Health & Safety

New Youth Health Champions Qualification / Responders to Warmth NHS Scheme / British Red Cross First Call Service - Help to stay in your home. Links to Lincs County Hospital & Nettleham Medical Practice websites.

Introducing the New Youth Health Champions Qualification

An Exciting Approach to Community-Based Peer to Peer Health Education

In September 2013: The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)  launched its Youth Health Champions qualification.  This new, exciting and flexible approach to health education, encourages the engagement of young people aged 14+ in local communities. The Level 2 Certificate in Youth Health Champions provides knowledge and vital practical skill sets, harnessing young people’s natural energy and enthusiasm to facilitate peer to peer education and mentoring about lifestyle related risks to health to effect real and lasting change in the wider community. Information about the qualification can be found on the RSPH website: www.rsph.org.uk/youthhealthchampions 

The new qualification taps into the new approach to health outlined in the Government’s White PaperHealthy Lives, Healthy People.  The paper looked at an approach to health, which would empower local communities, enable professional freedoms and introduce a system that would be based on the evidence of what works best, in order to tackle health inequalities and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.

RSPH have already created over 28,000 Health Champions through delivery of its popular Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement and the new qualification aims to create Youth Health Champions, drawing on the theory of early interventions as an effective way of tackling health inequalities.

For many adolescents pushing the boundaries and engaging in ‘risky’ behaviours such as substance misuse, sedentary lifestyle, sexual encounters, smoking and unhealthy eating habits is just part of growing up.  But young people are vulnerable and often lack awareness of the harm associated with these risky behaviours, and don’t possess the skills to protect themselves or knowledge about where to seek qualified help, turning instead to their peers for often misguided  advice and help. 

The new qualification is targeted at young people aged 14+ and has been developed to enable young people to act as ‘health advisors’ to their peers.  The training is flexible and can be implemented in schools as part of the PSHE curriculum or as a stand-alone activity within a variety of youth group settings in the wider community.

Learners will explore how people fall into unhealthy practices; personal and social consequences of such involvement; and how to provide help and support to anyone who is currently engaged in any health damaging activities.  Practical support such as how to identify reliable local health improvement facilities and determine their suitability for young people is also explored, as well as the importance of delivery and how to approach delivering a health improvement message to a group of peers.

How it works

The new qualification requires around 38 hours of teaching time with further study, either independently or in teams to supplement the teaching. .  There are three mandatory units that all students are required to complete:

·         YHC 1: Health Improvements

·         YHC 2: Research Health Improvement Facilities

·         YHC 3: Deliver a health improvement message to a group of Peers

Students are then required to complete at least one unit from the following options:

·         YHC 4; Understanding Alcohol Misuse

·         YHC 5: Encouraging Physical Activity

·         YHC 6: Encouraging a Healthy Weight and Healthy Eating

·         YHC 7: Understanding Sexual Health

·         YHC 8: Supporting Smoking Cessation

·         YHC 9: Understanding the Misuse of Substances

 

The qualification can be studied in whatever manner and timescale is most convenient and appropriate to the individual centre (school, youth group, charity etc) provided the candidates attain the required Learning Outcomes. Workbooks for assessment are provided and are assessed by the centres and then externally verified by the RSPH. The cost per student for the Youth Health Champions qualification is £45. 

Each individual centre (school, youth group etc) must been accredited by the RSPH in order to offer the course – application is simple: http://www.rsph.org.uk/en/qualifications/qualifications/i-want-to-become-a-rsph-registered-centre.cfm

Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive of RSPH said, “With evidence suggesting that we are more likely to seek advice from our peers the Youth Health Champions is an exciting initiative which will be more effective at getting health messages across to other students and therefore make a notable difference to health.  By targeting their peers, Youth Health Champions are able to form relationships and appeal to other students, enabling them to educate, advise and to signpost services to young adults who would be unaware of services or too embarrassed to seek information.  The RSPH has, for some time been leading on the development of the national education and training pathways for health trainers and health champions and sees YHC as the next stage in moving the concept into more and varied settings” 

The RSPH qualification has been developed following a successful scheme called YHC (Youth Health Champion) a programme initiated by NHS North East Essex in 2006.  Since its introduction 300 young people have been trained at Health Champions and there are currently nine schools involved in the scheme. The new RSPH qualification not only opens this initiative up nationally but importantly provides students with a recognised Ofqual qualification, on successful completion of the course

Commenting on the launch Paul Jarvis, Strategic Lead for Sport & Health, StreetGames said, “StreetGames works in the 20% most deprived communities in the UK; we currently have 6,500 young volunteers, aged 16-25, working on our projects delivering sport to the doorstep of the young people who most need it.  Every day, we witness firsthand the power of peer to peer support and education.  We are very excited about this new qualification and already have plans in place to make it available to our volunteers.  It will give our young volunteers the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to change lives and change communities – by themselves, for themselves.  We are very grateful to the RSPH for making this possible"

NB: The optional units which form part of the Certificate are also available as stand alone individual qualifications for individuals of any age group. They have been designed to provide those with an interest in improving the health of others, the knowledge and confidence to offer advice and support to improve health especially in relation to specific issues such as substance misuse, physical activity and smoking. Individuals in contact with specific at risk groups or the general public, including those working in community pharmacies, health improvement charities, health trainers and young people will find this qualification or use.”

o -o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o -

Need help to stay warm?

As the temperature falls and energy bills rise more people in Lincolnshire are set to face fuel poverty.

When keeping warm through the winter becomes a real concern to those on a low income Responders to Warmth may be able to help.

Responders to Warmth is available to anyone on a state benefit, or those with a chronic or acute health difficulty, as verified by a professional.  It also supports voluntary sector groups in delivering warmth-related services locally.

The services on offer include:

•           Loft and cavity wall insulation

•           Boiler repair or replacement

•           Heating and hot water adaptation

•           Warmth related handy- person

•           Energy and tariff advice

Lincolnshire has more than 70,000 households suffering fuel poverty and the subsequent misery of cold, damp homes due to under heating could lead to ill health. Fuel poverty is when occupant needs to spend more than ten per cent of their income on energy bills.

With recent energy price hikes, it is likely another 2,000 Lincolnshire homes will struggle to keep warm this winter.  This is the equivalent of six small Lincolnshire villages.

Responders to Warmth offers a range of services from warmth-related handy-persons, heating and hot water repairs and adaptations, free insulation, warming meals, blankets and portable heaters through to hot-water bottles, warm clothing and even sleeping bags.

An elderly pensioner who suffered with a range of health problems said Responders to Warmth were “prompt, efficient, polite, friendly and above all else the bungalow is more like a home than living in sometimes Arctic-like conditions”.

Housing tenure exclusions apply and there is a combined annual household income limit and savings limit in operation. In some instances clients may be asked for a contribution towards measures.

If you fit the eligibility criteria and need assistance in keeping warm this winter please contact Responders to Warmth on 0845 606 4566.

If you work for a voluntary agency Responders would love to hear from you too.

Further details are available at http://www.responderstowarmth.co.uk/ or email the scheme direct at admin@responderstowarmth.co.uk

For further information contact:

Julie Heath, Senior Communications Officer, on (01427) 676502