South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to announce it is now hosting Altogether Better – a successful and ambitious approach to improving health outcomes regionally and nationally.
Started in 2008 with funding from the Big Lottery, Altogether Better was founded on the belief that ‘community health champions’ have the potential to make a significant impact on health inequalities. Now, building on four years’ experience, Altogether Better supports more than 17,000 community health champions to make a positive difference to the lives of their families, friends and communities.
Formerly hosted by the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority, Altogether Better is now hosted by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; a successful foundation trust that provides mental health, learning disability and community services across Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
Steven Michael, chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said, "Through our new partnership, our organisations are looking to strengthen links with local communities as Altogether Better’s principles are closely aligned with the Trust’s own vision and values. Our shared intention is to develop a partnership which will establish the best possible future for Altogether Better. Equally, the Trust will benefit from Altogether Better’s knowledge and experience of community integration; supporting our mission of enabling people to live life to the full."
Altogether Better already supports many projects and people in the region. David Walshaw is one of Barnsley’s Community Health Champions. He has encouraged more than 80 people to improve their health through Fit Reds, a sports-based scheme which draws on men’s passion for football to tackle major health issues including drug use, obesity, drinking and smoking.
"The idea with Fit Reds is to catch problems at an early stage. Although I am not clinically trained, as a Community Health Champion I have skills that allow people to see me as someone they can talk to. I try to make them feel that they are not alone, especially when talking about sensitive health problems like prostate cancer and mental health. A lot of lads ignore their problems and I try to get them to address and overcome them.
"Working with the health team has given me confidence to go out and show people what I can do and how I can support and help them. Fit Reds is a way of helping others and doing something for myself at the same time."
Alyson McGregor is the co-director of Altogether Better. She said, "Altogether Better is working to create new and meaningful relationships between patients and communities and health and social care organisations. Traditionally-funded services are only a small part of what people want and need; what people value is participation and relationships that sustain their sense of dignity and control. We want to design and deliver services that improve the quality of care, health and wellbeing: an ambition and passion we share with South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. We look forward to our new partnership with the Trust and the change we can create together with patients and communities."