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Award praise for ‘inspiring’ Bolton health scheme

A new community wellbeing project launched in Bolton has been praised after winning a top health award.

The ‘Peer Navigators’ project has seen us employ Bolton at Home tenants to work in their community, helping neighbours access support to make positive changes and live healthier lives.

The scheme has been piloted in Johnson Fold and saw four local women, all Bolton at Home tenants, gain employment in March 2018.

So far, they’ve helped 104 local families access support from community projects and public services, as well create new groups to encourage healthy eating and better mental health.

Peer Navigators has now won a ‘Trojan Mice Award’ at the 2018 Excellence in Health Creation Awards, being described as “inspiring” and “amazing” by the judges.

Shauna Morton, Head of Community Investment for Bolton at Home said: “Peer Navigators is all about valuing what local people can offer. Our customers are the ones who know their community best and how to encourage and support the people they live alongside.

“Their role is to listen to neighbours to understand local issues. They can then support individuals to access appropriate services, promoting self-care and behaviour change in people and the community.

“We’re looking to expand the Peer Navigators in other communities within Bolton and believe it has the potential to lead to better long-term health and wellbeing, as well as creating employment for the navigators themselves.”

Managed by Bolton at Home staff, in partnership with Bolton Council, the Placed Based Integration (PBI) Team and Bolton Community and Voluntary Services, the Peer Navigators have focused on four themes – families and food, employment, environment and women’s wellbeing.

So far, they have helped organise drugs awareness talks for parents and children and developed a crèche facility alongside women’s wellbeing groups to allow more women to attend them.

A healthy lifestyles group, promoting healthy eating and positive mental health, has also been set up in direct response to requests from people who wanted to lose weight and boost their confidence. There have also been cookery demonstrations using fruit and vegetables from local food growing sites.

The ‘Trojan Mice Awards’ are so-called because they recognise small changes in practice that have had a large positive change on people or communities. The awards are organised by the NHS Alliance.

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