RSPH Health and Wellbeing Awards Nelly Araujo, RSPH Education and Development Team, looks at how the 2014 Health and Wellbeing Award winners are inspiring public health.
At the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), our mission is that everyone has the opportunity to optimise their health and wellbeing. Celebrating and encouraging health promotion practice that empowers and supports people to lead healthy lives is an integral part of this commitment. Health promotion is a dynamic and developmental practice, and organisations from all around the country are constantly innovating and finding new (and improved) ways of engaging and supporting individuals and communities experiencing poor health. The RSPH 2014 Health and Wellbeing Award winners are great examples of this, and we are pleased to provide readers with a short overview of their achievements and why they deserve recognition of their success.
Eating a Balanced Diet is Vital for Good Health and Wellbeing Healthy eating is particularly important for the wellbeing and development of children. However, the prevalence of diet related health issues such as obesity often start in childhood. For instance, over onefifth (22.2%) of the children attending reception classes at UK schools are considered overweight or obese. The Children’s Food Trust (CFT) believes that nurturing healthy eating can never begin too early, and with their ‘Let’s Get Cooking’ programme – the nation’s biggest network of healthy cooking clubs – the CFT drives sustained changes in participants’ choices for healthier eating. To date, more than two million people have improved their cooking skills through involvement with the programme. The RSPH Award for the CFT is for the impact of its programmes on national food policy, development of professional knowledge and their evidence-based approach.
Another organisation committed to improving children’s health through the promotion of healthy eating is Any Body Can Cook!, a micro organisation with big initiatives and an impressive impact. Working in partnership with local schools, children’s centres, voluntary organisations, council services and commissioners, they deliver projects that provide support above and beyond their sphere of activity. Any Body Can Cook!’s innovative approach has proved successful, and within the past couple of years, the initiative has supported over 4,000 individuals in their journey to better health through healthy eating – a very tangible and extremely impressive outcome for an organisation run by one single individual. The RSPH Award for Any Body Can Cook! is for the outstanding work in supporting individuals and families to eat healthily through innovative and creative educational sessions and individual support.
Community Engagement for Broader Health Outcomes The RSPH awards recognise effective health promotion programmes which have a strong element of community engagement, defined as the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the wellbeing of those people… It often involves partnerships and coalitions that help mobilise resources and influence systems, change relationships among partners, and serve as catalysts for changing policies, programs, and practices. 1
Manchester Health and Social Care National Health Service (NHS) Trust’s (MHSC) ‘Air to Breathe’ project is led by the Manchester Health and Wellbeing Service and had an engagement strategy which involved collaboration with local people, community artists, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and University Hospital South Manchester. Taking place in an area of significant deprivation, the project has been successful in empowering and mobilising local people, as well as hospital staff, in order to promote smokefree pregnancy and smokefree families through a community arts project to create a permanent piece of artwork. The RSPH Award for MHSC is for its innovation, inclusion and demonstrable engagement with disadvantaged communities and external organisations. In the same way, Volunteer Centre Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde (VCBWF) showcased their work promoting and supporting holistic health in the community. The breadth and depth of their work is based in nurturing individuals in the community to identify their own needs and take action for an enhanced wellbeing of the community as a whole. In 2013 and 2014, their Wellness Service had 3,475 users – attending initiatives such as the 120 Health Cooking Workshops or one of the 10 social groups, exercise sessions or activities delivered weekly by the health and volunteer buddies. The RSPH Award for VCBWF is for its work promoting health improvement in the community, particularly recognising the high level of community engagement and user input demonstrated.
Local Authorities Mainstreaming Public Health for Broader Impact After the formal transfer of public health responsibilities from NHS to local
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Awards The Use of Internet for Health Improvement
government in April 2013, some local authorities have taken up this huge challenge to transform and create an opportunity to tackle the wider social and economic determinants of poor health by incorporating public health into all areas of their operation. Medway Council, for instance, recognises the benefits of integrated working for public health outcomes. By identifying common targets and objectives, some council services have successfully shared their assets and established effective and efficient collaborations to improve the health of their constituents. The collaborations across services are directly linked to the council’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and deliver interventions that are evidence-based. The outcomes of this approach have been encouraging; for example, in the third quarter of 2014, the council’s service has treated more smokers and had a higher cessation success rate than the average for England (per 100,000 population). The RSPH Award for Medway Council recognises the council’s demonstration of good partnership working between commissioners and providers and their evidence-based approach based on an understanding of the needs of their local population. Similarly, for Public Health Walsall, the transference of public health responsibilities to Walsall Council has resulted in an increase in the range of services commissioned, including
interventions provided by other council services. Their Healthy Weight Commissioning Group, for example, has developed an extensive range of initiatives. Through a high level of partnership working with other organisations and other council services, they have seen considerable engagement with their programmes. Walsall now has the highest physical activity level of all the Black Country Partners. The RSPH Award for Public Health Walsall Council is given for its impressive work promoting healthy eating and healthy weight in the communities they serve using a lifecourse approach. Prior to the public health reforms, some councils had already identified the opportunities of implementing public health improvements for a broader impact. East Hertfordshire Council, for instance, has demonstrated a sustained long term commitment. Their first public health strategy was launched in 2008 with the purpose of providing a framework for their work in prevention of ill health, the protection of health and the promotion of positive health and wellbeing. Since 2008, the council has delivered 228 initiatives with community engagement focus. East Herts’ RSPH Award is based on their strong and continued commitment to the health of their population and their exemplary support to partners and communities in the delivery of health improvement interventions.
