Youth Health Champions

We know young people, particularly adolescents, receive much of their advice on health and wellbeing from peers, and a survey conducted in the last academic year showed Waltham Forest pupils think peer education programmes are a good idea.

In Waltham Forest we are piloting the Youth Health Champions programme across nine Secondary schools:

  • Buxton School
  • Connaught School for Girls
  • Frederick Bremer School
  • Holy Family Catholic School & Sixth Form
  • Kelmscott School
  • Leyton 6th Form College
  • Norlington School for Boys
  • Walthamstow School for Girls
  • Willowfield Humanities College

Find out more about the Youth Health Champions programme below or if you are interested in taking part in future programmes please contact Catherine Hutchinson.

Email catherine.hutchinson@walthamforest.gov.uk.

National Youth Health Champions programme

What is a Youth Health Champion?

It is important to be clear about the main responsibilities of a Youth Health Champion, and also to recognise the boundaries. A Youth Health Champion is not expected to give direct health advice, nor offer counselling or one to one support. They are, however, required to acts as "signposters" or "links" between students and other health professionals and services.

As a team, the Youth Health Champions plan and deliver health promotion campaigns to their peers. The topics for the campaigns can be drawn from a number of sources, including: Data from the Schools Health Improvement Survey, Public Health priority areas (either locally or nationally), School priority areas , Youth Health Champions' own experience , National Campaigns such as Fruity Friday, Meat Free Mondays and Change 4 Life etc.

Youth Health Champions can also be involved with school committees, school councils, pupil voice and steering groups. They can support the delivery of PSHE lessons, and organise health focus events during break and lunchtimes

90% of Waltham Forest Secondary pupils surveyed responded 'yes' to the question 'Do you think it's a good idea to train students in your year group to become young health advisors so that they can give other students advice about staying healthy?

How it works

Young people from age 14 undertake an RSPH Level 2 Certificate for Youth Health Champions, which is equivalent to a GCSE (13 QCF credits).

It consists of four modules delivered over two days; the first gives a basic understanding of the key determinants of health, followed by a research task about the health services in their own community, practice at delivering health messages to their peers, and one specialist module to deepen their understanding of a specific aspect of health.

The young people then offer support to their peers by providing confidential signposting to specialist health professionals, by raising awareness of health issues through the delivery of health promotion campaigns and by acting as healthy role models in their communities.

Campaign topics might include:

  • Mental Health 5 a Day
  • Physical activity taster sessions
  • Breakfast surveys and taster days
  • YHC anti bullying
  • Smoking Pledges
  • Beat exam stress
  • 5 a Day - are you getting it?
  • C-card/sexual health
  • Headaches and Hydration

For more information about upcoming training, please contact Catherine Hutchinson.

Email: catherine.hutchinson@walthamforest.gov.uk

Benefits to Schools and Pupils

There are a range of benefits to both the student Youth health Champions themselves, the pupils themselves and the schools that take part. 

Benefits to the Schools and colleges

  • Raises awareness of the issues affecting health and wellbeing
  • Supports the messages of an effective PSHE/SMSC programme
  • Improves the health of the young people involved
  • Increases health literacy
  • Links with the Healthy Schools programmes
  • Reinforces current health messages in schools- such as energy drinks' bans and bullying policies
  • Supports Ofsted inspection of SMSC

Benefits to the Young People

  • Increased awareness of the risks associated with negative behaviours
  • Knowledge of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, with particular reference to aspirations and the role and important of health for our futures
  • A link between the school and external health improvement agencies and services in the community
  • Increase confidence in healthy behaviours, social norming and positive role models
  • CV development (for the students involved)
    Last update: Thursday 15th of August 2019 11:50:08 AM