Well London Delivery Team
The Well London Delivery Team has run in each of the Well London areas. The projects recruited teams of volunteers who received training in outreach and health promotion and then went out into their communities to signpost local residents to services and activities that promote health and wellbeing. They also fed back to service delivery organisations to help them to deliver better services.
In addition to raising awareness among local residents this project also built capacity particularly around confidence and skills among the volunteers, a number of whom found employment as a result.
- Increase levels of healthy eating, physical activity and mental health, especially among those who have experienced barriers to accessing services in the past, by enabling people from the area to take up Well London and other local activities and resources.
- To increase levels of responsiveness of local service deliverers to community need.
- Build the knowledge and skills base of local residents and communities in order to improve their own wellbeing and promote a sense of community. Not only do team members gain knowledge and skills themselves, through 1:1 and peer support and through the training they receive, but they then cascade it within their communities
- The teams are supported to achieve leverage on existing services - making them more responsive to local needs.
- Help build ambition and aspiration in communities, by empowering people to take up resources and services and make small changes.
- The teams help make the Well London community engagement and consultation process more meaningful by mobilising participants who would not otherwise take part.
The local Well London delivery teams reinforce local strategies by increasing take-up of already available services, particularly among groups perceived to be 'hard to reach'. The teams also act as key spokespeople in the community who can feed back to local service providers such as the PCT or local authority.
The Well London programme was devised in the context of the Mayor of London’s production of a health inequalities strategy and was led by an alliance of representatives covering major strategic development priorities for London. The Well London Delivery Team contributes to current policy objectives such as improving wellbeing and equality, increasing capacity building and participation, as well as enabling delivery of better services.
We cannot achieve delivery of local and national priorities without local partnersNational Planning Guidance and “vital signs”, Department of Health, 2008.
people will become the most important drivers for service improvementDepartment of Health
The Department of Health recognises that national priorities cannot be delivered without local partners whose contribution is crucial for improved health outcomes. Furthermore the Local Government White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities supports greater partnership working between health bodies and local authorities to respond to local priorities appropriately. The Well London Delivery Team project has brokered strong partnerships between Local Authorities and PCTs to deliver against ‘vital signs’ targets related to ‘improving access’ but also contribute towards LAA targets (NIS).
.....to pass power into the hands of local communities so as to generate vibrant local democracy in every part of the country and give real control over local decisions and services to a wider pool of active citizens.’Hazel Blears MP, Communities in Control: real people, real power. 2008.
The Well London Delivery Team (WLDT) project has supported local voluntary organisations to train and build the knowledge and skills base of local residents and communities in order to improve their own wellbeing and promote a sense of community.
The Big Society agenda has been of key importance since 2008 with the aims of devolving power to communities and local government; having a greater role in public services for VCOs and other civil society organisations; and by supporting the voluntary and community sector.
Peers or 'champions' with at least some existing relationships in a community are well placed to disseminate information about what is available, and unlock the motivation of their peers to take up services and resources. This project is based on social marketing theory, recognising that a 'peer-to-peer' approach can often be effective in motivating people to take up certain activities and even make lifestyle changes.
Local volunteers were recruited through a range of methods such as marketing events, leaflets and posters at key community venues and peer-to-peer engagement by the local organisations commissioned to coordinate the project. Volunteers were drawn from diverse and minority groups to help foster a culture of 'neighbourliness'.
Once recruited, volunteers were provided with health promotion training by South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM), one of the Well London partners, as part of the Well London 'Training Communities' project. Following the training, volunteers conducted community outreach through a range of mechanisms, including doorknocking, attendance at local events, outreach at schools, libraries and community venues and any other locally specific opportunities. Volunteers empowered people to take up healthier choices in each Well London area, especially targeting groups perceived as 'hard to reach'.
Active Living Maps were delivered by Delivery Teams to households in the target LSOAs, to GPs, community centres, local delivery agents and local authorities. The Well London Active Living Map project created 20 bespoke web based and paper maps drawing wellbeing and active living services and opportunities into a single resource. These enabled residents to increase their local knowledge and awareness of resources and services and increase opportunities for making healthy eating choices, levels of physical activity and social interaction and community participation.
The Well London Delivery Team project is the linchpin of our community development-based strategy and responds to several of the needs people told us about in our consultation.
LSx developed a suite of tools to measure the impact of the 'champions' in growing awareness and changing behaviour. These included surveys and 'passports' to track referrals.
