In September 2013 Blackpool Stop Smoking Service decided to try a different approach to attracting clients: a 'rolling group' with more emphasis on teas, coffees and chat, and a less clinical more laid back feel. They advertised in local papers, sent out letters to previous clients, and heavily promoted the service via social networking sites and on its helpline.
Helen Fletcher from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who nominated the team, says the first session only attracted two people. ‘As the weeks progressed our group attracted a small number of clients and as a team we noticed that we had tapped into something special.’
Some of the clients were people who attended one-to-one sessions and had either struggled to keep engaged with the service or reach the four-week quit target. ‘Yet here they were, attending every week and successfully and confidently reaching the four-week quit stage. The main thing that they enjoyed was the relaxed and non-judgemental atmosphere and knowing that there were people in the
same situation as them who can help support them,' Ms Fletcher says.The Blackpool Stop Smoking Service has always achieved an average 50 per cent success rate, but the rolling group has hit 90 per cent, making it one the most successful clinics the service has ever conducted.