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Verve Healthy Living Network celebrates 10 years of supporting their community

22nd February 2024

A ten year partnership between the Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Community and Voluntary organisations has improved the health and wellbeing of thousands of people.

The Verve Healthy Living Network was founded as part of the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Health Programme in 2012 (funded by the Department for Communities) to address health inequalities prevalent within this area through community capacity building and delivery of healthy lifestyle programmes.

Over the past decade, the Trust has responded to these health and wellbeing needs through a true partnership approach with local organisations by supporting, training and equipping individuals, groups and communities to reach their health goals and play an active part in community life.

In a recent evaluation report highlighting the outputs and outcomes of the project over the three year period 2019-2022, it was reported that over 3,000 people benefitted from the health and wellbeing programme delivery. In this period, 173 individuals worked with a Community Health Trainer to develop a personal health plan resulting in improved lifestyle choices and connections into local activities.

The organisations involved operate as a network of Healthy Living Centres based in the Craigavon Neighbourhood Renewal Areas of Brownlow, Lurgan, and North West Portadown.

At a recent special celebration event marking the 10 year partnership anniversary, those in attendance heard all about the vibrant programmes of health and social wellbeing programmes and supports that have been delivered across the local area.

Lisa McAliskey, Promoting Wellbeing Manager with the Trust in the Craigavon and Banbridge Locality Team said:

“We were delighted to be able to host this wonderful event to look back at what has been achieved over the past 10 years and the positive impact that it has made in the local community.

“We have grown and developed our programme over this time period, which has enabled us to offer essential and valuable opportunities to local people to connect, learn new things and ultimately improve their wellbeing.”

Those attending the event heard that the Verve Community Health Trainer Programme continues to go from strength to strength.

“We currently work with 10 organisations within the community where Health Trainers can base their programmes. Health Trainers are people who are recruited from the community to provide motivational support to others by providing personalised one to one support and encouragement to identify manageable goals to help make sustainable lifestyle changes.

“We regularly receive positive feedback about how the programme has helped people to set realistic goals identifying when their behaviour is unhealthy, resulting in them feeling more in control as a result of the support provided.”

Based on the recommendations from the project outputs and outcomes reports the Promoting Wellbeing Division has successfully secured funding from NHS Charities to expand and develop the Verve model into other areas across the Southern Trust over the next two years.

Gerard Rocks, Assistant Director of Promoting Wellbeing, said:

“The Verve Healthy Living Network has created a strong local partnership of community organisations who work collaboratively, drawing on each other’s strengths and it has been great to see the wonderful work that has delivered and is still being carried out.

“We are very grateful to everyone involved in the fantastic work that happens across the Verve Healthy Living Network.

“We look forward to further developing the model across the Trust and most importantly working with others to improve health outcomes for local people.”