Central to the work of the Well London delivery teams has been the referral or signposting of residents to local services and resources. In their engagement with residents, team members have raised awareness of Well London and other local activities, encouraged participation, and referred residents to particular services.
- To date, over 2000 residents have been directly engaged with and given signposting advice.
One of the most successful and rewarding aspects of the project, which will ensure a sustainable impact and legacy, has been developing the skills of local volunteers.
- A total of 105 volunteers from phase 1 of the project have benefited from the Well London Health Promotion course.
- A further 89 volunteers have been recruited and trained (or are shortly to be trained) through phase 2.
- The Well London Delivery Team in Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, has trained 15 volunteers and made over 800 referrals to local services. 7 volunteers have now found employment.
- The Well London Delivery Team in Waltham Forest trained 9 volunteers and made over 150 referrals in its first 6 months.
The Well London Delivery Team model has enabled integration and cross-promotion of both Well London activities and other health and wellbeing services. The volunteer training has built local capacity and increased community engagement and participation in activities to promote wellbeing, leading to transformations in the local community.
Impact on Volunteers
The impact of WLDT on volunteers included developing new skills, enjoying the volunteering experience, and - in some cases - securing employment or further volunteering.
Developing new skills
The training that volunteers received as part of the WLDT project helped them to develop new skills. Comments from volunteers about the training courses include:
Fantastic training, especially the group work.
A valuable course, which can help everyone.
I especially liked doing the health and exercise plans on the computer.
Many volunteers have received certificates or qualifications for the training that they have undertaken as part of the WLDT project. Others have received accreditation for their volunteering hours. For example, Acton Community Forum has helped volunteers to get an award from the V team after 50 hours of volunteering if they are under 25 or a certificate from Ealing Volunteer Centre after 100 hours of volunteering if they are over 25. This is an important recognition of the skills that they have developed as part of their experience.
Enjoying the experience
As well as gaining new skills, many volunteers have really enjoyed their volunteering experience. Testimonies from volunteers include:
It is a fantastic experience to meet new people, talk to them and to share information about the community - I am really enjoying being a Well London volunteer.
Today was a very busy day because I did 9 hours of outreach. I found lots of people very interested in the keep fit classes and café Relax. Most of the residents were really friendly and welcoming which made me feel happy. I enjoy going out in the community.
Securing further opportunities
Building on their skills and experiences, some volunteers have even secured jobs or volunteering opportunities as a result of involvement with WLDT. It is hard to establish exact figures of those gaining further employment or volunteering, since this has not been a part of the monitoring requirements. Nonetheless, volunteer testimonies suggest that for many unemployed residents WLDT is a first step to returning to work:
It's brilliant, I am really enjoying myself. It's the first time I've had a job or been accepted for one in five years and I'm really making the most of the opportunity.
Furthermore, some examples are emerging of volunteers progressing to other opportunities. Following the completion of WLDT activity in Tower Hamlets and White City, local partners have reported 7 WLDT members finding paid employment. This has been directly attributed to the experience, confidence and skills they gained through the WLDT work.
Another story featured in a graduation ceremony in Newham for volunteers recruited onto the East Potential WLDT is of an unemployed course participant who is using her skills to go on to further volunteering. She said:
I am now qualified as a health promoter so next year I will be working with East Thames as a volunteer to promote healthy living to local people - I can't wait!
Alongside the expected outcomes of volunteers being trained and residents being signposted, there have been a number of unexpected positive outcomes from the Well London Delivery Team project. Examples include:
- The WLDT Coordinator in Newham, East Potential, produced a Well London Directory that has already been circulated to Newham Workplace, Jobcentre Plus and amongst broader project partners. This resource is an important legacy for the project: it did not exist prior to the project, and will be a valuable resource for the future.
- The WLDT Coordinator in Ealing, Acton Community Forum, has now got three volunteers staffing a community centre reception for four days a week. This is a welcome addition as not only do they provide a welcoming face to Centre users, but they also inform them of WL and the wide range of activities available on the Estate.
- Ensure there are sufficient training opportunities available
- Coordination is vital to make sure the volunteers are aware of all available activities
- Arts activities,
- Children and young people,
- Community engagement,
- Community feasts,
- Cook and eat,
- Cook and eat classes,
- Culture and tradition,
- Ethnic minorities,
- Evidence base,
- Hard to Reach groups,
- Healthy eating,
- Healthy food access,
- Mental well-being,
- Open spaces,
- Physical activity,
- Policy and guidance,
- Policy and guidance,
- The evidence base,
- Tools and resources,
- Tools and resources,