Youth Health Champions

5th June 2022

34 young people from across West Cumbria have successfully gained a Level 2 qualification to become Young Health Champions.

Delivered by Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) in partnership with Cumbria Addictions, Advice and Solutions (CADAS), the guided-learning has given young people aged 14-18 the skills, knowledge and confidence to become peer mentors, increase their awareness of healthy lifestyles and encourage involvement in activities that promote good health.

The accredited Royal Society for Public Heath Young Health Champions programme was delivered in West Lakes Academy and Netherhall School thanks to £4,824 from the #CanDo Fund and Beeby Fund.

Three cohorts of young people took part in eight weekly two-hour sessions facilitated by CADAS at school to complete the required modules to achieve the accreditation. As part of the course, they were also required to give a presentation to their peers on a health matter.

Jen Marrs, Young People Worker at CADAS, said: “The programme has made a difference to the young people’s learning, making their own informed lifestyle choices and gaining the confidence in presenting their own health campaign message to their peers. 10 Year 9 students from West Lakes Academy decided to create their own presentation around alcohol awareness to Year 7 students. They created their own narrative and kept it interactive with a quiz along with the beer goggle activity. Of the 10 students, 6 became qualified Young Health Champions.”

“28 students from Netherall School in Years 10 to 13 all gained their Level 2 qualification. They attended an event at Ewanrigg Community Centre during Alcohol Awareness Week to promote their health message.”

These health champions, not only see an improvement to their own health and wellbeing, they help to strengthen and share public health messaging, they play a key role as young social prescribers – providing sign posting and links to other young people – and as peer mentors, helping others to understand and improve their own health and wellbeing.

Feedback from some of the young people:

“I now understand how alcohol can affect you.”

“I have learned all about units and effects on the body.”

“This has helped me for the future.”

Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPS) bring together and support local partnerships of councils, police, retailers, schools, health providers and community groups across the UK to reduce alcohol harm among young people, improve their health and wellbeing and enhance their communities. In Cumbria, there are Community Alcohol Partnerships in Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland and Barrow.

Across the country, more than 200 Community Alcohol Partnerships have had outstanding impacts on local crime, anti-social behaviour, litter, feelings of safety and reductions in underage purchasing of alcohol.