Nearly 200 residential students at Reaseheath College in Nantwich are looking forward to a healthier future after the college became the first in Cheshire to successfully achieve its Bronze Self Care Award.

The award is part of an enterprising programme by NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to spread the benefits of self care throughout its local communities. The initiative aims to roll out key messages using specially trained Self Care Champions and is particularly targeting students and working populations.

Three members of Reaseheath’s Student Services and Wellbeing teams have been trained as Self Care Champion Trainers, enabling them to hold workshops which teach students how to look after their physical and mental health.

The workshops have become part of the college’s regular student induction and are aimed at new residential students, the majority of whom are under 18 and living away from home for the first time. Topics include how students should look after themselves if they become unwell, how and where they can access appropriate medical services, when they should contact their local GP practice and what to expect.

The students are also asked to complete a Self Care check list to help with their overall wellbeing. This includes eating balanced and nutritional meals, taking time away from social media and screen based activities and practising personal hygiene.

Feedback after the first workshops, held at the beginning of the academic year, showed that 84% of students felt more confident talking to their peers about self care and 98% thought that the workshops were beneficial. Reaseheath’s Health and Wellbeing Team members have also noticed that students are quicker to seek guidance about their personal wellbeing and self care.

Safeguarding Officer James Payne, one of Reaseheath’s Self Care Champion Trainers, said: “We are extremely proud to have achieved this well respected award in a relatively short time. We pride ourselves on giving students life skills alongside their academic education but this initiative has enabled us to further support them in their understanding of their own health care and in the ways they can help others.”

Kerri-Anne Williams, Further Education Student Governor added: “I personally found the workshop very useful because it gave me the confidence to ask for help if I needed it and the knowledge of who to go to for information.”

Noreen Caldwell, Public Engagement Manager for NHS South Cheshire CCG said: “I am delighted that Reaseheath has become the first college in Cheshire to receive our Bronze Self Care Award.  By spreading our self care messages as part of its induction process shows how committed the college is to the overall health and wellbeing of its students.”