Spreading healthy living to residents

Learning Hive volunteers including Rose Courtney (centre) join forces with Northumbria Healthcare to promote healthy lifestyles.

Learning Hive volunteers including Rose Courtney (centre) join forces with Northumbria Healthcare to promote healthy lifestyles.

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Volunteers are helping spread a health living message in Newbiggin.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working with people at a learning centre as part of the national health champion programme to help spread healthy living messages.

Health champions are trained to motivate, educate and support others within their communities and workplaces.

Rose Courtney, 58, is one of five volunteers at the Learning Hive in Newbiggin.

The mother-of-one from Newbiggin, who suffers from angina, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the programme and it’s given me the opportunity to get more qualifications.

“Because of my condition, learning about nutrition and healthier lifestyles has really helped me and I now feel confident that I can pass on what I’ve learnt to others and help them to be healthier too.”

Denise Mielnik, health trainer at the trust who delivered the health champion programme with colleagues at the Learning Hive, said: “Having a healthy conversation can only take a few minutes but can have a lasting impact.

“The programme empowers people and gives them the confidence to speak to friends, neighbours, and people they work with about leading healthier lifestyles.

“We are looking to enlist more health champions in Northumberland so I would encourage individuals or workplaces who have an interest in promoting health and wellbeing to get in touch.”

Rachel Edwards, community engagement tutor at the Learning Hive, added: “We’ve been working with the health trainers for some time who’ve delivered a range of successful courses for our clients such as healthy eating courses.

“We felt this programme helped us to broaden the range of learning opportunities we can offer our volunteers and clients and it was free and easy to set up.”

She added: “It’s been great. Our health champion volunteers have really blossomed since taking part.”

Since June 2013, Northumbria Healthcare has recruited 25 health champions and is working with a variety of workplaces including voluntary organisations, youth workers, community groups and local community projects.

For more information contact the health improvement team at Northumbria Healthcare on (01670) 811972 or email stephanie.edwards@northumbria.nhs.uk

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