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Thursday, 30 January 2014

‘Health champions’ training programme for NI community workers

Written by The Editorial Team

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is launching a new initiative to develop "health champions" in local communities.

The PHA’s South Eastern Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Team will focus on providing 12 community health development workers with an accredited training programme on how best to promote health and wellbeing in their communities.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) level two award will help to develop the health improvement knowledge, skills and practice of local community health development workers who are a key resource within the South Eastern area in improving health and wellbeing and tacking health inequalities. The one-day training session is being held at the Lisburn Enterprise Centre.

Barbara Porter, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at the PHA, said: "There is a real need to help and support individuals to understand the factors that influence their health and wellbeing and how these can be addressed. The course specifically considers the concepts of health; and factors that affect health; ways of encouraging behaviour change; how to plan and manage health improvement programmes; communicate effectively with individuals; and monitor and evaluate health change.

"Some of the health issues that are considered on the course will be healthy eating, stopping smoking, getting fitter and losing weight. The community health development workers are a key resource within local areas to help individuals, groups and communities address these types of issues.

"The training focuses on a number of key health issues and can be used as a stepping stone towards obtaining the full Health Trainer accreditation award."

Participants come from an array of organisations supported by the PHA such as local Community Networks, the Rainbow Project, Well 2 Project, Colin Neighbourhood Partnership and AGEnda.

The course is being delivered by Beth Gibb who is a principal trainer in the programme on behalf of the PHA.