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#BeeWell Champions: Youth-led commissioning in Greater Manchester

Our #BeeWell Champions pilot programme in Greater Manchester is wrapping up after more than a year of delivery and fantastic work by our local partners and Young Health Champions. Ahead of the learning report from our evaluation partner Renaisi, we reflect on the importance of the project.  

What is #BeeWell Champions? 

The #BeeWell Champions pilot aimed to create an exciting, youth-led response to the #BeeWell survey results in Greater Manchester It sought to put the decision-making and money into the hands of young people, who could then use their training and lived experience to best understand what activities would most benefit their peers. 

The pilot has worked with more than 10 secondary schools and one youth group, with the young people involved also undertaking a Level 2 qualification as Young Health Champions. Once qualified, those young people became #BeeWell Champions in their schools, offering peer wellbeing support.  

Those #BeeWell Champions were then able to access a commissioning pot of £20k per neighbourhood (with almost £100k spent across Greater Manchester), which was be used to fund activities in their neighbourhoods to improve the wellbeing of their peers.  

Our delivery partner, Curious Minds, hosted training for #BeeWell Champions to look at the #BeeWell data for their neighbourhood, learn what commissioning was and how to do it, along with running marketplace events for #BeeWell Champions to meet some providers in their area that could be commissioned to run activities.  

 

How did #BeeWell Champions spend the commissioning pot? 

Recent publications from the #BeeWell research team show the strong connections between young people’s wellbeing and their participation in activities like arts, culture, entertainment and physical activity. Including ‘The impact PACE has on wellbeing’ and ‘#BeeWell Brief – Physical Activity’. 

Over the Summer term of 2023, #BeeWell Champions began to commission activities across five neighbourhoods of Greater Manchester, covering a range of options that young people could get involved in. They chose to commission organisations who then offered the following activities: 

  • Muay Thai  
  • Youth Ranger classes 
  • Film making 
  • Cooking sessions 
  • Arts and painting 
  • Beauty sessions 
  • Dance and tumbling 
  • Football  
  • Gardening and creating forest schools 
  • Circus arts and skills 
  • Boxing  
  • Video game composition  
  • Song writing 
  • Fishing 
  • Self-defence classes 

Many of the sessions also enabled parent/carers and siblings to get involved, with organisations celebrating the positive impact this had for all participants and for young people’s relationships. 

Take a look at some of the images from the variety of sessions below!  

Feedback on the sessions included… 

“The activity has massively helped x’s confidence about being out of the house, away from home, mingling with other people, everything so thank you so much.” – Parent/carer. 

“It was fun socialising and doing stuff to make a difference” – Young person. 

“For many of the young people this is where they’ve made friends… It’s been great for them to see that they’re not the only one who is facing these issues, they’re not alone.” – Teacher.  

“What I feel is a huge success is what I can only describe as these teenagers/adolescents giving themselves permission to play.” – Teacher. 

What’s next? 

Our evaluation partner, Renaisi, will soon be publishing their report on the learnings from the project. The report will focus on what the Greater Manchester system can learn about young people’s health interventions and commissioning, to inform future projects like this across Greater Manchester.  

 

Thank you to our funders at Greater Manchester Integrated Care and BBC Children in Need for their support on this project, and our delivery partners Curious Minds and all of the organisations commissioned by #BeeWell Champions to run these activities.  

To find out more about the project please get in touch with the Greater Manchester team: beewell@manchester.ac.uk.