Livewell Treatment Manager, Rob Smithers has seen some big changes to the service since he joined during its inception in 2011.  Find out more about the man in charge of the UK’s best Health and Wellbeing initiative, from teaching children to light fires (safely!) to defying the medical odds to complete the Great North Run in a banana costume….


I joined Derby City Council 15 years ago after graduating with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science.  Since then I’ve supported people and communities through a variety of roles to lead healthier lives including teaching children how to safely light fires and helping people to quit smoking. Behaviour change and empowering people are crucial parts of my career so far. A couple of years ago I started delivering behaviour change lectures to undergraduate and postgraduate students, bringing the theory to life through real working examples.  My commitment to life-long learning means I’m still studying myself – a MSc in Leadership and Management.

Your job role with Livewell

As the manager of Livewell, I am accountable for the service which includes the fulfilment of our contractual obligations.  No two days are ever the same.  On one day I could be meeting with the hospital trust to develop a cancer prevention programme then on another I might be discussing childhood obesity or negotiating funding with local businesses.

Some people say I do the boring things like finance, HR and reports but I see the most important part of my job is to make it as easy as possible for our delivery team to support clients to achieve their goals.  I am very lucky to be surrounded by a great team!!

Me in 3 words

My words:  Stubborn, patient and calm

What the team say:  Good-listener, empathetic, mischievous!

Favourite meal

Too many I can’t choose; roast dinner, sausage and mash but I would probably have to go for a curry – any curry!


Growing up I experienced the negative impact that lifestyle choices made to the physical and mental health of those closest to me.  As a result I’m passionate about supporting people to consider different choices and embrace the changes that these choices can make.  I am also passionate about giving people autonomy to take risks and have a go, whether that’s empowering staff to develop new skills or encouraging clients to try an exercise class.

Outside of work I like to be as active as possible, I’m not good to be around if I’ve been sat too long.  I also enjoy watching football and spending time with my family.

Best achievement

The birth of my son five years ago! It’s a bit of a cliché but beats everything else hands down.

What you might be surprised to know

Due to a Perthes disease in my right hip I was told at age 11 that I wouldn’t be able to run.  I’ve defied the odds by completing the London Marathon and taking on the Great North Run twice, first as a girl guide and then dressed as a banana which even earned me a PB! 

My top lifestyle tip

Drink water, get enough sleep and remember that happiness is something within your control.

My favourite motivational quotes

“Consistency doesn’t mean never messing up, it means never giving up.”

“Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.”

“If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much room.” Stolen from advisor, Aimee

“Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.”

Rob Great North Run in banana costumeLivewell's Rob running the Great North Run as a girl guide