Dr Sarah Arun, Cardiology lead for Furness, approached FESP in 2016 with concerns about the number of heart related health issues in the Furness area.  She decided that the best way to tackle this would be to prevent people from getting heart diseases through the concept of Happy and Healthy Lifestyles.  This was in innovative collaborative project between FESP primary schools and the NHS. This provided workshop for pupils who then returned to their schools to devise their own health based projects within their school and communities. 

“In year 6 the percentage of children measured as obese in Barrow is higher than the national figure and it is the second highest in Cumbria. ”

Barrow Obesity Profile 2014


  • Purpose of the project is to help facilitate conversations and bring around positive changes in health and well-being, with a focus on the adult community. 

  • Using ideas generated by children of how to improve their own and their families’ health. And encourage them to consider why people choose not to lead a healthy and happy life. 

  • The children will become ‘change agents’ and ‘health ambassadors’ within their communities.

  • Year 5 students to plan, research and produce a film which seeks to highlight health and well-being challenges that exist in the Furness area (see Health Summary Profile)

  • It will complement and reinforce ongoing healthy living work within schools and seek to actively promote within the wider community and beyond.

  • There will be opportunities for the children to meet and find out more about the less well-known health and well-being occupations


355 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from 10 Barrow primary schools are involved in the 2019 Happy and Healthy Lifestyle Project - #iWill Make A Difference. This year the event was supported by Barrow Police, The Well and Morecombe Bay Health Trust.

The 2018/19 scheme, with the theme of Substance Abuse, was officially launched during an event at Furness College on Friday 1st March with workshops on smoking, vaping, alcohol misuse, drug abuse and county lines.  

Pupils from the 10 primary schools taking part then designed posters to help raise awareness of the organisations that can help people with problems related to smoking, alcohol and drugs. These were judged by Maxine Baron, ICC Development Lead for Barrow who choose the winning designs that will be displayed in locations around Barrow.


The winning posters were announced at a celebration event and poster exhibition held at the Believe in Barrow store with prizes presented by Kevin Hamilton, Mayor of Barrow.

Winners prizes were awarded to:

  • Ines and Maissie from Victoria Academy

  • Riley from George Romney Junior School

  •  Tamzin and Kai from Greengate Junior School

  • Rocky from St. James' C of E Primary School

  • Elisse from Ormsgill Primary School

  • Mahiya from Chetwynde School

  • Honey from Dalton St. Mary's C of E Primary School.

“This is about helping our young people understand the harm drugs, alcohol and smoking can do to you. This town is in a battle to make a better future. We all have to play our part.  ”

Barrow Police


In its second year (2017-18) the project has expanded to 9 primary schools with ages ranging from year 2 to year 5. This year the project, on the theme of exercerise is being supported by DW Fitness, Nuffield Health and Furness College Sports Centre.


The 2018 scheme, with the theme of Exercise, was officially launched during an event at Furness College on Wednesday 18th April.

The event was opened by GP Dr Sarah Arun who talked about health issues which have led to the present “life expectancy for both men and women in Barrow being lower than the England average”.

Some of the key priorities for Barrow include reducing smoking, reducing alcohol misuse and reducing obesity in children. The percentage of children Yr6 in Barrow, measured as obese, is higher than the national figure and it is the second highest in Cumbria.

Children and their teachers took part in four interactive workshops in which they received important information to raise their awareness about different areas of exercise. Included were a yoga class delivered by staff from Nuffield Health, and sports sessions provided by staff from DW Sports and students Furness College. 

Other workshops delivered on the day focused on fueling exercise, a gym tour and fitness testing.

The next stage of the project will take part on Friday 27th April with a Research Workshop held at Victoria Academy where the nominated Health Ambassadors from each school will be developing their researching skills to allow them to lead their own research project in school. The aim is that they will identify more specific goals and methods to be able to help their school become more active and more healthy. 

“On average 20 children are visiting the tuck shop to buy fruit on each day.

This is very positive ”

Impact of "Fruity Thursdays at South Walney Junior School"


A number of new primary schools joined the project in 2017/18 including George Romney Junior School, Dalton in Furness. The school already had some sports ambassadors and they all attended the exercise launch event at Furness College and all wanted to be Happy and Healthy Health Ambassadors for their school. After the Research workshop they conducted their own survey of pupils in their school and found out that not many pupils were attending after school sports clubs and many of the clubs were attended by the same group of people. 

The sport ambassadors decided to take action. They arranged a club of their own to try a wider range of sports including boogie bounce and dodge ball. The club was ran by the sports ambassadors and was completely free for other pupils to attend. The George Romney sports ambassadors also focused healthy eating, linking each of their sessions to a different healthy snack like fruit kebabs and smoothies which they made after each of their after school sports sessions. 

The club was really well attended by pupils who don't usually attended sports clubs and as a result of the Health Ambassadors work the school will be introducing a wider variety of after school clubs in September 2018 and reducing the cost of the clubs to just £1 to encourage more pupils to attend. 


In its pilot year (2016-17) 5 Primary schools took on the challenge. They attended an introductory event where health professionals lead workshops to teach Y5 pupils about the different aspects of a healthy lifestyles. Pupils then went back to their primary schools and conducted research to help them decide on a project.

On Wednesday the pupils presented their findings and suggestions on the theme of diet to health professionals. 


Ormsgill's Health ambassadors told us about introducing a healthy tuck-shop, Green Gate had held a healthy restaurant to encourage parents to cook healthy meals, St. Pius had encouraged parents to used the Sugar Swaps App (with mixed results ass apparently some dads were scanning bags of sugar!), South Walney introduced "Try it Tuesday" and "Fruity Thursdays" and Victoria Academy put on an amazing role play explaining why their "Try a new fruit each week" project was so important. 

All pupils did a fantastic job of their presentations, they spoke with confidence and enthusiasm about their project and worked well as a team. It was great to see that the were taking their own healthy eating advice on board by demolishing our fruit kebabs! 

Each Primary Health Ambassador was given a certificate, badge and gift bags by representatives from the NHS and Barrow-in-Furness Mayor Tony Callister attended to show his support and pledge his active involvement in the next stage - we hope he knows it's exercise!  


“Across Barrow there is a wide variation in the percentage of patients recorded as obese ranging from 5.6% and 17.1% of GP registered patients aged 16 or over.

2014 Barrow Obesity Profile

Contact Us:

Furness Education and Skills Partnership 

Furness College 

Ironworks Road


LA14 2PJ

UK Registered Charity:

Registered: 24 April 2019

Charity No: 1183085

Some photography on this site kindly provided courtesy of The Mail 

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