Postgraduate students on the Certificate in Health and Social Care Education course at the University of Brighton are helping members of their local community make positive life choices through advice on healthy eating and the benefits of exercise.
Participants, who took part in workshops, ‘shopped’ for healthy foods, were given information on understanding food labelling and took part in an alcohol awareness quiz. There were also some gentle exercise activities using the computer-based Wii programme.
The initiative, run by Helen Stanley, principal lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, is part of the ‘On our doorsteps’ project funded by CUPP. The project aims to bring together community partners and students through educational activities to improve health and wellbeing awareness within the local community of East Brighton. The longer-term aim is to reduce cycles of poverty and poor health.
The workshops were held at the Bridge community education centre where Helen has been a trustee since October last year. The Bridge has a ten-year history of supporting disadvantaged adults experiencing multiple barriers to participation in lifelong learning and work.
The workshops were part of a health day which included taster sessions in cooking, yoga, massage, reflexology, stress-busting techniques and advice from ‘look good and feel great’ image consultants.
Helen has been involved in staff-volunteering activities that meet a commitment made in the university’s social engagement strategy. This aims to bring representatives from the university into the community, help raise awareness of university life, raise aspirations of local residents by creating awareness of the opportunities and pathways of learning available in the local community, open lines of communication between health practitioners and community representatives and help the process of promoting integration.
Sofie Franzen who is project manager at The Bridge Centre said: "The partnership with the nursing students has been a rewarding experience, both for participants at The Bridge who enjoyed a very informative morning, and for the staff team who saw the nurse practitioners develop an in-depth understanding of community work. The nursing students effectively communicated key health messages to a diverse audience with a wide range of learning and health needs. The sessions were fun and interactive and gave everyone involved a valuable learning experience."