Vale of Glamorgan
Funding amount:

Project description:

Based on survey results, Newydd Housing Association, the Cardiff and Vale Local Public Health Team and Cardiff and Vale UHB Public Health Dieticians sought Creative Rural Communities funding to tackle the increasing issue of food poverty and obesity in the Vale. 

Their project plan aimed to take an innovative approach to working with families in the rural Vale to promote good food and nutrition; equip families with the nutritional knowledge and practical cooking skills; and introduce new physical wellbeing initiatives to improve their health and wellbeing.

The project proposal focused on two specific areas of the rural vale – Llantwit Major and St Athan, both of which have pockets of deprivation.

The project was piloted in 2 schools, a community centre and a leisure centre. Venues were chosen based on the communities they served and provided a means to identify what types of interventions were suitable.

We believed that by using existing community resources, there would be established relationships with stakeholders who would likely become participants in their familiar environment, and the communication models would already be in place to increase engagement. 

Long term, it was hoped that the pilot would identify any potential to create cohesive and more resilient communities, with participants providing the skills and expertise they had learned through the project within their local community through volunteering. The pilot would hopefully explore the potential for using local assets to create economic value, for example, working with the community to develop the church on the St Athan MOD site as a possible wellbeing centre, to include a community café.

Project objectives:

The pilot was viewed very much as an opportunity to gather information about the needs of local communities in the rural Vale around improving their health and wellbeing and therefore lessons learnt would be a key asset in planning and developing future activities to ensure their sustainability.

For example, it was hoped that local schools would see their role in and the value of delivering general health and wellbeing activities for their community, through participation in the SHEP and in developing their staff through completing the Nutrition Skills for Life™ accredited training.

Further, Newydd would continue to support the communities with wrap around services including digital inclusion, employability skills and access to additional training to become a volunteer if the programme was successful after the pilot phase, to enable the participants themselves to share their skills and knowledge within the community.

Part of the pilot programme aimed to introduce participants to local opportunities and activities such as food sharing networks, food cooperatives within the Vale and food banks for example. It was also planned that through delivering `Love Food Hate Waste’ awareness sessions, participants would become more aware of their food waste, and how they can being to combat this therefore also aiding sustainable development. 

The aims of the pilot were to:

  • develop an understanding of people’s attitudes towards health and wellbeing in a family and community setting
  • develop an understanding the types of interventions needed
  • determine what support is necessary to create behaviour change to improve healthy lifestyles
  • gain knowledge on how to deliver health and wellbeing projects within a rural setting with particular emphasis on the barriers and challenges faced by communities
  • learn from the engagement opportunities, understanding what didn’t work and why. Use the learning from this pilot to develop programmes in other areas
  • compare and contrast the model to more urban areas in which the programme could be delivered in the future as this has not previously been explored
  • Offer a wrap-around service if appropriate, incorporating digital inclusion, employability skills and access to additional training to become a volunteer to enable participants to share their skills and knowledge within the community 

Who are the project beneficiaries?

Local communities in Deprived Areas.

What was the result of the project?  

In addition to Newydd’s quantitate monitoring process, qualitative data was collected by the Wellbeing Planner in relation to the pilot. Participants were interviewed prior to any interventions about their feelings on their health and wellbeing in relation to the activities being offered, and again following the intervention to find out whether participants had been able to utilise the skills and knowledge they had learned, and whether it made a difference to their daily health and wellbeing.

Overall, according to the Wellbeing Planner, the feedback about people’s experience of the courses has been good and people have enjoyed them. They were also really passionate about the courses and were surprised that others hadn’t taken part, Many saw it as a chance to do things as a family, or one-to-one with their children or as a new group of people who eventually became friends. But, going forward, changes will be required including:

  1. Understand the ways that potential participants hear about what’s happening in their community and use those mechanisms to inform them of anything that is being planned
  2. Hold courses in venues people already use or have no challenges of time or travel to access.

Project partners met on a regular basis to look at the programmes both operationally and strategically creating dynamic evaluation i.e. making small changes to deliver when challenges were encountered, for example lack of participants.

We also monitored participants’ journeys with traditional ‘pre’ and ‘post’ intervention questionnaires to analyse the social value that had resulted from the pilot. Newydd utilised their HACT Value Insight tool to measure the social value impact of the interventions. 

Looking Forward:

Newydd will continue to offer a wrap-around service which includes not only health and wellbeing initiatives where there is a need but also digital inclusion, employability skills and access to additional training to become a volunteer to its’ tenants and the wider community in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

‘FareShare’ is a charity that fights hunger and food waste and redistributes surplus food to charities and community groups that then turn it into meals across the UK. ‘FareShare’ is about to be introduced in the Vale of Glamorgan, so Public Health Wales and Cardiff and Vale UHB hope to link in with this scheme to offer training opportunities to their volunteers which would hopefully benefit the rural Vale in the future. The scheme will link in with local supermarkets so we would recommend that groups such as St Athan Saints consider picking up surplus foods to distribute to local families in need. For more information on this scheme you can visit FareShare.

The Food Vale Steering Group will continue to implement their Charter which aims to ensure healthier communities in the Vale of Glamorgan by connecting with food. Their key priorities are:

  • A good meal for everyone everyday
  • Thriving independent food business which are supported and valued
  • Think global, eat local

The partners will continue to work together and share resourcesto improve the health and wellbeing of those living in the communities in the Vale of Glamorgan. 
We plan to share this report with the following:

  • Creative Rural Communities
  • Project Partners
  • Community Housing Cymru
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council
  • Food Vale
  • Bob Penrose – Councillor in the Vale of Glamorgan & Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture
  • Rachel Connor – Chief Executive of GVS

We also plan to make the report available upon request.