Top award for health initiative

Participants on an Active North Tyneside health walk.
Participants on an Active North Tyneside health walk.

A trail-blazing approach to improving the health and wellbeing of residents has scooped a national award.

Active North Tyneside, which encourages people to get active and healthy, has been recognised by the Royal Society for Public Health as an exemplar of good practice, praising its ‘great holistic health and wellbeing approach’.

The programme, introduced in the borough a year ago by North Tyneside Council’s public health team, with sports and leisure specialists, combines universal activities, such as free swimming for children, youth sports clubs and health walks for adults.

Coun Lesley Spillard, cabinet member for public health, said: “It’s a tremendous accolade for the borough to earn recognition from the Royal Society for Public Health.

“We are very proud of our successful approach to improving the health and wellbeing of residents by supporting them to change behaviours and make healthier choices.”

She added: “In North Tyneside we are committed to doing things differently to tackle the challenges in the borough, and to create a brighter future for our residents.

“The Active North Tyneside approach is built on the commitment to encourage borough residents to ‘move more, live more’. In the long term this will help to improve the health of many residents, particularly in relation to cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

In the first 12 months of Active North Tyneside there were over 46,000 attendances at programmed events.

Attendances at the No Limits free swimming sessions have increased by 62 per cent.

At the Weight Worries programme 70 per cent of people who took part in the programme reduced their weight and 72 per cent said it had increased their self esteem.

Acting Director of Public Health, Wendy Burke said: “Physical activity brings significant benefits for health in terms of both physical and mental wellbeing in North Tyneside we recognised that we needed to do more to support individuals who would benefit most from physical activity, but were not readily accessing the services provided.

“To meet this transformational change the Sports and Leisure service has been refocused to increase participation in physical activity, particularly among some specific communities and groups who are less likely to engage in activity.”

Announcing the awards, Shirley Cramer, CEO of RSPH, said: “The RSPH has a long history of promoting good practice in public health and we are proud of our Health and Wellbeing Awards which provide a stage to celebrate the great work of organisation’s across the country regardless of their sector, size and setting.

“It was an extremely competitive field this year and I would like to congratulate our 2015 winners who are all exemplars of innovative, progressive programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

“I hope that their effective programmes will be adopted and celebrated elsewhere.”