NHS Blackpool Community Health Services are playing Netball
NHS Blackpool Community Health Services is responsible for the delivery of healthcare services in community settings across the town and some other areas of the Fylde Coast. The organisation provides services that promote good health for the people of Blackpool and reduce inequalities through prevention and early intervention.
The NHS Challenge scheme aims to improve the health and well-being of its staff as well making a tangible contribution towards the legacy for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
This was the starting point for NHS Blackpool Community Health Services, which focuses on providing accessible sports for all physical abilities and ages. The aim is to encourage people to attend on a regular basis and develop friendships built on respect, through sport, for staff working in other areas of the NHS in Blackpool.
What they did and why
Over a coffee, the idea of establishing a netball team was discussed by staff within NHS Blackpool Community Health Services. People wanted to get fit and participate in team based sport but lacked the confidence to join an established club. Then, by coincidence, an email arrived asking everyone to rise to the 2012 challenge for the Olympics and encourage staff to become involved in sport.
This was the catalyst and, as a result, a netball league was organised by staff who had not engaged in physical activity for a while.
Due to the success of the netball league, a football tournament followed that led to a weekly football league.
There is also a 'sinners and slimmers' club, which provides a support environment for staff to lose weight. There are calibrated scales which are available to use privately to track weight loss and BMI reduction before the meeting, and then people share their success or failure with the group.
Achievements to date
NHS Blackpool Community Health Services have been actively involved in the 2012 challenge since September 2010 and so far have achieved:
- an established netball league
- organised a free football tournament
- established a football league
- established a weekly sinners and slimmer’s club (weight loss club)
How they did it
NHS Blackpool Community Health Services try to ensure that their new initiatives are decided by staff engagement in determining the type of activities on offer. Past and future projects are at the request of the staff in order to ensure that what is being offered is what people want to participate in. Ongoing monitoring of the initiatives is undertaken to ensure that they change and adapt to the needs of participants.
Suggestions are requested via the internal newsletter ‘Inform’ on what further activities staff would like to see established.
In order to include the wider community and ensure that the initiative is sustainable, they have joined forces with the local council and have links with the other local NHS trusts. This has enabled them to build joint NHS and Council leagues, which has promoted working across boundaries.
The senior management team are fully engaged and supportive of the initiative and the director of community health services runs the slimmer’s club. Progress is discussed at the provider executive team meeting monthly and at the PCT health and well-being group.
Public health within the PCT commissioning arm have also been supportive by providing funding to buy equipment to get started and to pay the qualified umpires. Managers have been supportive in allowing development of the approach to the 2012 Challenge during work time.
Results and next steps
NHS Blackpool Community Health Services currently employs around 640 members of staff and have approximately 251 people who have taken part in all the activities. The numbers participating equate to 39 per cent. Staff believe that this has helped to create a community spirit across Blackpool NHS organisations and the council.
A survey of staff provided the following results:
'When I first attended the sessions, I felt supported by the organisers'
52% totally agreed