Minister launches Health Trainer Programme in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Areas
10/04/2014Health Minister Edwin Poots has launched the Health Trainer Programme in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Areas.
This project is funded by the Department of Social Development (DSD) and led by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in partnership with DSD, Craigavon Borough Council, the Neighbourhood Renewal partnerships and community and voluntary organisations within the borough.
The group of ten Community Health workers are the first in Northern Ireland to successfully complete the City and Guilds Level 3 Health Trainer Qualification and are now working as Health Trainers with local community groups in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Areas (NRA).
The Health Improvement Project for Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Areas commenced in April 2011 and the Healthy Living Centre network, ‘Verve’, was set up in 2013. The ten Verve centres aim to promote healthy communities and enable DSD, the Trust and their partners to target Neighbourhood Renewal resources to those most in need.
The role of the trainers is to address people's understanding of and attitudes towards health and wellbeing and to motivate them to make changes for the better. They will work with individuals and groups to support them to make healthier lifestyle choices including more exercise and physical activity, quitting smoking, eating more healthily and looking after their own mental and emotional health and that of others. They will also connect people to specialist organisations for issues such as debt advice, employment, training and housing – all of which have an impact on health and wellbeing.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “Making life changes can be a challenge for us all. The Health Trainer programme has been specifically designed to engage with people who wish to improve their overall health but who need support in doing so. Health Trainers will help to motivate and support those who wish to actively apply positive health changes, which will hopefully remain with them for the rest of their lives. I am pleased we are working collaboratively to support the Health Trainer Programme in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Area.
“Reducing health inequalities, or avoidable differences in health, is a particular challenge, requiring long term co-ordinated effort across government and all of society, including importantly, as this programme recognises - at community level.
“The Verve network is a positive example of how local communities can be empowered to take an active and positive role in improving their own wellbeing.”
Chair of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Roberta Brownlee said: “The Verve project is one example of how through our Trust in Community initiative, we are working with community and voluntary organisations to address social disadvantage and promote wellbeing.
“The Health Trainers are now equipped to reach people in their local communities, to help them to lead healthier lives and access services. We hope that the trainers will help to motivate those in their communities to address their own wellbeing and help to reduce inequality in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Area.”
The project received a grant of £73,500 from the Department for Social Development through the Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund. Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: “The links between deprivation and poor health are well known. The network of ‘Verve’ Centres, providing advice and delivering programmes in a local setting will make a major contribution towards improving the health and wellbeing of residents of the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal areas. This funding will help to improve the quality of the lives of residents in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal areas and address some of the problems identified by the Neighbourhood Partnership Boards in their Vision Framework for regenerating the area.”