The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norwich homeless champion healthy lifestyles

Young people resident in YMCA accommodation in Norwich are signing up to become Young Health Champions to positively impact their peers and pass on key health messages relating to the risks of obesity and smoking.

Young Health Champions will volunteer their time to learn more about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and will be supported by YMCA Norfolk staff to encourage other homeless young people to take up good habits such as increasing levels of exercise, choosing to eat more healthily and to quit smoking.
There will be opportunities for the champions to receive high quality training from partner agencies such as first aid training from the Red Cross, drug and alcohol awareness training from the Matthew Project and an opportunity to gain the RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health) level 2 qualification in Understanding Health Improvement. The champions will then also deliver interactive workshops for their peers and offer support in different settings such as informal drop-ins at the hostel, specialised support groups and 1-1 coffee meetings.
Catherine Watling, Health and Well-being Worker for YMCA Norfolk said: “The young people within YMCA services will really benefit from hearing advice provided by their peers/neighbours within YMCA Norfolk. They are more likely to listen to their peers and therefore go on to lead healthier lifestyles.”
To further support the Young Health Champions, who are also NEET (not in employment, education or training), the project will provide in-house training on personal skills such as time management, communication and presentation skills.
YMCA Norfolk always works holistically with young people and through this project will seek to build the confidence and self-esteem of those involved.
HealthyNorwichLogo150The project is made possible by funding from Healthy Norwich and runs until January 2016.
Healthy Norwich is the programme to help people in Norwich lead healthier lives and make the right choices about what to eat, how much to exercise and to quit smoking  and so prevent ill health now and later in life. It is run by NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group, Norwich City Council and Norfolk Public Health.
Tracy Williams, Queen’s Nurse and a member of the CCG Governing Body said: “We are excited to support this approach the YMCA are taking in training young health champions to deliver these very important key messages to other young people. 
“We know that the earlier you stop smoking, consume alcohol at safe levels and have more exercise, the greater positive impact it has on your future health and wellbeing.”
Healthy Norwich has issued a total of £84,597.66 in grant funding to 23 local projects over the coming year, including the YMCA project.
Pictured above are YMCA Norfolk residents on a project doing water sports and conservation at Whitlingham Broad near Norwich.

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