Nutrition Skills for Life

Nutrition Skills for Life™

NUTRITION SKILLS FOR LIFE™ formerly the Increased Dietetic Capacity Grant Scheme is a programme of quality assured nutrition skills training and initiatives developed and co-ordinated by dietitians working in the NHS in Wales. The programme aims to support a wide range of community workers, including those from health, social care and third sector organisations to promote healthy eating and incorporate food and nutrition skills into their work.

The programme aims to reach community groups who may not have the confidence to prepare and eat a healthy balanced diet. By training those who work closely with, and understand the needs of local people, the programme successfully supports communities across Wales to learn more about healthy eating.

There are two key aspects to the programme; nutrition skills training for community workers and healthy eating initiatives with community groups. For community workers, Agored Cymru accredited Level 2 Community Food and Nutrition Skills training enables participants to develop the competencies required to promote key healthy eating messages focusing on the Eatwell Plate. It also teaches practical skills such as budgeting, shopping for healthy foods, understanding food labels and how to adapt recipes. This course is attended by those who plan to deliver healthy eating initiatives such as practical cooking skills or community weight management programmes as part of their work. There are three further nutrition skills training courses, one for those working with children in their early years and two designed for staff working with vulnerable older adults (see table 1).

The second aspect, development of healthy eating initiatives with community groups, includes supporting those who have completed the Level 2 Agored Cymru Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course to plan, implement and evaluate healthy eating initiatives with communities they work with. This can include delivery of accredited Level 1 courses. To deliver Level 1 accredited courses the Agored Cymru Introduction to Assessment training is also completed. Learning and teaching resources have been developed for all NUTRITION SKILLS FOR LIFE™ training programmes to provide a standardised, consistent approach to delivery and assessment. The resources are available from Public Health Dietitians in Wales.

Table 1. Level 2 Nutrition skills training courses for community workers



Intended Participants

Level 2 Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course (3 credits) To equip participants with the nutrition knowledge and skills to cascade evidence based, consistent food and nutrition messages to community groups they work with.
Those intending to deliver Level 1 accredited courses.
Those intending to deliver Foodwise for Life community weight management programmes.
A range of staff working with community groups e.g. Leisure centre, Communities First and Families First staff, teachers and teaching assistants, youth workers, foster carers.
Level 2 Community Food and Nutrition Skills for the Early Years (2 credits) To equip early years practitioners with the nutrition knowledge and skills to cascade evidence based, consistent food and nutrition messages to children and families and improve food and drink provision in their setting
Early years practitioners in Flying Start, Families First and Early Years settings.
Those participating in the Healthy and Sustainable Pre Schools scheme.
Level 2 Food and Nutrition Skills for Those Providing Care (1 credit)
Level 2 Improving Food and Nutrition Care (1 credit)
To equip staff working with vulnerable older adults with the nutrition knowledge and skills to improve food and drink provision for those in their care and prevent malnutrition Care home nursing and catering staff, community carers, and voluntary organisations.

Community workers completing the Community Food and Nutrition Skills for the Early Years course are supported to implement improvements to food and drink provision for children in early years settings. Those completing ‘Food and Nutrition Skills for Those Providing Care’ and ‘Improving Food and Nutrition Care’ are supported to enhance food and drink provision in care homes.

The training supports other All-Wales initiatives including the Welsh Network of Healthy Schools Scheme, Healthy and Sustainable Pre School Scheme, Implementation of Appetite for Life and the Nutrition in Community Settings Pathway.
Evaluation of the programme has demonstrated successes at both community and individual levels. At the community level healthier food and drink options are provided in many community settings e.g. nurseries, playgroups, schools, youth, leisure and community centres. Those working with older adults report improved food provision in care settings.
For individuals, having an opportunity to learn about healthy eating and develop practical cooking skills has led to changes in their food related behaviour. Other important benefits of the programme for individuals are that it provides people with an opportunity to gain a qualification, often the first they have ever achieved, which can encourage an interest in further learning and potential future employment. It also offers valuable opportunities to socialise and meet other people and empowers people to find solutions to food related issues such as food access and availability.

To find out more about NUTRITION SKILLS FOR LIFE™ in each health board area in Wales please contact the following Registered Dietitians.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB, Rhian Marston [email protected]  or Elizabeth Williams [email protected]
Aneurin Bevan HB, Caroline Bovey: [email protected]
Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, Andrea Basu: [email protected]
Cardiff and Vale UHB, Emma Holmes: [email protected]
Cwm Taf HB, Shelley Wyer: [email protected]
Hywel Dda HB, Janet Bouchier: [email protected]
Powys HB, Rhiain Murphy: [email protected]

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Training

Capacity to deliver training and initiatives on healthy eating at a community level in Wales is being outstripped by demand. The Welsh Government has provided financial support to NHS Health Boards across Wales to increase capacity in the community.

The Community Food and Nutrition Skills Training Courses have been written by Community Dietitians in Wales. Accredited by Agored Cymru, formerly the Open College Network, these courses aim to provide standardized, quality assured nutrition training for community workers and professionals to enable then to give accurate healthy eating messages to the wider population.

A CD Rom Resource Pack containing scheme of work, lesson plans, handouts, teacher’s notes, worksheets and other supporting teaching material must be used by Dietitians delivering the courses and can be obtained from the Public Health Improvement Division of the Welsh Government.

