A light bulb moment into a fantastic reality!

April 30, 2021

Our Innovation Grants support pilots that make a real difference to the lives of people in south London. Here one of our alumni Chris Gumble, Project Manager for Long term conditions at the South West London Health and Care Partnership shares his experiences of the scheme.

Key achievements

  • There was an 87% completion rate for the programme.
  • In the group of 24 people, the average weight loss per person was 1.8kg.
  • There was a 77% uptake from people who identified as not white for ethnicity.
  • There were over 1,000,000 steps walked in a single week.

How do we prevent people from developing Type 2 diabetes who are at risk? How can we make improving your health and wellbeing fun? How do we embed knowledge in an engaging way? How do we encourage physical activity and make this a normal part of everyday life? Should we incentivise people to take care of their health?

These were all questions that needed answering due to the fact that there are over 200,000 new diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes each year. Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle change, so my answer to these questions was to create the ‘Diabetes Prevention Decathlon’.

The Diabetes Prevention Decathlon is a ten-week structured education prevention programme. Decathletes attend weekly and within their teams collaborate to discover how to best reduce the risks through theory sessions, games, discussion and a weekly 45-minute physical activity session including a variety of sports. They compete in teams to increase activity levels in between sessions to win “Sweatcoins” which can be redeemed in exchange for prizes, and they can also be ‘earned’ by watching learning recap videos and participating in weekly quizzes. Participants are also signposted to relevant local initiatives. South West London Health and Care partnership (SWLHCP), Sweatcoin, Harlequins Foundation and Health Innovation Network (HIN) partner to deliver the Decathlon.

The Innovation Grant afforded us the ability to make the Decathlon a reality. Many minds make light work and the minds in my team, I believe are the best. We applied for the funding, which as a process was extremely easy to do but hard work, research and a credible product are the essential ingredients for success.

The project was clinically lead and coproduced across multiple organisations with input from our local patient user groups and was well supported by directors and senior leaders within my organisation.

“ The great minds at the HIN have supported with direction, creative ideas, afforded me platforms to speak and present our findings on the programme and help form connections…”

The support I have received from the HIN prior to application, during the award and consistent support since the Decathlons inception has been phenomenal. The great minds at the HIN have supported with direction, creative ideas, afforded me platforms to speak and present our findings on the programme and help form connections with one of our partners, Sweatcoin who were an SME on the Digital Health. London accelarator.

With a number of programmes completed (we are currently planning to expand the areas), the Decathlon is offered in both in our adapted virtual edition as well as planning for a future world where we can run the Decathlon in person. Currently being delivered across two boroughs, we hope to deliver across all of south London in the coming year. We are also working with the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network to redevelop the curriculum and resources to support the uptake and retention to reduce inequalities and improve the experience of our very diverse South London population.

There have been many proud moments on this journey, the formation of our partnerships, the creation of the programme, the adoption of innovative technology, the weight loss, retention and completion rates of Decathletes, the millions of steps walked in between sessions but mainly, what I am most proud of is that our Decathletes turned up for week two of the programme. This was proof that what we had worked so hard to create, was liked by people who would benefit the most from attending.

The Decathlon has an abstract and poster submitted to the DUK conference 2021 and been nominated for a patient education award and also been nominated for an HSJ Value award 2021 for Diabetes care initiative (how awesome is that)!

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You can find out more about our Innovation Grants here, our other work with diabetes here or if you want support with an innovation of your own you can contact our Innovation team.

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