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The role of health trainer was first outlined in the 2004 White paper Choosing Health. Since their inception they have generated a great deal of interest from commissioners, provider services and the public. From the start they were intended to offer support from next door rather than advice from on high and their aim was to:

  • Target ‘hard to reach’ and disadvantaged groups
  • Increase healthy behaviour and uptake of preventative service
  • Provide opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain skills and employment
  • Reduce health inequalities

The Health Trainer workforce in England developed from 2005 (when the Choosing Health implementation plan was published) through a unique collaboration between the national team at the Department of Health (which operated until 2010/11), regional teams and local services.

An enormous amount has been learnt about how to recruit, train and support a lay workforce to engage people from some of the country’s poorest communities and support them to make the changes in their lifestyle that they want to make. This website was set up following the demise of the national and then regional teams, in order to preserve the legacy of work that had been done on developing the health trainer workforce. On the site you will find information about how to commission and manage Health Trainer Services, evidence about their effectiveness and value for money, and information about becoming a health trainer plus some archive material.

The site no longer contains information about individual health trainer services as it has proved impossible to update this. If you want to find out whether there is a service in your district then we suggest that you try searching via the internet and/or approach the public health directorate within your local authority.

This site has developed by the Centre for Health Promotion at Leeds Beckett University in order to ensure that the knowledge gained across the country about health trainers is retained and available to inform future practice following the demise of national and regional Health Trainer teams. If you have information about health trainers which you would like uploaded onto the site, please contact us.

On these pages you can find out more about what Health Trainers do, how they are trained, the settings they work in, how they engage with communities and a bit about their history.

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