A COMMUNITY course designed to help people lead happier and healthier lives has welcomed its 1,000th learner as members came together to celebrate their achievements.
Robert Middlemast is the 1,000th person to take part in NHS Sheffield’s Introduction to Community Development and Health course – which works to encourage residents to understand themselves and their environment better by supporting them to make improvements to their health and lifestyle.
It also aims to inspire them to take a fuller part in community activities for the benefit of their health and their neighbourhoods.
Robert, aged 47, from Tinsley, said the course had changed his life for the better.
“Throughout the course I have gained an amazing in-depth understanding of myself, community development work and issues relating to my health and wellbeing,” he said.
“I’ve met some great friends and have been inspired on many levels.
“The course has helped me continue not to smoke and I walk more and eat more healthily. I’m more aware of my social, emotional and spiritual health and have learnt to give these areas more attention.
“I feel the confidence to keep moving in a positive direction and see a future for myself in community development as it feels satisfying and you feel valued seeing the difference you are making.”
The programme has been running since 1997 and has welcomed 1,000 learners to more than 100 courses delivered in 22 areas of Sheffield, working in partnership with 40 community organisations.
The project has helped more than 300 people go on to find work and more than 300 have gone on to access further training.
Another 46 have gone on to become qualified trainers in the course, while 31 of the graduates have become Community Health Champions – working to spread the message of happy and healthier lives in their areas.
This year’s participants came together at City Hall for an awards ceremony recognising their achievements.
The event included speeches and presentations from several past and present participants, as well as certificate presentations performed by the Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley.
Elaine Goddard, community development and health programme manager at NHS Sheffield, said: “I have been coordinating this programme since 2001 and still never fail to be both amazed and humbled by the personal stories I hear from people going through this course – it really is life changing.
“To reach our 1,000th learner is a tremendous achievement and I look forward to celebrating our 2,000th learner in another 10 years.”