Health & Wellbeing Coordinator
I can honestly say that coordinating and delivering the Healthy Families programme to local families has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my career. I’ve already learnt so much and continue to learn more all the time!
I think HENRY is unique in its ability to empower parents to recognise their strengths and work collectively as a family unit towards the common goal of a healthier lifestyle for all in a way that works for them.
As a family support worker in a deprived area of Birmingham, I know only too well the sorts of health and wellbeing issues local families are dealing with - as well as a whole range of other associated day-to-day challenges - and I know that HENRY will help them to overcome those issues.
The Healthy Families programme provides a valuable platform of support to families with a wide range of parenting and other challenges. I have seen firsthand the active interest with which parents and families engage with the programme, gradually gaining confidence over the course of 8 weeks, to share ideas and make small and then big changes with very significant impacts.
HENRY has undoubtedly been a huge success here! Recruiting parents for the programme can be a challenge – not everyone feels ready to make changes in their lives, and people can have misconceptions about what the programme will be like. But the approach encouraged by HENRY is both welcoming and friendly, with many parents telling me they find it non-judgmental. Over time, it was exactly these qualities of HENRY that attracted many parents from all over the area to join the programme - they heard from other families how good it is! I’m fortunate enough to be able to speak 5 different languages (English, Urdu, Punjabi, Mirpuri, and Hindco), engaging parents from a range of backgrounds to join the programme to help get the best possible start in life for their little ones.
Parents have often proudly fed back their experiences of introducing reward systems at home, sitting and eating together without the television, engaging more often in family activities and making regular visits to the dentist, to name a few. I am enthused by the camaraderie amongst parents who attend the programme and their genuine compassion and encouragement for fellow parents. Often, parents tell me of their disappointment when the HENRY programme comes to an end.
One parent recently said: “I will be using the HENRY toolkit on a daily basis and I will be leading a healthy lifestyle for whole of my family.”
The local Children’s Centre greatly values what the HENRY programme offers and together with the creche workers, we strive to create a safe, happy and friendly environment for all involved and in attendance.
Over time I have understood that effective delivery of HENRY goes hand-in-hand with compassion and empathy for the issues our families are facing. I have learnt to understand needs at both a parent and family level, before applying solution-focused and strength-based approaches to supporting families to make changes.
The facilitator handbook and Healthy Families book for parents have been brilliant in giving me both the confidence and practical ideas to help some of our more vulnerable families.
Another parent said: “HENRY taught me the skills that helped me and my children towards a new fresh future full of energy and confidence”.
Supporting parents to provide a healthy start in life for their children
“HENRY taught me the skills that helped me and my children towards a new fresh future full of energy and confidence”
Parent at Farida's children centre
Real stories from HENRY families