The National Health Service turned 70 on 5th July 2018. It’s a much-loved service, but it’s over-stretched so Envision is empowering young people to help.

Behavioural change is fundamental to the prevention agenda to improve health outcomes against a backdrop of rationalisation and squeezed budgets. The major causes of premature death in the UK – cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and liver disease – are all linked to behavioural risk factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, lack of physical activity, poor diet and being overweight. These risk factors are responsible for 40% of disability adjusted life years (years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death) in the UK, yet for many people, they can be modified by a change in lifestyle. 

This is why we are working with public health bodies to challenge young people to develop peer-led behaviour change campaigns. Our new health themed Community-Apprentice programme, taking place in Birmingham, will focus on obesity and teenage mental health as these have been identified as priority local health issues.

Carol Herity, Head of Partnerships for the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Group, who will be on the panel for the Pitching Challenge, said “We are genuinely interested in understanding young people’s perspectives and seeing what ideas they come up with.”

Other health partners supporting the programme, such as The Institute for Mental Health and the Royal Society of Public Health, are providing advice on health aspects of the programme. A wide range of local marketing specialists also volunteered their expertise at the programme’s launch event. Together we want to give young people the best possible support to shape their ideas and turn them into reality.