Bradford Council: creating an easy-to-understand self care campaign

Self Care Week has been running across Bradford and Craven for a number of years. Last year the council’s public health team and three clinical commissioning groups introduced a new campaign: the Make One Change Challenge. It inspired thousands to start taking action This forms part of our resource on self care.


The challenge

The Bradford District and Craven region has been an active participant in Self Care Week since 2012. The work is delivered through the Self Care and Prevention Programme, a joint partnership between Bradford Council’s public health team, the three local CCGs and voluntary sector.

Each year the area runs a series of events encouraging people to become active and engaged in their own health and wellbeing. This has included pop-up events in supermarkets, shopping centres, pharmacies, GP practices, community centres and high streets where sports and leisure services have run fitness demonstrations.

To encourage the public to take up physical activity the council has offered free gym and swim trial passes, while pharmacists and other partners have been run a variety of health related awareness sessions in schools and other community settings.

Mark Thornton, the council’s Health and Care Partnerships Project Manager, who takes a lead in organising Self Care Week, said: “Self Care Week has always been very popular and we work collaboratively with our partners to plan and deliver a comprehensive week of activities and events. “In 2017 we started thinking about how we could engage people further. We wanted to develop a campaign that would generate interest on social media and then be sustained throughout the year."

The solution

The Self Care and Prevention Programme came up with the Make One Change Challenge as an approach to encourage and support the public to make simple lifestyle changes.

Mr Thornton said: “People lead busy lives so we wanted a concept that was easy to take up. It is about like avoiding sugary drinks, walking briskly for 10 minutes a day, eating more fruit and veg or taking up a new activity.”

To help promote the campaign they developed a toolkit of branded material, both hard copies and online versions. These were distributed across the health and care sectors as well as voluntary sector partners.

Social media activity was also encouraged. Partners and members of the public were asked to take photos, post selfies and tweet their Make One Change Challenge with the hashtags #makeonechange and #selfcare4life

The impact

Around 30 Twitter accounts were regularly tweeting about the campaign, including the council, local NHS trusts and third sector partners, reaching many thousands of people. At events held in church halls, supermarkets, GP practices and leisure centres, more than 2,000 people pledged to make a change as part of the Make One Change Challenge.

Mr Thornton said: “They are just the pledges we know about and I’m sure many others will have taken up the challenge away from our organised events. It resulted in our most successful Self Care Week to date and it left a legacy too as many partners have continued promoting the initiative throughout the year.”

An example of this can be seen through the work of the voluntary sector organisation, New Horizons, which has included the Make One Change Challenge in the physical activity and healthy eating programmes they deliver out in the community.

Lessons learned

One of the most popular events last year was the launch event at Airedale Shopping Centre, Keighley, including a pop-up shop, which was visited by hundreds of people during Self Care Week.

Mr Thornton said: “One of the key lessons learned from the week was the power of offering people an incentive. We gave away free pedometers and it was a great way to engage people into having a conversation.

“People were encouraged to talk about how they could improve their health and wellbeing and the Make One Change Challenge gave them an opportunity to start making the changes they had identified.”

How is the approach being sustained?

The Make One Change Challenge was once again part of Self Care Week in 2018, but it was also promoted alongside another campaign, Living Well.

During the week the public was encouraged to complete a Living Well Planner by taking up the Make One Change Challenge and making a change every day to improve their health and wellbeing. By taking part in the challenge, it is hoped people will be encouraged encouraged to follow their Living Well Planner after Self Care Week for a healthier, happier life.

The health and care workforce is also being encouraged to promote self care. There are three levels of training currently being offered through the Self Care and Prevention Programme – a basic e-learning course, Making Every Contact Count training and Conversations for Change, which promote motivational interviewing-style approaches.

Mr Thornton said: “We want people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing but the health and care workforce require the knowledge, skills and confidence to empower the people they are working with. The training is helping to ensure that they are able to do that and build on what we have achieved across Bradford District and Craven so far.”

Contact details

Mark Thornton
Health and Care Partnerships Project Manager
Bradford Council, Public Health
m.thornton@bradford.gov.uk