CHILDREN are once again leading the way to creating happy and healthy futures for their communities

Young people in Barrow are doing their bit to address alarming health issues in the area which have led to life expectancy for both men and women in Barrow being lower than the England average.

More than 280 Year 5 and Year 2 pupils from 10 Barrow primary schools are involved in the 2018 Happy and Healthy Lifestyle Project - #iWill Make A Difference. This year the event was supported by DW Fitness, Nuffield Health and Furness College Sports Centre.

The project, now in its second year, is led by the Furness Education and Skills Partnership in collaboration with the NHS. It aims to address worrying public health issues highlighted by Public Health England and Cumbria County Council. Public Health England reported that 6 million middle-aged adults in England take less than 10 minutes brisk exercise a month, risking their health. But when does the problem start? It seems the answer is “very young”

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 Sport & Fitness and students Furness College.

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

Amy Lamph, Coordinator for FESP said: “We are excited to be launching the second year of this important project. The next step is for each school to select their Health Ambassadors for the year who will test different methods of improving the fitness and health of their school. The Health Ambassadors will continue to be supported by the local health and fitness centres who have kindly given time to deliver activities at today’s event. We are very lucky to have them on board. It shows just how important they feel improving health in the area is.”

The organisations which took part in the launch event were: Norwood Medical Centre, Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, DW Fitness, Nuffield Health, Furness College Sports Department, and Furness Education and Skills Partnership.

The schools taking part in this project are: Greengate Junior School, Ormsgill Primary School, South Walney Junior School, St Pius X Catholic Primary School, Victoria Academy, Chetwynde School, Parkside GGI Academy, Ormsgill Primary School, Burlington Church of England Primary School and George Romney Primary school.

At the end of the project, the Health Ambassadors will share their findings and make recommendations to improve children’s health in the Furness area.