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 established projects in the region. When the Health Means Business project offered to help staff at the Little People Day Nursery in Wakefield to improve their health, they jumped at the chance. "We wanted to do something as a team", said Heather Iveson, personal assistant at the nursery. "What better way to do that than to take part in healthy activities together?"
Heather has played a key role in establishing a healthier lifestyle at the nursery.
"Health Means Business offered to provide a fitness trainer to run an exercise class after work. We do circuit training, running in the car park – that kind of thing. We can all go at our own pace and it’s different every week. The camaraderie has been great; we all give each other support and help."
The new emphasis on fitness is having a positive knock-on effect outside the workplace too, with many employees taking up running or joining exercise classes.
Heather herself has joined the National Trust and now walks regularly with her family. Meanwhile, back at the nursery, members of staff are passing on the lessons they’ve learned. "You need good health when you’re looking after young children who have boundless energy. Hopefully, we’re setting them a good example too."
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."