With the fast moving development of technology, the Internet is becoming an integral part of our lives giving us easy access to information, services and new opportunities of carrying out our daily tasks efficiently. In 2013, 36 million adults (73%) in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day, 20 million more than in 2006, when comparable records began.2 With this in mind, RSPH Award winners Patient.co.uk and RoadtoHealth Group have developed ‘MyHealth’, an online assessment tool designed to help individuals improve their health through an individually tailored 12-week health programme. In 2014 alone it received 57,000 new registrations, 33,000 of which set health goals. By assessing the users’ individual health status and needs, this offers a unique tool for engaging individuals and encouraging positive behaviour change. The RSPH Award for Patient.co.uk and RoadtoHealth Group partnership is due to the demonstrated impact of the MyHealth online platform in the improvement of health of those individuals accessing this tool.
Health Begins at Work It is estimated that the working population in the United Kingdom spends a staggering 60% of their waking hours in the workplace.3 It is also well evidenced that people in stable and fulfilling work tend to enjoy happier and healthier lives than people who are out of work. Therefore, work and workplace are important vehicles for improving people’s health, and this year, we have seen exceptional models demonstrating impressive outcomes that ought to be shared and replicated. The ‘Worcestershire Works Well’ initiative delivered by Worcestershire County Council is one such example. This programme is an accreditation scheme with three different levels through which organisations are supported to achieve nine health promotion standards. The scheme is based on a strong partnership approach,
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Awards working and engaging with local employers. Currently, 45 businesses are actively working with the programme, impacting around 16,000 employees. The RSPH Award recognises the impressive outcomes the Worcestershire Works Well has achieved. City of London Corporation similarly seeks to work with organisations to improve the health of their workforces. The Corporation first encourages and supports businesses to undertake the London Healthy Workplace Charter and also provides further support through the ‘Business Healthy’ Initiative which brings businesses throughout the City together to discuss and share good practice. Currently, Business Healthy is supporting 40 employers in the City to develop health improvement plans. The RSPH Award for City of London Corporation is for their outstanding work improving workplace health for a population comprising predominantly workers with a comparatively small number of residents. Also facilitating the efforts of employers, employees and communities to improve the health and wellbeing of people at work is Cornwall Health Promotion Service at Cornwall Council with its Healthy Workplace Programme. The programme also has an award scheme which aims to both recognise the business’ good practice and to work with employers to further develop their health promotion work. The stakeholder engagement of the programme is impressive, for instance, the number of businesses registered on the Healthy Workplace Programme has increased significantly, from 10 businesses in 2010 to 190 in March 2014, with 28 Award winners to date. The RSPH Award for
Cornwall Council is for its exemplary workplace health model based upon an active connection with businesses, individuals and communities at all levels. This year, the RSPH received several submissions showcasing excellent work taking place to support individuals either join or remain part of the workforce in the context of public health. For instance, the ‘Work for Health programme’ run by the Greater Manchester Public Health Network (GMPHN) seeks to improve people’s health and support them to stay healthy and well through employment. Examples of the actions undertaken by this programme include the creation of a digital tool for people with alcohol dependency to help them get back to work as part of their treatment plan. Moreover, since 2011, over 300 businesses have participated in their Workplace Wellbeing Charter. The RSPH Award for GMPHN is for its work reshaping health services to promote workplace health and integrate work as part of patients’ treatment plan. Award winner Public Health Wales NHS Trust also seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of the workforce and ensure that individuals do not become unemployed as a result of ill health. Their work includes supporting employers to take part in the Welsh Government National Workplace Health Awards and the delivery of the Workboost Wales programme. This programme demonstrates an impressive level of partner engagement; between April 2013 and March 2014, they engaged with 837 employers and all 478 general practitioner practices. The RSPH Award for Public Health Wales NHS Trust is due to its innovative approach and
effectiveness in improving workplace health at a population level. The final example is from the Health Improvement Service at Salford City Council for their work promoting health messages in workplaces. Their case study was their successful workplace health programme which is based on a community development and capacity building approach. This year alone the service delivered their programme to 75 organisations. Their work includes the delivery of NHS Health Checks and mini health MOTs in local workplaces and the delivery of community-based preparation programmes aimed at helping people to build their confidence and skills to access paid employment. The RSPH Award for Salford City Council is for its effective work in improving community and workplace health focus driving behaviour change for healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.
Inspiring Work The RSPH Award winners are all making a difference for millions of us. Without their passion and commitment, the health of our nation would not be making the steady progress which is currently in trend. However, health inequalities remain stark, and the public health challenges are serious. At RSPH, we work to encourage organisations to continue designing, developing and implementing exemplar programmes that help our communities to adopt healthier lifestyle choices and, ultimately, tackle avoidable illness. For more information about the Awards and how to take part, please contact Nelly Araujo on [email protected]
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Community Engagement: Definitions and Organizing Concepts from the Literature, 2nd edn. p. 3. Available online at http://www.atsdr. cdc.gov/communityengagement/pdf/PCE_ Report_Chapter_1_SHEF.pdf
Office for National Statistics. Statistical Bulletin: Internet Access – Households and Individuals. Available online at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/ rel/rdit2/internet-access—households-andindividuals/2013/stb-ia-2013.html (2013, Last accessed 1st November 2014).
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace – Business Case. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2008.
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