Embedding health and wellbeing outcomes into Groundwork programmes

Helping to change lives is much more than offering a free training course, voluntary opportunity or support in getting a job. At Groundwork we’re focussed on embedding positive behaviours that people can take forward in their own lives. This has the power to lead to sustainable change – individuals making their own lives better, creating stronger communities and reducing the pressure on public services.

Benefits to health and wellbeing have been inherent to Groundwork projects since the formation of the movement back in the 1980s. Encouraging people to be active outdoors and have a greater understanding of the environment around them is vitally important to individuals and is increasingly being valued by health professionals. This has been highlighted by recent research on the value of public spaces, articles on getting children active outside and projects such as Edible Neighbourhoods.

Groundwork is now engaged in much more activity to promote healthy lifestyles and improve the mental wellbeing of our beneficiaries. Some activities are built into our existing programme delivery, some are projects specifically focussed on health outcomes and other activities come from staff members desire to support the people we work with. Here’s a snapshot of some of the activities we’re involved in…

Improving the wellbeing of young people

For many years we have added value to our Prince’s Trust Team programme delivery by offering a range of additional training and workshops focussed on healthy living. Back in 2008 we received funding via Target: Wellbeing to increase this offer and have since continued to support Team members with a range of healthy lifestyle activities built into the programme.

Planting seedsDelivering health projects in Rochdale

In Rochdale we’re working with partners to deliver a range of health benefits for people across the borough. Edible Neighbourhoods is partnership with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing to help residents grow their own food on a range of community food growing sites. Our Back on Track programme, delivered in partnership with Mencap, is helping residents on long term sickness benefits overcome barriers and compete in the labour market. Growing for Communities is a gardening project focussed on helping older residents get outside and active in the gardens of their sheltered accommodation. Each of these projects is supported by NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s social investment fund.

HR BoxingEngaging staff in health and wellbeing activities

Anthony and Chris from our Housing Refurbishment team see the benefits of improving the health and wellbeing of our trainees. They have established a partnership with a local gym that gives trainees access to the gym free of charge.

Other Groundwork staff members are also fully behind our health focus. They have been keen to measure the impact of Groundwork projects on the wellbeing of participants. Using a short survey that incorporates the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS), we are able to measure levels of health and wellbeing when people start a Groundwork programme and again at the end. From the results we’ve collected so far our participants show an average 20% improvement in their wellbeing. There have also been some very impressive individual outcomes.

The more health and wellbeing improvements we can provide to our beneficiaries, the more chance that wider regeneration impacts become sustainable. This includes individuals succeeding in the jobs market, communities working together and more people making use of community spaces.

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