Wirral weight management programme in line for national award

A project to improve the health and wellbeing of local people in Wirral has been nominated for a prestigious national award.

Wirral Council has been shortlisted in the ‘Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative (including Social Care)’ category at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Service Awards 2023, for its Active Wirral Wellbeing Weight Management Project.

The project was set up to address high levels of obesity being observed in Wirral and set out to deliver a high-impact programme that supports residents to lose weight, become more active and improve their overall wellbeing.

The project worked with local Community Interest Company, One Wirral, to deliver six weeks of classroom-based nutrition advice along with the chance to take part in guided physical activity sessions, seven days a week and help with motivation, behaviour change, confidence, anxiety, peer support and 1:1 guidance.

Though obesity is a national issue, where Wirral does differ from many places is that it is a borough of stark health inequalities from one area to another. The health and wellbeing of local residents is a priority for Active Wirral and this is reflected in the project where most participants were from some of Wirral’s most deprived areas, with more than a quarter of those taking part living in the most economically deprived wards.

The Wellbeing Weight Management Programme delivered outcomes which in some cases were four times higher than the national average – and the results are showing that the project is having an impact where it is needed most.

In addition to weight management outcomes, the project has also produced long-lasting wellbeing benefits, with 84% reporting improvements on the SWEMWBS wellbeing scale, often by 20 out of a possible 35 points. SWEMWBS is the Short Warwick and Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale and measures mental and emotional wellbeing – or how “good” somebody feels – as well as how well somebody thinks they are functioning.

Cllr Janette Williamson, Chair of the Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said, “The variation in health outcomes – and ultimately life expectancy – between affluent and deprived areas in Wirral is shocking and something which we are committed to addressing as part of our Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the wider Wirral Plan.

“The link between obesity and deprivation is well documented and childhood obesity is higher in deprived areas of Wirral. That is why it is fantastic to see the results of this flagship programme. It shows we are providing the right support to people, in a way that is convenient and tailored to their needs.

“Clearly, the Wellbeing Weight Management Project is making great progress in supporting Wirral residents who need it and we are very proud that it is being recognised as an exemplar nationally.”

The APSE awards are extremely competitive, attracting more than 300 submissions from across the UK. Only the very best submissions are shortlisted in each category.

Winners will be announced as part of APSE’s annual seminar, on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th September.

Image: i yunmai

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