The development of the Stevenage Healthy Hub was informed by the Stevenage Health Profile, Hertfordshire Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Public Health Outcomes Framework.  This collective data enabled Stevenage to focus on a number of their strategic health improvement priorities from a system-wide perspective, which include the wider determinants of health.

The Healthy Hub has taken a holistic view of health and wellbeing in helping to reduce the number of children and adults that smoke, support adults and children to achieve good mental health and wellbeing and increase physical activity rates among children and adults.  Primary Care Networks (PCNs) can additionally refer patients through an exercise referral scheme, which includes rehabilitation and management of chronic medical conditions.

The Healthy Hub further provides access to specialist equipment such as an anti-gravity treadmill and a functional electrical stimulation bike.   This has welcomed people with disabilities, poor mobility and long term health conditions that would ordinarily find it difficult or could not use standard equipment to improve their levels of physical activity.

As part of District Partnership Health Hub Programme, Stevenage Borough Council in partnership with Stevenage Leisure Ltd has led the county pilot to provide a one-stop-shop for public health and wellbeing services.  Though effective partnership working, Stevenage Leisure Limited manage and operate the facility in working with a wide and diverse range of partners including, Public Health, NHS and a range of VCSEs to tackle key priorities, Stevenage have positively impacted the health of the local population.

The vision for health and wellbeing in Stevenage is set out in the Healthy Stevenage Strategy 2018-2022, which is to:  Reduce health inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of Stevenage residents.  One of the key principles is to embrace a person-centred approach, taking a holistic view of an individual’s circumstances to better understand their needs to identify which services they might need.

Since opening in January 2016, there have been a total number of 19,609 visitors.  55% of visitors were female and 45% were mal, with 51% aged between 45 and 64 years old.  There have been 652 walk-ins and self-referrals, 35% requiring mental health support with 263 being referred to community partners.  A total of 18 organisations use the Healthy Hub and have held 8,058-partner appointments.

Exercise on Referral patients made up 899 of the total number of visitors.  The primary reasons for referral were: 8% back pain, 15% cardiac related, 18% controlled diabetes, 17% musculoskeletal and 42% weight loss.  The Healthy Hub has achieved financial stability through increasing the take-up of exercise referral memberships and hiring rooms to partners. This means it can function independent of any future subsidy.

What’s next? – Young People’s Hub

To help us continue deliver more accessible, affordable and measurable projects and services, the evidence insight suggests a need to expand our reach via additional hubs for young people.   We have therefore secured additional funding from Public Health Hertfordshire to deliver more targeted services for our children and young people.

In January 2020, Stevenage will launch their first Young People’s Healthy Hub and Outreach intervention for young people aged 11-16 years old.  The hub will be based within the Mariotts School Sport Centre as a central point of access for young people who need support with their mental, emotional or physical health and lifestyle related health needs, and information.

Some of the health improvement services on offer include; group based therapy sessions, physical activity family programmes, nutrition and healthy eating community kitchen, life skills programme and open play.  In tackling some of the wider determinants of health such as educational attainment and unemployment, the hub will also offer sports leader qualifications, mental health first aid and volunteering opportunities with partners.

The Mariotts Sports Centre is a thriving venue that currently caters for all the community and is used by a variety of voluntary and community user groups.  The onward external referral pathway includes CAMHS, Herts Young Carers, KOOTH, ADASH and The Living Room (Addictions), Smoking Cessation with more health improvement services joining based on the needs of the school community. In order to extend our reach further, additional pop up hubs will be launched to engage other secondary schools in Stevenage.

Further information

Stevenage Borough Leads

Candice Bryan, Health and Sports Strategy Manager, Stevenage Borough Council Tel 01438 242 248 Email

Ryan Ansell, Community Sports and Leisure Development Officer, Stevenage Borough Council Tel 01438 242446 Email

Stevenage Leisure Ltd Lead

Juanita, Corporate Health and Wellbeing Manager, Stevenage Leisure Limited Tel: 07595278915 Email: