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HALIFAX COMMUNITIES GIVEN NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR HEALTHY LIFE

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People living in the St John's and Town areas of West Central Halifax are set to benefit from a pioneering health p...
People living in the St John's and Town areas of West Central Halifax are set to benefit from a pioneering health project which has today received a£747,000 award from the National Lottery via the New Opportunities Fund, a distributor of good cause funding.

The Halifax initiative is one of five for healthy living centre projects in Yorkshire and Humberside that are receiving awards today from the fund totalling£4,186,882. Three awards will boost the health of communities in Leeds and another award will address health inequalities in Scunthorpe.

The West Central Halifax Healthy Living Partnership (HeLP) will address local health inequalities and particularly address health problems experienced by women, children, young people and black and Asian people in the community.

The project will co-ordinate schemes at different community venues and through existing community groups. Activities will include health education on issues such as drug awareness, childhood illness and screening, and food activities which will include a healthy eating café, dietary sessions and a community garden.

The funding will support the development of a new community café, arts space and refurbished fitness suite that will be used to run new health and exercise schemes as well as social activities. Health information will include dietary advice, such as the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes.

The project will work with local GPs to refer people to exercise classes and women only sessions for those unable to access mainstream fitness classes.

Stress and anxiety caused by poor housing, low self esteem and financial worries as well as social isolation will also be addressed. A Hallal loan scheme is planned to provide members of the Moslem community with non-interest borrowing.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the New Opportunities Fund, said: 'The HeLP project is aptly named - it will 'help' empower local communities to improve their health by making access to information much easier and providing practical support to reduce the risk of poor health. The involvement of community representatives should help to tailor activities to meets the needs of those who aren't able to access existing services.'

The project will be supported by Moslem community leaders and health information will be provided in community languages and disseminated at health festivals. The scheme will work closely with the Asian Anti Drugs initiative to raise awareness and provide support for those with drug problems in the Asian community.

Martyn Pritchard, PCT chief executive (designate) said, ' Najabat Hussain, who chairs the Healthy Living Partnership and I are delighted to be able to implement our innovative plans, for and with the West Central Halifax community, which builds on effective partnerships to date in ways which impact not only on clinical health but on general wellbeing and life opportunities.'

One aspect of HeLP will be to provide skills training and volunteering opportunities to improve skills and confidence. Volunteer café workers will be given training in food hygiene and to work as peer educators to get across health messages. Local people will organise a tool and musical instrument resource bank, run the community garden and help to install home safety equipment. Local training will be signposted via a local education and training service (LETS) team.

General health issues affecting local families will be addressed for example, by providing information for those with asthma and eczema. Support will include advice on reducing symptoms and easy access to hypo-allergenic bedding.

Notes

Full details of the New Opportunities Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the fund website.

Projects in the region receiving awards from the New Opportunities Fund on 28 February will also be presented with plaques from Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the New Opportunities Fund.

The event aims to celebrate New Opportunities Funding for the Yorkshire and Humberside region and will include presentations by funded projects and a question and answer session chaired by chief executive Stephen Dunmore and the regional officer for Yorkshire and Humberside, Gareth Durling.

The New Opportunities Fund distributes National Lottery money to health, education and environment projects across the UK. We intend to support sustainable projects that will:

-- Improve the quality of life of people throughout the UK

-- Address the needs of those who are most disadvantaged in society

-- Encourage community participation

-- Complement relevant local and national strategies and programmes.

Funding for programmes is divided between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on the basis of population weighted to reflect levels of deprivation.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FUND HEALTH PROGRAMMES ACROSS THE UK

HEALTHY LIVING CENTRES -£300m

Launched January 1999

To create a core network of healthy living centres (HLCs) across the UK to promote health in its broadest sense. 157 grants have been awarded to date (including today's awards) totalling£123,020,352. The programme is now closed for applications.

LIVING WITH CANCER - cancer prevention, detection, treatment and care -£150m

Launched September 1999

This programme included the purchase of breast screening equipment, MRI machines and linear accelerators as well as a major commitment to palliative care and cancer prevention projects. In England£93m has been allocated for cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment equipment; over 200 hospitals have benefited from 425 pieces of equipment;£23.25m has also been awarded for cancer information and palliative care to 92 grassroots projects. In Scotland 49 projects have been funded with almost£15.5m. In Wales almost£8.5m has been awarded to 47 projects.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR HEALTH -£297m

Two schemes under this programme to combat combat coronary heart disease, and cancer

-- A major new investment in equipment to combat coronary heart disease and stroke. In England£65m has been set aside to buy cardiac angiography equipment and hospitals will receive MRI scanners from a£14 million allocation.

-- The fund's£42m National School Fruit Scheme pilots will bring a daily dose of fruit to children aged 4 to 6 years old before the national roll-out on 2004.

--£10m for the Five-a-Day community initiative - to tackle the problem of low fruit and vegetable consumption for families on low incomes.

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