Empowering better community health
Ravenswood Healthy Shed program empowers better health outcomes
*funded by the Healthy Tasmania Community Innovations Grants through the Tasmanian Government
23 September 2018
The Examiner Newspaper
When the Ravenswood Mens Shed was formed in June last year, the door was opened for a program aimed at improving health outcomes in the community.
That call was answered in May, with the launch of the Healthy Shed program.
An initiative of Starting Point Neighbourhood House, in partnership with Healthy Tasmania, over 14 weeks 42 shed members engaged in tailored sessions aimed at encouraging a healthier lifestyle.
Key objectives of the program included improving eating habits, decreasing smoking, drugs and alcohol use, increasing participation in physical activity, improving health literacy skills, education on mental health conditions and improving self-esteem in participants.
Healthy Tasmania project coordinator Hayden Fox said the holistic approach to health went beyond just the physical.
“This program was a real joy to deliver and it was great to see so many smiling faces at the end of it,” he said.
“The sessions were each based on the needs of the community, from conversations with Starting Point Neighbourhood House.
“We were able to work with them to understand what would be the most valuable approach and I think some of the results really speak for themselves.”
The program was conducted between May 1 and July 31, with more than a third of participants coming from low socioeconomic areas.
In a survey conducted after the program, 100 per cent of respondents agreed Healthy Shed encouraged participation in community based healthy lifestyle activity programs and taught more about services available in the community.
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Anthony Whiting, Casper Staak and Healthy Tasmania project coordinator Hayden Fox, at Ravenswood mens shed.
Participants also felt more confident in managing their own health, with 79 per cent agreeing their levels of feeling worried decreased, while 82 per cent felt less depressed.
Mr Fox said one of the biggest benefits of the program was the partnerships developed, with many participants feeling more comfortable opening up about their health concerns.
“We found that even if someone only came along to one sessions, they were still making connections at taking that home with them,” he said.
“Those partnerships are really important and it also means people are more likely to continue with these practices into the future.
“Going into the program, one area of concern that had been identified was health literacy, so that was something we deliberately focused on.
“Making sure someone feels comfortable asking questions and knowing what to ask and when to ask it. Something small like that can go on to have a big impact.”
The Healthy Shed program was made possible by the state government’s Healthy Tasmania Community Innovation grants.
Starting Point Neighbourhood House manager Nettie Burr said the program answered the call of community members who were eager to access health information.
“It has been so positive and really I think it established a starting point for a lot of people in Ravenswood, who want to achieve better health outcomes,” she said.
“This program was based on feedback from the community and most of that was people wanting to do something, but not knowing where to go or who to ask.
“Also for people to know that is OK to ask, and being empowered to make those decisions.
“The partnerships formed through this has really established a solid foundation for us, now going forward.”
Applications for the Tasmanian Government’s Healthy Tasmania Community Innovations Grants are open until November 2. More information can be found at here.
This article first appeared in The Examiner newspaper here