Health & Well-being Facilitators from Connected Health were among the first group to secure an Open College Network qualification in Community Health Facilitation. 

In total 34 people from across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland border counties and Scotland received the NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Community Health Facilitation which provides them with an accredited pathway in their work of supporting health improvements within their communities. The objective of this qualification is to enable participants to acquire the knowledge and skills to help individuals within their communities to improve their own health and well-being.

The qualification was developed and delivered by the North West Regional College in response to a tender competition issued by the CAWT CoH-Sync Project which is a cross border, European Union INTERREG VA funded project facilitating people to improve their health and well-being in areas such as physical activity, mental health, nutrition, smoking, alcohol consumption and health literacy.

Over the last 12 months, course participants have gained knowledge to support them in their role as Community Health Facilitators including relevant legislation and policies and understanding factors which can affect health and well-being.

In the Southern Trust area, Connected Health staff members were the course participants as they are delivering the CoH-Sync Project in the Armagh and Dungannon areas.

Commenting on the course, participant, Sinead Donnelly from Connected Health said: “The NVQ course allowed us the opportunity to meet with the different CoH-Sync Hub groups and share first-hand experience of success stories as well as issues and ways to overcome them. The work load was manageable alongside our busy schedules and linked well with the work we were carrying out with the project. Overall I found the course worthwhile and a necessity whilst working on this project”

Presenting certificates to the successful participants Neil Gillan, Promoting Wellbeing Locality Manager at the Southern Health & Social Care Trust said: “I wish to congratulate all the those from Connected Health who have successfully undertaken this Community Health Facilitator course provided by the CAWT CoH-Sync Project. By achieving this qualification, participants are now better equipped to encourage and support people in local communities to take control of their own health by making sustainable small changes. I am particularly delighted that people from the Southern Trust area now have this valuable qualification and will be putting their new skills to practice for the benefit of local people and communities.” He added: “It is inspirational to see the enthusiasm for and dedication of the Community Health Facilitators to making a positive difference to the health and well-being of their communities. I wish to commend the Special EU Programmes Body for their EU funding support to this unique training initiative.”

Geraldine Lavery, Head of Department for Health and Sport at the North West Regional College said “I am delighted that the College has had the opportunity to develop and deliver a qualification that will support improved health and well-being and make such a difference to so many people within our communities.”

A key output target for the CoH-Sync Project is for the Community Health Facilitators to support a total of 10,000 people to develop a personalised Health & Well-being plan and help them to reach their health goals, using services in their community.