace Wellbeing sessions are designed to create healthier, happier teams.

This winter, let’s stop the productivity slump before it happens!

For more information, or to book a visit, give our Workplace Wellbeing Manager Jemma a ring on 0121 456 7820.

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Listening to Maternity Voices https://gatewayfs.org/2018/11/15/listening-to-maternity-voices/ https://gatewayfs.org/2018/11/15/listening-to-maternity-voices/#respond Thu, 15 Nov 2018 10:06:38 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11002 The latest meeting of the Birmingham and Solihull Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) took place on Thursday last week. Members of the public met up with midwives and other maternity professionals to talk about their experiences of the maternity system and discuss some of the latest developments.

MVPs are a way for service users to share their opinions of their local system and give direct feedback. It’s a way to give pregnant women, new parents and families a voice, and to give maternity professionals a “direct line” to the public, so they can test out new ideas and get feedback on recent changes. Gateway has been commissioned to organise and manage the Birmingham and Solihull MVP meetings, and part of this is to ensure they attract a good number and diverse range of participants.

The November meeting was at St Barnabas Church Centre in Erdington, and 13 service users came along, some with children, to talk to us and share their experiences.

MVP Co-ordinator Sharon Bartlett addresses the group
Mary Passant, Programme Manager for Bump, talked to us about giving women a ‘Single Point of Access’ with midwives as the first point of contact. Dr Trixie McAree, professor of midwivery and maternal health at Birmingham University helped us to facilitate the event, and also talked to us about the new Personal Maternity Care Budgets (PMCBs).

Sally Giddings, Deputy Head of Midwifery at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, gave us feedback on the 15 Steps For Maternity challenge that we did at the Women’s Hospital in July. After hearing what happened on our walkabout, the hospital have already made a number of little changes, which should help to make people’s first impressions even better.

MVP Co-ordinator Sharon said, “it was a really interesting and useful meeting. Because people were able to bring their children along, it meant that more people were able to attend — but it also made for a much more informal session, which was great. It made conversations a bit easier and encouraged people to speak up more and to ask more questions.”

After the event, service users completed anonymous feedback forms. Here are a few of the comments:

“Relaxed atmosphere to enable discussion. Great topics to discuss.”

“There was somewhere for the children to come along and play. Helps a lot in the case of childcare.”

“Candid discussion. I feel listened to and appreciated views.”

“I liked the open discussion which was accessible to all.”

Join us! MVP in the new year

The next MVP meeting will be in January. We’re very keen to get more people involved to give feedback from the service users’ perspective, so if you or your immediate family have had experience of the maternity system in the last couple of years, we’d love to hear from you. Mums, dads, partners and grandparents are all welcome and you can bring children to the events, too.

Also in the new year, we’ll be holding another “15 Steps For Maternity” Challenge, this time at Heartlands Hospital. Take a walk with us around the wards and give us your immediate impressions to feed back.

If you’d like to join us for the next meeting or the 15 Steps, give Sharon Bartlett a call on 0121 456 7820 or email her on s.bartlett@gatewayfs.org.

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Helping people to stop smoking https://gatewayfs.org/2018/10/26/helping-people-to-stop-smoking/ https://gatewayfs.org/2018/10/26/helping-people-to-stop-smoking/#respond Fri, 26 Oct 2018 08:58:43 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=10986 Almost three quarters of smokers say they would like to quit.

But it’s not easy. More than a third (39%) go on to attempt it each year but only a small proportion (about 5%) successfully stop smoking.

However, did you know that with specialist support — for example from a structured smoking cessation course — smokers are up to four times more likely to successfully quit, compared to those who try and stop without any support?

stoptober 2018That’s why we are using our extensive experience to provide tailored courses, held in the workplace, for businesses who want to help their employees to quit.

Over the last month, we’ve been helping groups of employees to prepare to give up smoking with some tailored Quit Smoking courses for Stoptober, but we’d love to extend this offer to more companies and workplaces.

Supporting your employees to stop smoking won’t just benefit their health – it will be benefit your business. According to Public Health England, people who smoke take an average of two or three days more sick leave per year. Together with lost productivity from regular cigarette breaks, employees who smoke are estimated to cost UK businesses £7.5 billion a year.

Smoking is something that Gateway’s health and wellbeing teams have been helping people with for many years (you might be interested in this blog post we published in 2013, The Smoking Challenge, about the ways in which our Health Trainers and Pregnancy Outreach Workers tackled the subject with the people they worked with). So we’ve used our extensive experience to design sessions that we know will engage people, and help them to build the confidence to make important changes.

As a not-for-profit CIC, any profit we make is reinvested in the education, employment, health and wellbeing of the people we work with across the West Midlands.

What happens on a smoking cessation course?

The smoking cessation courses that Gateway runs are led by a qualified smoking cessation facilitator and take place on site, at your place of work. We can accommodate up to 15 people per session and each session (which lasts around an hour) is tailored to the people in the group.

The sessions focus on preparation: the group leaders encourage people to look ahead to a time when they no longer smoke, and then they go through all the typical worries that smokers have about giving up.

For example, a lot of people worry about putting on weight, or struggling to control their mood swings — so there are sessions on managing stress and combating food cravings.

Mental wellbeing is very important so the courses cover the “Five Ways to Wellbeing”, too. It’s all about making lifestyle changes and feeling in control.

smoothie bikeAs well as the taught elements, there are plenty of opportunities for discussion — because we know from experience that sharing experiences and worries as a group really helps people to make positive changes. Like all of our work, these courses include a lot of client-led planning and support.

We can also help people to access further healthy activities if they want to (and they often do, once they start making changes!). We can even bring some fun healthy activities into the workplace, like the Smoothie Bike.

By looking ahead and focusing on behaviour change, Gateway smoking cessation courses build resilience and make sure people who want to give up smoking are as prepared as they can be when they finally quit. Statistics show that being prepared and following “stages” not only helps people to stop but, more importantly, helps the changes to stick.

If you’d like to support your employees to stop smoking, give Jemma Abbott at Gateway a call on 0121 456 7820 and ask about smoking cessation. We look forward to helping you create a healthier workplace!

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