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Educate staff

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Barnsley MBC targeted health promotion messages at three specific groups of its front-line workers, making sure all had access to support and advice.

A pilot scheme run at different sites included Wellbeing Weeks, with special events to encourage healthy lifestyles. The result was that more than 400 people had individual health checks.

At the council’s Smithies depot, a workforce of largely male manual workers were offered a smoking cessation service, drug and alcohol advice and adult learning advice.

One employee went from smoking 60 cigarettes a day to nicotine replacement therapy, while many others said they were opting for healthy food during meal breaks.

At the council offices, administrative staff were offered healthy food and drink taster sessions, fitness classes and relaxation sessions, while home carers received training on falls, diabetes, and sensory impairment.

Small changes

Dr Paul Redgrave , director of public health, says: “The success of the Workplace Well being programme is very much down to starting from where people are at and helping them make small changes.

“We ensured the correct activities were offered at times convenient to the workforce, even if this meant being at the depot for 6am.”

A key lesson was learnt from problems on one site. Homecare staff were the last group of workers to be brought into the programme with a very short timescale.

This created problems getting ‘ownership’ from the managers, while project co-ordinators did not have the time to tailor the approach to that workforce. As a result, attendance at the health checks was poor.

Earlier engagement

This experience has been noted programme organisers now realise that they need earlier engagement, a clear project timeline and good communication, all combined with a detailed understanding of the target workforce.

Dr Redgrave says that success at the other sites also meant demand far outstripped what was available.

“We are working with staff and stakeholders on making it bigger and better for next time.”

Find out more:

Barnsley MBC Jodie Harris, national management trainee attached to public health.
Tel: 01226 773 175 or email:

See also within Best Practice

Make food services healthy

Reach the community

Tackling men's health

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