A Registered Dietitian may recommend individuals who have successfully completed the level 2 Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course to deliver a level 1 course. These individuals will receive a letter signed by their tutor stating they are able to deliver the level 1 course. It is strongly recommended that these individuals plan their course programme with the Dietitian and that the Dietitian delivers the specialist modules such as infant nutrition. Resources for the level 1 course are available from the Public Health Improvement Division of the Welsh Government.

A level 3 course is being developed to further develop skills in community nutrition work, training, partnerships, before delivering the level 1 course. Piloted in the winter of 2008/09 and following evaluation a resource pack will be available to dietitians in late 2009.

Local trainers have the opportunity to accredit courses through the National Open College Network (NOCN). NOCN provides national qualifications and programmes in a wide range of subject areas and offers a local accreditation service. Accreditation provides recognition of achievement through the award of credit.  OCN works in partnership with organisations to develop learning strategies that will enable people to participate and succeed. Agored Cymru has been formed by as part of the national restructuring the NOCN. Contact details for Welsh OCN offices are:

  • Bangor 01248 670 011
  • Cardiff 02920 747 866

Or you can visit the National Open College Network website.

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Updates are being produced by Dietitians for project workers that have gone through the course. It contains relevant nutrition information and will be produced quarterly. The current course update and an archive of previous course updates are available below.

Current course update:

 Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 9 January 2012

Archive of all course updates:

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 8 July 2011

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 7 March 2011

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 6 August 2010

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 5 June 2010

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 4 January 2010

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 3 November 2009

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 2 October 2009

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Course Update 1 June 2009 

An evaluation of The All-Wales Dietetic Capacity Grant Scheme

The first two years of the programme have being evaluated by Glyndwr University Wrexham. The programme has demonstrated increased support for communities in healthy eating by incorporating nutrition into the work of other professionals working with priority groups in the community.

Executive Summary 
Full Report

Community Food and Nutrition Skills Training Update Events

The Community Dietitians involved in the Increasing Dietetic Capacity Scheme are arranging update events for all those community workers and professionals who have achieved the Level 2 Community Food and Nutrition Skills. The events provide an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and resources and provide and update on relevant issues.This events have been well attended and provided a mix of presentations and workshops. The workshops included (a) alternative ways to explore the Eatwell model with groups, (b) new resources, hot topics and new advice and (c) sharing knowledge, experiences and ideas.

The first of the events arranged by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University Local Health Board took place on 1 December 2009 in Aberavon for Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea. Richard Reast from the Rural Regeneration Unit spoke about the Community Food Co-operative Programme at lunch time. The event was arranged by Rhian Marston, Specialist Community Dietitian with her colleagues Liz Williams, Hannah Parton and Sara Hill facilitating. The first presentation was by Lesley Shannon from Confident Nutrition Ltd on Community Cooking Skills. The second presentation was from Healthy Directions, Swansea County Council. Between December 2008 and February 2009 a food mapping exercise was undertaken in four Communities First areas of Swansea to assess the availability of a basket of healthy foods. This project was an action of Swansea’s Health Social Care and Well-being Strategy 2008-11 Year 2 Action Plan. Local partners including volunteers took part in the process either by providing local information, being involved in focus groups or by carrying out shop surveys. In order to raise awareness of the findings a workshop was held in June 2009 where maps illustrating the findings were available to view. Ways of increasing the availability of healthy foods were discussed with suggestions including starting a fruit and veg co-op, working with shops, internet or shared shopping and raising awareness of free buses to supermarkets. The mapping exercise resulted in practical actions; the Communities First Teams in three areas have used the findings to inform the development of food and nutrition initiatives and dialogue has begun with shopkeepers to develop a project in a fourth area. For more information please contact Jocelyn Lewis, Community Health Development Worker, Healthy Directions Swansea [email protected].  The last presentation was from the Bridgend Youth Service which promoted the Just @sk Café, a newly established healthy eating café in the Just @sk information centre for young people in Bridgend town centre. For more information about the event please contact Rhian Marston on [email protected] or telephone 01639 683187.  Following on from the successful event by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, further events have been held throughout Wales.

Cwm Taf Health Board’s event took place in Merthyr on 23rd March. Presentations focused on Change4Life, the MEND programme, the Community Food Co-operative programme and physical activity. For more information please contact Beth Greenslade, Community Dietitian, Rhondda Cynon Taf Public Health Team on 01443 744900.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board held events in Conwy and Denbighshire on 11th March and Wrexham on the 25th March.
As a result of a needs analysis, which informed the Conwy and Denbighshire conference planning process, some new resources have been made available. The ‘Nutrition Resource Box’ contains food models, games around nutrition and labelling and practical exercises based on the food plate. The box can be transported to any location in either Conwy or Denbighshire where food and nutrition courses are being held. For more information contact Bob Baines, Conwy and Denbighshire Public Health Team on 01492 536586.

A highlight of the Wrexham day was a presentation from Sian Hughes, Children & Young People Family Support Officer at Plasmadoc Communities First focusing on how to set up your own ‘cook and eat’ session. For more information please contact Amy Roche, Community Development Dietitian, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board on 01978 727159.

Hywel Dda Health Board’s event was held in Narberth on 21st April. At this event there was a discussion about maternal pre school children’s nutritional needs. For more information please contact Kate Everett, Community Nutrition Development Assistant on 01437 772883.