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East Berkshire Young Health Champions

What were the project aims?

  • Deliver a young people-led, peer-education emotional wellbeing programme.
  • Form a co-production network to support peer engagement/communication, service design/commissioning.
  • Provide a meaningful mechanism to connect young people to strategic decision-making boards so that they can help shape future health and wellbeing services.

What motivated this project?

In 2018, NHS East Berkshire CCG, with Local Authority partners, asked young people how easy health and community services were to use in the region. From the 962 responses, a key message was the importance of their peers as a source of support.

The challenge was to empower young people to offer peer support while improving co-production within the NHS. In developing the project, East Berkshire built on existing peer-led approaches across community groups and schools and worked with headteachers and young people to design the Young Health Champions (YHC) programme and recruit and train them.

We facilitated and delivered workshops with YHC to provide an evaluation of the pilot of the YHCs programme.

What obstacles did we overcome?

The time required to make the resources engaging for children and young people was not expected. However, the adapted materials for the project met the needs of the young people and the later cohorts during the pandemic.

Covid-19 led to further changes to be suitable for virtual delivery. However, the opportunities created by the pandemic lead to young people wanting to support vaccine rollout and wanting to help adapt health messages to suit the times.

Project outcomes

Young Health Champions successfully delivered workshops about mental health and emotional wellbeing to primary school pupils and created wellbeing rooms in two schools to provide a place where Young Health Champions can support fellow students through resources and activities.

During Covid-19, YHCs has produced a podcast on the Five Ways to Wellbeing and have supported the development of our #Coping guides and social media campaign, #5Ways5DaysNHS Challenge.

It is possible to design projects that shift the power in relationships between young people and professionals and really allow young people’s voices to be heard.

Project reach

We helped to support...

77 young people
complete a Level 2 qualification accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health.
23 young people
complete the two day Youth Mental Health First Aid Qualification.

Top tips learnt from the project

  • Having clear objectives and achievable goals helps to make sure teams can plan and deliver the work.
  • Communicating the objectives, milestones and key dates early on in the project ensures everyone is on the same page throughout the project.
The links with national organisations such as YoungMinds and the Royal Society of Public Health have helped us to learn from national best practices and to support the continuous improvement of the programme.

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