Since 2006 we have delivered a wide variety of services. Many of these formed the model for new services, and many have influenced and informed national guidance. 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 was 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. However our POWS experience of working with pregnant women and families, and encouraging engagement with maternity services, has continued to inform our more recent work (such as the Maternity Voices Partnerships).
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. When this service was decommissioned, many Health Trainers moved into similar roles, including Social Prescribing Link Workers, supporting people to make behavioural change.
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. 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.
Straight Talking West Midlands recruited and trained 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 gave young parents fulfilling, flexible employment that fits around their busy lives and responsibilities. Gateway delivered the Peer Educators programme in schools across the West Midlands, in partnership with London charity Straight Talking.
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.