Healthy Living Network works in Leeds to encourage health and wellbeing in communities
We were founded in 2002 as a Healthy Living Centre and have delivered a number of projects across the city- including our incredibly successful Community Health Educator programme, which trains local people to support their communities in making small changes towards improving their health and wellbeing. We are part funded by the NHS and deliver health education sessions in target areas of the city, as well as receiving funding from grants to run projects in all areas of health and wellbeing, supported by our team of sessional workers and volunteers. In 2014 the Healthy Living Network merged to become part of Barca-Leeds and now has an expanded portfolio of services that includes projects working with Gypsies and Travelers, suicide prevention for men and financial inclusion.
Community Health Educators (CHES)
The CHE project trains individuals within the community to pass on health messages and deliver sessions back into the community through sessional work. At the moment we run one course a year for new CHEs. This course is an accredited course in Community Development and Health and once completed, participants work for us and deliver health sessions out in the community- these could be cook and eat classes, exercise sessions, advice on healthy eating etc
This project enables individuals to improve their chances in life by having sessional work experiences which increase their employability. The project has been hugely successful in breaking down barriers and passing health messages across as peers generally relate better to receiving messages from peers. This has encouraged community members to access other services they may not have previously accessed.
Lung Cancer Prevention
The Community Health Educators from Healthy Living Network (Lung CHEs) have made a big contribution along with CHES from Feel Good Factor in making the NAEDI project “Got A Cough Get A Check” the huge success it has become.
The CHEs were commissioned by Leeds NHS to undertake focused outreach work in specific postcodes to publicise, promote and help community members make the most of this project which can lead to saving many lives.
The Lung CHEs used direct street work mixed with innovative healthy living sessions for the over fifties to promote the campaign and really hammered home the central attractive selling point of this project which is no doctor’s appointment and no hospital appointment-just walk in for a chest X-ray if you are over fifty.
We have done various bits of work in HM Prison Leeds, in Armley, which have all been aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of prisoners and their families.
At the Jigsaw Visitors’ Centre there, we ran sessions on Family Cooking, enabling fathers and children to cook together whilst the mums had a relaxation session. This meant not only that children got to spend longer with their dads which improved their relationship but also that the fathers learned some soft parenting skills. The children got a takeaway pack to cook the same meal at home with their mothers as well.
We also put on Wellbeing Days for staff, families and inmates as well as teaching a “What is Health?” module (part of the CHE course) to a group of prisoners who are healthcare representatives.
N.A.E.D.I stands National Awareness Early Detection Initiative and is a Combined Cancer Awareness program (Breast, Bowel . This campaign aims to increase the awareness of the citizens of Inner South Leeds (Holbeck, Cardinals, Beeston Hill, Hunslett, Middleton, Middleton-Manor Farms and Belle Isle). The project uses Community Health Educators to undertake street outreach and engage with people on the streets to increase cancer awareness and explain what services are available to them. One of these services is a free X-ray self- referral system to check Lungs for the over fifties who have had a persistent cough or chest pain for over three weeks. This project also runs awareness sessions for groups in the target area.
POMOC (Polish for “help”). This is an exciting project which has two main components to it. The first is an advice and advocacy service run every Tuesday at the One Stop Shop at Armley Library by Marcin Kleszynski. Marcin is a Polish speaking advisor who helps people from the local Eastern European community with a variety of enquiries concerning jobs, medical forms, anti-social behaviour and housing. Marcin is a fantastic worker and is excellent at this very demanding job which is a vital service for the local Eastern European community. The second part of the project is a superb Eastern European women’s group which meets once a week and is run by local women from this community and a Police Community Officer Sara Barrie. Both are essential services for a rapidly growing community in LS12.
For more information please contact BARCA-Leeds on 0113 295 1043.