Trained Youth Health Champions to run health and wellbeing campaigns educating peers and cascading important and current health messages
The sharing of information is more relatable using a peer to peer platform
The Youth Health Champion project compliments schools RSHEE programme and contributes to the Healthy Schools criteria
The Youth Health Champions provide a link between the school and local health agencies forming signposting and joint campaign delivery
The Youth Health Champions have access to a sharing platform with other schools and public health teams which promotes current local and national health and wellbeing campaigns
Increases confidence in healthy behaviours, social norming and positive role models within the school community
Knowledge of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, with particular reference to aspirations and the role and importance of health for our futures
Increased confidence in healthy behaviours, social norming and positive role models
Raise awareness and understanding of health inequalities and how the Youth Health Champion role can help close the gaps and educate peers
Develop confidence and resilience through campaign delivery and the YHC responsibilities
Increased awareness of the risks and current negative trends impacting our young people allowing preventative work/campaigns to be carried out by the Youth Health Champions i.e. vaping, gambling, mental health awareness
Ongoing delivery of health campaigns and “drop in” services from peer educators
The training offers 2 qualifications – Royal Society of Public Health Understanding Health Improvement Level 1 and the Youth Health Champion Level 2 Award (GCSE Equivalent)
Youth Health Champions are not expected to give direct health advice, offer counselling or give one-to-one support.
Instead, they act as 'sign-posters' or links between students and other health professionals and services.
Using various sources of information, including their own experiences, they develop campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness weeks, No Smoking Days, Gambling Awareness lessons and more.
Youth Health Champions are also involved with school committees and councils or pupil voice and steering groups. Some of our existing YHC’s have been invited to join Youth Parliament.
They can support the delivery of RSHEE lessons and organise events during breaks and lunchtimes.
School support for the team requires a YHC School coordinator who, after initial training, will be required for around an hour a week.
The YHC reach is not only confined to school as experience has shown that each YHC has connected with more than 100 people to promote healthy behaviour change.
Champions can share positive health messages with friends and family, helping to improve lifestyle behaviours, break down cultural barriers and tackle myth-busting.
This training is ideally carried out over a two-day out-of-school course, but also been adapted for online delivery.
A team of eight young people from age 14 are recruited by the school and trained for the role using the accredited Royal Society for Public Health Level 2 Certificate for Young Health Champions syllabus.
Students who pass a multiple choice exam gain the RSPH Level 1 Award in Health Improvement. They can then go on to gain the full Level 2 qualification – RSPH | RSPH Level 2 Award for Young Health Champions
They can then offer support to their peers by providing confidential signposting to specialist health professionals. They raise awareness of health issues through the delivery of health promotion campaigns and by acting as healthy role models.
Youth Health Champions carry out the role for one academic year and then assist with the recruitment of the next cohort, sometimes also choosing to continue supporting the development and delivery of campaigns in their school.
It is suggested that a pilot group of 4 schools in the first year paves the way for more schools to join in subsequent years, allows for comprehensive evaluation and is a cost effective way to begin a programme for a local authority.
The training programme has been developed by Health Talks and rigorously evaluated to ensure proper preparation of students and school coordinators for the role they will be carrying out.
Additional training and resources are provided through access to a KHub forum where schools can share information, resources and best practice.
The two-day programme for the four pilot schools- up to 32 students per cohort.
This is the role training for students. Up to 8 students will be recruited from each school and will be accompanied to the training by their School Coordinator. The course will consist of:
RSPH Level 2 Certificate for Youth Health Champions, units 1-3 (syllabus only)
Youth Health Champion role and responsibilities
Communication and presentation skills
Campaign planning and mock delivery to build confidence and practise skills
Research local health services and review the accessibility of young people’s services
Following the training, students need to complete a portfolio of workbooks for assessment. School Coordinators are given the guidance to support students with this task and are also given other optional resources for campaign ideas.
All programmes provided by Health Talks are evaluated, with the provision of a training report and (subject to commissioning) a final yearly report and recommendations for the ongoing development of the programme.
The full evaluation logic model will be developed and agreed with the Commissioner prior to implementation.