Health and Wellbeing Education

Building a model of health engagement and improve health education outcomes for vulnerable families.

hand holding mobile phone on street

The challenge

Lower health literacy leads to a range of health challenges and worse outcomes.

‘Health literacy’ refers to people having the appropriate skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to access, understand, evaluate, use and navigate health and social care information and services. In England, 42% of working-age adults are unable to understand and make use of everyday health information, rising to 61% when numeracy skills are also required for comprehension.

In areas of deprivation, levels of health literacy are lower which is linked to an increased risk of morbidity and premature death. People with limited health literacy are more likely to use emergency services, more likely to miss booked appointments and are less likely to successfully manage long-term health conditions


Staff support, and the Healthy Gems Hub

We need to adapt services to promote engagement of communities who are from areas of deprivation.

To support this we deliver our Healthy Gems Health Literacy Programme. We teach those working with parents/carers of under 5’s (e.g. children’s centres, nursery staff) and parents/carers themselves directly to not only promote wellbeing but support their child when unwell, but to also ensure they have the confidence to do this.  In addition, we develop understanding of the different services and support available on offer.

It doesn’t stop there, as we feel it is our responsibility to engage the perceived ‘non-engagers’ and break down barriers to access. Our Healthy Gems Hub is based on the Baby Bank model - providing essential supplies (e.g. nappies, vitamins, hygiene products) to new parents but with the added benefit of wrap around health support. More information and a referral form can be found here.

Little boy playing in a classroom
Health literacy 3


Health professionals have the potential to transform their communities.

We see a significant increase in confidence levels of parents (evidence/expand why this is important). Additionally, following a targeted programme with Rochdale A&E services we saw a reduction in inappropriate service use (A&E, GP) by empowering parents to utilise alternative services, such as pharmacist and 111.

Our families utilising our health literacy programme and holistic support through The Hub found during a time of increased pressure prevented them reaching a point of crisis. As our Hub is a new service, an evaluation will be conducted in Spring of 2022.


“If my girl is poorly I felt like a couldn’t manage it myself, if I did something wrong I’d be a bad parent, but then I’d go to the doctors and feel like a bad parent for wasting their time. With the sessions I can better know what I can do at home, now what a pharmacist can do and if I need the doctor I’m happier knowing I’ve thought about it more”

~Healthy Gems course attendee