The health trainer service was introduced in 2004 and is now an integral part of the wider public health workforce. Since their introduction almost 3,000 health trainers have supported more than half a million people to make positive lifestyle changes in areas such as smoking, physical activity, alcohol, diet and emotional issues.
Drawn from within local communities, health trainers provide their clients with ‘support from next door’ rather than ‘advice from on high’. Through the use of brief advice, goal setting and the organisation of groups and events, health trainers, supported by health trainer champions and other volunteers, seek to empower individuals to make positive lifestyle changes and embed healthy choices within communities.

Reports with the Data Collection and Reporting System (DCRS)

DCRS provides a strong evidence base demonstrating the success of the service in targeting ‘hard to reach’ groups, supporting behaviour change and improving the mental wellbeing of clients, we have been commissioned to produce a series of six DCRS reports.

Minded to change: the link between mental wellbeing and healthier lifestyles, November 2015

This report builds on previous findings by seeking to understand the types of mental health issues faced by clients of the health trainer service, the impact of lower mental wellbeing on their success and the challenges faced.It finds people with complex mental health problems are being inappropriately referred to health trainers as a default last option by other services – partly due to a lack of adequate alternative mental health provision in their local areas.

Indicators of change: The adaption of the health trainer service in England, February 2014

Our first report explored the different ways in which the service is being utilised across England. It indicated that on average for clients of health trainers:

  • 3 in 4 either partly or completely achieved their personal health plan

  • Increased their consumption of fruit and vegetables by about 150%

  • Decreased their alcohol intake by over 10%

Given that 2 in 3 health trainer clients are from the most deprived areas this highlights the service’s real potential to tackle health inequalities.

Benchmarking framework 2016

We were commissioned by Health Education England, Wessex team (HEE Wessex) to produce a framework to assist in the process of benchmarking health trainer service success. It has been designed for use in the Wessex area, but it is hoped it will have much wider appeal, both across the country and in health improvement services that do not follow a health trainer model.

Download the full report:

The Benchmarking of Health Trainer Services: A framework for comparison for health

Benchmarking toolkit 2016

The Benchmarking Toolkit sits alongside the Benchmarking Framework to provide support for those collating data obtained from their service. Find out how to use

Download the toolkit: 

Health trainer benchmarking toolkit