Our Work

Gateway Family Services CIC tackles the root cause of health inequalities by providing community-based support, helping people to sustain behaviour change and build resilience.

Since it was established in 2006, Gateway has provided a range of preventative health and wellbeing services across Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, supporting people to:

  • manage their own health in a sustainable way
  • maximise the opportunities of the workplace
  • build and reinforce social and family bonds

A non-profit organisation, Gateway uses any surplus to invest in the education, employment, health and wellbeing of the communities we work with.

Current services

COVID-19: Please note that most of our services are running as usual, albeit remotely. We are still taking referrals for the Solihull Lifestyle Service and the Social Prescribing Link Workers service. Some services have also changed or expanded as a response to the current crisis to offer extra support and emergency help; please see notes below each service. 

Health and Wellbeing is at the heart of our work at Gateway Family Services.

The Solihull Integrated Lifestyle Service offers tailored support for people who want to make lifestyle changes including losing weight, eating more healthily, reducing stress and smoking cessation. The lifestyle service, delivered in partnership with a number of other organisations, makes up a significant part of Solihull First, Solihull’s Community Wellbeing Service: a broader partnership of voluntary and community organisations working together to improve the lives of Solihull residents. Together we 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. As of March 2020 the Solihull Lifestyle Service is supporting people remotely and also delivering prescriptions across the region. We are still taking referrals.

We deliver the Social Prescribing Link Workers Service in GP practices across Birmingham and Solihull in partnership with SDSmyhealthcare and their Primary Care Networks. Social Prescribing allows GPs and other care staff to refer patients to a Link Worker, based at the surgery. Link Workers then work with patients one-to-one, offering direct support and signposting to help them take control of their own health and wellbeing, and helping them to increase their active involvement with their local community. As of March 2020 our Link Workers are supporting people remotely. We are still taking referrals.

Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs) are teams of volunteers who provide feedback about their local maternity system, facilitated and led by Gateway. The panel include maternity professionals (like midwives and doctors) and, importantly, women and family members who have direct personal experience of the service. As of March 2020 the MVPs are working remotely, and meetings are now online. We are still welcoming new members; contact us for more information.

The South Birmingham Long Term Conditions Group (also known as the Patient Health Forum) is a social group for people who live with, or care for people who live with, a range of long term health conditions. The group is run by a committee of volunteers, and the monthly meetings are supported and facilitated by Gateway. As of March 2020 the Patient Health Forum has suspended its meetings but members are continuing to be supported remotely. Please contact us for further details.

Together with AgeUK Birmingham, Gateway leads the Edgbaston Neighbourhood Network Scheme. Neighbourhood Network Schemes (NNSs) are designed to support older people in Birmingham to connect with individuals, groups, organisations, activities, services and places in their local neighbourhood, and are an integral part of Birmingham City Council’s community social work model. As of March 2020 Edgbaston NNS is co-ordinating the area’s COVID-19 support, working with community groups and local agencies to deliver emergency support to the local community.

Early Help is the Birmingham Children’s Partnership model of connected support for families and children across Birmingham, and Gateway is leading Early Help work in Edgbaston. As of May 2020 Early Help Edgbaston is working with schools and children’s centres to co-ordinate emergency support for families.

Suspended services

Straight Talking recruits and trains Peer Educators: teenage mothers and young fathers who go into schools to educate young people about early parenthood, healthy relationships, child sexual exploitation and sexting. As well as the obvious benefits for pupils who participate in the sessions, it gives young parents fulfilling, flexible employment that fits around their busy lives and responsibilities. Gateway delivers the Peer Educators programme in schools across the West Midlands, in partnership with London charity Straight Talking. As of March 2020 this service has been suspended, but we hope to continue at a later date. For more information please contact us.

For businesses, we’ve harnessed over a decade of Health Trainer service delivery to create a series of Workplace Wellbeing packages. 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. That’s why our experienced Health Facilitators offer individual one-to-one support, group sessions and team workshops for organisations and companies of all sizes. We can also offer Health and Wellbeing courses including RSPH certification. Call 0121 456 7820 or email Katherine Hewitt to find out more about any of our workplace packages or courses. We are not currently offering training packages during the Covid crisis.

From years of providing outreach services we have developed our own training packages to equip our staff with the skills and knowledge they need – including topics such as Lone Working and Boundaries & Confidentiality – and we can also be commissioned to deliver these for other organisations. We also remain providers of the nationally recognised Health Trainer qualification. For further details, contact Jo Harper. We are not currently offering training packages during the Covid crisis.

Former services

Since 2006 we have delivered a wide variety of services. We’re always happy to talk about the things we’ve done, and share what we’ve learnt, and we continue to try and secure funds to re-establish those services that have been shown to be particularly valuable.

From 2016 until 2019 our Solihull Lighten Up call centre staff supported people who were managing their weight through external weight loss and weight management programmes. They offered extra telephone support, which has been found to motivate people to make further progress. This service has been incorporated into the new Solihull Integrated Lifestyle Service.

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 was a unique service providing psycho-social support to women with complex needs.

Along with ensuring engagement with maternity services, pre-natal health, smoking cessation and encouraging breastfeeding, POWS also tackled substance misuse, domestic abuse, safeguarding, mental ill health, housing and homelessness and the surrounding issues linked to financial hardship.

In January 2018 POWS was consumed into Birmingham’s new Early Years Health and Wellbeing service, and our Pregnancy Outreach Workers were transferred to new roles with Barnardo’s, Spurgeons Children’s Charity, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and Springfield Project.

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.

Healthy Futures was a social prescribing service supporting people with a broad range of social needs. GPs could refer anyone that needed non-medical help, so that includes people who have issues around housing, alcohol, finances, benefits, social isolation, and much more. In early 2017, a formal evaluation by Mott Macdonald of the Healthy Futures pilot scheme found it to be a cost-effective way to reduce the time people spent with their GP (when a social intervention was more appropriate), as well as significantly increasing people’s self-reliance and self-care. In many ways this service was a forerunner of the Social Prescribing Link Workers Service.

From October 2015 until May 2018 we delivered 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 provided information and support, helping people to delay — or even prevent — the onset of the disease. Results from people who participated in a Gateway Pre-Diabetes course showed impressive retention rates and life-changing outcomes.

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.

Gateway Family Services understands 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.