For the first time, we have employed local residents from our own housing stock to work in their own community. In partnership with Bolton Community and Voluntary Services, local people have been employed to forge links between public sector initiatives such as PBI, the local community sector and individuals.
The first four local Peer Navigators were appointed in March 2018, with a further four more joining the team in June 2019. All are Bolton at Home tenants and all were not in employment or training.
The Peer Navigators focus on themes that are important to their community such as cohesion and environmental improvements. They work to connect more individuals to the community sector offer, to support and enable individuals to access appropriate services and to promote self-care and behaviour change in people and the community. Their role is also listen to neighbours and local residents to understand and work out local issues and respond to these, as well as supporting community activities.
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.