Improving Health And Wellbeing. Building Skills And Confidence For Employment

ASPIRE (Adding to Social capital and individual Potential In disadvantaged REgions) has received more than €7 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund.

ASPIRE is part of the Interreg VA Channel programme and will run from September 2019 to February 2023. The project has a total budget of over €10million and involves partners from the UK and France (see partner details below).

Obesity across the FCE (France Channel England) area is a significant concern; high levels of obesity coincide with high rates of unemployment across the zone. A Gallup poll shows that the longer a person is unemployed, the higher the rates of obesity, with rates reaching up to 32.7% after a year or more of unemployment.

ASPIRE will give obese/overweight and/or unemployed people the tools they need to make healthier lifestyle choices and improve their employability. Current health and employment services rarely work together to tackle the issues as one problem, despite the evidence that they are linked. A new FCE model, co-created using partner expertise in both fields, will holistically combine the necessary support to increase employability with access to local healthy food produce and consequent weight loss. The model will be implemented via 7 implementation sites and innovative technology in order to enable participants to improve their relationship with food and provide them with the skills and support they need to gain access to the labour market. Current services also have difficulties in reaching the target audience due to the remoteness of much of the non-urban target population. Public Health England data shows a correlation between the fact that most services are delivered in town centre locations (lower obesity rates) and rural populations are disadvantaged (higher obesity rates) as access to services is harder.


Each organization must design an initial situation based on:

Anonymous statistics should be collected at different levels:

  • Neighbourhood
  • Municipality
  • Department
  • Region
  • Country

(From more to less precise according to the available data)

Inventory of the population basin in order to know the specific problems of the area.

On the following indicators:

Social and economic level:

  • Unemployment rate
  • Level of deprivation


Health data:

  • Rate of overweight people
  • Rate of obese people
  • Incidence of NCDs (diabetes, hypertension, etc.)
  • Smoking/alcoholism rates

Data on the environment/space in which beneficiaries live

Data sources:


  • Obépi, Open data health
  • Employment structures: pole emploi, Mission Locale…


Example of a report :

  • health status of the population in France,
  • atlas of priority city districts,
  • Health diagnosis of cities
  • PETR: Pôle d’équilibre territorial et rural at the level of communities of communes
  • CTO: territorial obesity committees
  • Health Scope



  • NHS database, local national database (KCC), PHE datasets (Fingertips), local authority data,
  • Public Health Observatory data.

Goal: find the best location for ASPIRE hubs

Meeting with:

  • Local authorities (city council, local government)
  • Hospitals and health centres (identify and locate all centres, introduce them the ASPIRE methodology based on prevention
  • Job centre and employment agencies, temporary work/training agency, second chance school, education centre
  • Associations present in potential locations
  • Social actors community centre
  • Urban planning/ housing

Criteria to be taken into account:

o Mobility difficulties of the target due to weight (even if the activities are nearby)

  • Proximity key to success: combination between downtown and “local area

Identification of a relay/resource person

(Person who has a good knowledge of the territory, who is in contact with the population è  someone who has experience, essential for the success of the project)


Targeting the QPV (priority city district)


Targeting community centres

Identification of structures with social and solidarity economy actors

Commitment of the partners in two steps:
• 1st stage: social structures,
(recruit more beneficiaries)
• 2nd step: employment structures


Inclusion of cities in charged of the population’s health
Contact the main actors:

• The city: CCAS, youth department, department in charge of sports
• Associations/ NGO/ not profit association that work in precarious environments, neighbourhood centres cultural social centres, youth centres
• External service providers specialized in the field which is not the domain of the stakeholders’ expertise
• Integration counsellors food professionals….
• Health professionals, medical centres, psychological support
• Companies: setting up a skill-based sponsorship or even retired people, experience sharing/sponsorship
Submit the project to locals stakeholders according to their degree of expertise/skills related to the project increase the visibility of the project.

• Community centres external service providers specialized in the field which is not the domain of the stakeholders’ expertise


Organise expert panels.

  • Health professionals (dieticians, doctors, sports coaches…)
  • Local stakeholders (associations…)
  • People who know the target: its problems, its expectations, and the optimal way to communicate with the target to facilitate access to the population


Conduct focus groups

  • Potential future target
  • The person in charge of the target (local stakeholders)

Identify the internal competencies of the organizations.


Target :

  • Unemployed individual (long term?)
  • Individuals who are overweight or unemployed
  • Individuals who need specific support
  • Individual with a lack of self-confidence


Recruitment Strategy:

  • Social media: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube…,
  • Distribution of printed materials introducing the program
  • Use “word of mouth” to promote the program through “expert participants,” “ambassador leaders”
  • successful experiences make people want to try it and do it for themselves.

Mobilising ambassadors, i.e. people who have followed the ASPIRE program, is an element that allows for the recruitment of more participants by showing the effectiveness of the program.

It is easier for the potential beneficiary to feel concerned by the content of the program by seeing that it works for people in the same situation, the sharing of experience is therefore a very relevant testimony.

  • Organization of public events:
  • forums: collect data from interesting profiles and contact them again to bring them into the cohort,
  • Events on World Days (World Obesity Day, Wellness Day, etc.),


Keys to success:

– In-depth discussions with potential future beneficiaries of the program

– Involve the entourage in the participation of the workshops: the entourage helps to change

– Propose “sponsorships”.

The choice of words is essential:

  • Do not stigmatize participants
  • Do not address the issue of overweight at the first meeting – use the kiosk in a playful way to talk about weight è don’t leave people by themselves using the kiosks they need support from the stakeholders

Potential barriers: building participant loyalty.


Project Partners

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