Newly qualified Community Health Facilitators celebrate success

In total 34 people from across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland border counties and Scotland were the first to secure an Open College Network (OCN) qualification in Community Health Facilitation. This NVQ Level 3 (equivalent to Level 5 in the Republic of Ireland and Level 6 in of the European Qualifications Framework) Certificate in Community Health Facilitation provides participants 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.

Pictured at the Graduation Ceremony for CoH-Sync Project Community Health Facilitators who received their Open College Network qualification in Community Health Facilitation from the North West Region College. Pictured are (Front row / l to r): Geraldine Lavery, Head of Department of Health and Sport, North West Regional College; Emmett Lynch, CAWT CoH-Sync Project Worker; Edel O’Doherty, Deputy Chief Officer, CAWT; Seamus Donnelly, Health and Social Care Lecturer, North West Regional College; Margaret McCrystal, Deputy Head of Department of Health and Sport. (Back row / l to r): Jessica Fields, CAWT CoH-Sync Project Administrator; Brigid McGinty, CAWT CoH-sync Project Manager; Janet Swinburne, CAWT CoH-Sync Project Worker; Roisin Wilson, Health and Social Care Lecturer, North West Regional College; Aoife Balfour, CAWT CoH-Sync Project Worker; Clare Gallagher, North West Regional College.

Pictured at the Graduation Ceremony for CoH-Sync Project Community Health Facilitators who received their Open College Network qualification in Community Health Facilitation from the North West Region College. Pictured are (Front row / l to r): Geraldine Lavery, Head of Department of Health and Sport, North West Regional College; Emmett Lynch, CAWT CoH-Sync Project Worker; Edel O’Doherty, Deputy Chief Officer, CAWT; Seamus Donnelly, Health and Social Care Lecturer, North West Regional College; Margaret McCrystal, Deputy Head of Department of Health and Sport.

In the Western Trust area, the participants included representatives from Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum, Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership, Strabane Health Improvement Project and Derg Valley Healthy Living Centre, Oak Healthy Living Centre, Arc Healthy Living Centre, Lakeland Community Care and Fermanagh Rural Community Network.

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

In the HSE area, the participants included representatives from Donegal Local Development Company, Monaghan Integrated Development Company and Breffini Integrated Development Company.

Some feedback from those who have availed of this training includes:

Commenting on her experience of the new course, participant, Brandy Micheletti from Monaghan Integrated Development Company said: “Graduating with accreditation in Community Health Facilitation is important to me because it assures the clients that I am knowledgeable about the subject of health and mental well-being and that I am committed to my community and want to empower them to make changes that will improve their lives.”

Commenting on the benefits of the new course, participant, Catherine Weitbrecht from Donegal Local Development Company said: “The Community Health Facilitation course prepares people to create healthier communities, it gives participants confidence in motivating communities to become healthier, fitter and happier and makes a positive impact on community health.”

One of the course participants from the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum, Sarah Harkin said: “From completing the OCN Level 3 Health Facilitator Course, I feel I have gained more professional and personal skills. This new skill set allows me to approach my work with a new found confidence.”

Frances Spence from Lakeland Community Care was delighted to receive her qualification and said: “I have enjoyed my experience of undertaking this course learning from the tutor and also sharing knowledge and experiences with other Community Health Facilitators.  I look forward to using all these skills in my role as a Community Health Facilitator.”

The CoH-Sync Project Board congratulated all course graduates: “We wish to congratulate all the those 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. 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. We 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.

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

  • Using EU INTERREG VA monies secured by the CAWT Partnership, the CoH Sync Project has developed a network of 8 Locality Health & Well-being Hubs (see list of Hubs below)
  • The CAWT Community Health Sync (CoH-Sync) Project has received grant funding totalling €5.01 million and is funded through the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, and match funded by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government with support from the Scottish Government
  • The CoH-Sync project partners are the HSE, Western Health and Social Care Trust; Southern Health and Social Care Trust; Public Health Agency, Health and Social Care Board and NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
  • The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes, PEACE IV and INTERREG VA which are designed to enhance cross-border cooperation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.
  • The INTERREG VA Programme has a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contribution of €240 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders.
  • For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu

CAWT Community Health Sync (CoH Sync) project – Locality Health and Wellbeing Hubs location and providers

Health and well-being Hub Location Provider
1. Letterkenny/North Donegal, Rep of Ireland Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC)
2. Ballyshannon/South Donegal, Rep of Ireland Donegal Local Development Company
3. Co. Cavan/Co. Monaghan, Rep of Ireland Monaghan Integrated Development and Breffini Integrated Development (in partnership with DLDC)
4. Londonderry –  Derry / Strabane, Northern Ireland Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum
5. Enniskillen/West Fermanagh, Northern Ireland Arc Healthy Living Centre
6. Armagh/Dungannon, Northern Ireland Connected Health
7. Dumfries, Scotland NHS Dumfries and Galloway in partnership with third sector
8. Stranraer, Scotland NHS Dumfries and Galloway in partnership with third sector
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