Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Cwm Taf Public Health Team’s work to support self-help community weight management groups has recently been recognised as ‘Promising Practice’ through the Public Health Good Practice Scheme.
The Public Health Wales Good Practice Scheme is in its second year and was established by the public health networks to provide a systematic approach to identifying, supporting and sharing good practice in health promotion practice.
Cwm Taf Public Health Team has established a number of self-help community weight management groups across both Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil following the expressed needs of communities for a low cost local alternative to commercial slimming groups. Led by community workers and volunteers, local groups provide members with an opportunity to learn about nutrition, participate in physical activity, and practice new recipes in a supportive environment. They aim to support group members to identify and make realistic lifestyle changes and manage their weight.
Work undertaken by the team to support leaders of local groups has aimed to develop a co-ordinated approach to delivery across Cwm Taf. This has been achieved through providing group leaders with support, training and guidance, and equipping them with the knowledge, resources and skills necessary to enable them to confidently and effectively lead weight management groups in their community.
In conjunction with group leaders, a local community weight management resource and support pack was developed outlining best practice guidelines for weight management groups as well as a range of activity ideas and sample monitoring and evaluation tools to support delivery. Group leaders have also been offered a package of training including an introductory workshop, behaviour change training and a practical cookery workshop which has been welcomed by community workers and volunteers.
One of the groups supported by Cwm Taf Public Health Team is Rhydyfelin Community Weight Management Group, who launched in May 2012 following their participation in the project and has met every week since.
Since its launch, the collective weight of the members of Rhydyfelin Community Weight Management group has seen a downward trend and consistent behaviour changes such as drinking more water, eating breakfast, reducing fizzy drinks and achieving a better balance between home cooked and ready prepared meals have been made.
Bill Turner, Community Development Officer for Haford Housing who supports the group described the initial three days training; “The training was invaluable as it brought several new groups and volunteers together, making them feel part of a bigger project and enabling everyone to share ideas and gain from others experiences. The resource pack provides all that is necessary to set up a new group, develop a range of themed sessions and quite uniquely, a framework to evaluate.”
Commenting on the team’s award, Malcolm Ward, Principal Public Health Promotion Specialist said, “It has been recognised that this project has excelled in both its planning and delivery stages.
“The project is still in its development and therefore has not been able to complete the range of requirements necessary to achieve the full national good practice award but we were very impressed and look forward to seeing the project develop further.”
For more information about the project please contact Rebecca Stewart or Julie McDonald from Cwm Taf Public Health Team on 01443 744900.
Source: Public Health Wales