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Health Trainers: still here – still changing lives!

26th August 2016

Over the last few months, since the Health Trainers service was recommissioned, we’ve been changing the way we work very slightly. We’ve brought in some part time roles, we’ve started specifically reaching out to people who are a little more vulnerable, and we’ve increased how flexible we are in our working hours to allow us to better support clients in the evenings and at weekends. Overall, though, the message is still the same: Health Trainers can change your life!

This week we’re especially pleased to welcome some new Health Trainers to our team, including two brand new recruits, Daniela and Margaret.

DanielaDaniela comes to us having worked as a psychologist in her home country of Slovakia. She says, “I can’t wait to work as a Health Trainer and have the opportunity to use my skills to motivate and inspire others. I’ve seen from my experience in psychology how close the link is between health and happiness so I think it’s amazing that a role like this exists – one-to-one support that helps people to make long term lifestyle changes. I’ve always been interested in healthy living and I love helping people so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

MargaretMargaret has spent the last fifteen years as a community and youth worker for Birmingham City Council. She says, “I’m passionate about getting the health message out there, and I love it when I get the opportunity to empower people to make positive changes, so I can’t wait to get my teeth into this role. I’ve been working with young people for a long time, so I’m excited about the chance to support people of all ages as a Health Trainer. Although I’ve worked in health all of my life, I know there’s always something new to find out, so I’m looking forward to learning from the Gateway team!”

Gateway Health Trainers is a free, confidential service that supports people to improve their health and wellbeing by helping them to make beneficial lifestyle changes. We work with clients both one-to-one and in groups, helping them to set achievable goals, giving them the information and confidence they need to maintain changes permanently, so that when our support ends they can continue to live a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Over the years we’ve learned that we can add value to our support by offering extra activities on top of the regular appointments. We’ve found that when people join groups it’s good for their wider wellbeing and they’re more likely to sustain changes, so we now offer things like walking groups, EXTEND (chair-based exercise) classes and cooking mentor groups. Currently we’re running walking groups in Northfield, Kings Heath and West Heath, and they’re open to all our clients.

And this year, we’ve been making links with organisations who work with particularly vulnerable people, so that we can try and support some of Birmingham’s harder-to-reach communities – for example, ex-offenders, people with poor mental health, people who have experienced domestic abuse, or people who’ve experienced homelessness or substance misuse. If you are an organisation who works with hard-to-reach groups and you think your clients could benefit from a Health Trainer, please get in touch.

To get a taste of some of the life changing support Health Trainers offer, have a look at this video. Many thanks to our clients Linda, Keeley, Jenny and Brian for agreeing to go on camera for us!

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