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Meet the team: Somerset Falls Fellowship


  • Hellana Fuller, Somerset CCG ( Deputy director/Finance) (Executive Sponsor)
  • Carolyn Scott, Somerset County Council (Public health manager Aging Well)
  • Jane Knowles, Somerset Activity and Sports partnership (Managing Director)
  • Anita Vowles, Somerset partnership NHS foundation Trust (Service lead, falls service)
  • Nicola Webber and Hillary Brunt, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation trust ( Fall leads)
  • Dianne Ramsey, Age UK
  • Beth Prince, Somerset Waste partnership
  • Claire Malcolmson, Mendip District Council

This proposal has been developed via multi agency working through the Somerset Academy.

The Somerset Academy is an Improvement Programme that supports Health and Social care to work together to identify specific areas of improvement work. The falls Project Group of the academy have identified a need to engagement with working aged adults in falls prevention.

Traditionally engaging working age adults in falls prevention has been difficult, individuals are low users of health and social care and resistant to social marketing, who perceive risk of significant harm from falls to be a “theoretical” future risk and do not wish to be labelled as a faller. This is compounded by the geography, settlement pattern and demographics (see supporting evidence) in Somerset. This provides a challenging rural environment which does not easily support more formal engagement and education.

To overcome the challenges inherent in engaging working aged adults across a large rural county the Somerset Falls Fellowship will form a partnership with employers, unions and other groups to develop multiple channels of information and training that will support the development of an understanding in falls prevention within the working age community.

The falls Project Group reviewed the options for improving resilience and knowledge of working age adults in regards to falls. During the development process,driver diagrams identified the most effective option could be to develop a self-sustaining network of peer champions based in the workplace. These peer champions would engage in education and support activities to ensure working age adults can both protect themselves and their wider families from falls resulting in harm. The programme will focus on providing peer support and education to working adults between the ages of 40-67 as it was identified this group will be the most likely to benefit from early intervention and also offer scope to support older family members.

It is felt that with support both employers and unions would embrace the opportunity to participate in developing a peer network that would protect the workforce and their older dependents from harm caused by falls.

The evidence base for falls prevention initiatives is strong, guidance from NICE, research papers include a Cochrane review, through to the recent publication of the Falls and Fractures Consensus Statement and Resource Pack in 2017 and is also subject to cost effectiveness models (see supporting evidence).

Falls prevention in older people is important for a number of reasons; falls are a major population health problem that will increase with ageing demographics, which in turn places increased pressures on the NHS and social services to provide relevant treatments and ongoing care.

The falls Project group considered employers as a main gateway to target those over 40, who although may not be concerned about falls themselves, will have older relatives who they are worried about. 

The proposal developed through local multi-agency working via the Somerset Academy, is to appoint a project manager role to engage with a variety of organisations and employers across the county to raise awareness of falls and where appropriate provide information and signposting. This includes behaviour change messages, and proactive engagement, as behaviour change is increasingly being seen as key to many interventions, for example through Making Every Contact Count.

The project would then aim to recruit falls peer support champions, both within employers and the wider community and agencies, for example Age UK Somerset have a huge number of volunteers who are older people themselves and are well placed to give peer messages to other older people.

The grant from the Health Foundation will support and embed a sustainable programme including:

  1. Provide project management support to develop a robust and self-sustaining network of peer support champions within Somerset workplaces. This will be in partnership with unions, employers, Health and Social Care.

  2. Support from local improvement professionals in undertaking small tests of change.

  3. Develop of an open access digital resource channel, including: podcasts of Seminars and workshops, training aids and a project library.

  4. As a second phase; expand the developing workplace peer support champion network out to other community hubs and partners.


At present the Somerset Health and Social Care Community is developing a Somerset Health and Care Strategy; although not yet published a key area to this strategy will be improving the health resilience of the Somerset population. The proposed programme will adapt to fit within the framework of the Strategy, ensuring continued support from all partners. The Somerset Academy is supported by both Adult Social care and NHS Providers.

The success of the project will be measured and reported on by the Somerset Academy Falls Project team/Project Manager using IHI methodology. The project team have developed a driver diagram with measures to support this project.

How you can contribute

  • Models of working with industry and other employers
  • Models of working with unions
  • Blending health and safety activity with health education and prevention

Further information

Falls prevention project (DOCX, 22KB)


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