Health and fitness levels set to soar thanks to pilot scheme

Beech Hill Schools student wardens kick-off the Healthy Living Park programme with a planting session in Peoples Park on Tuesday.

Beech Hill Schools student wardens kick-off the Healthy Living Park programme with a planting session in Peoples Park on Tuesday.

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A pilot scheme to improve people’s physical health and mental wellbeing started in Halifax’s People’s Park this week.

The Healthy Living Park project will see local community and voluntary organisations holding a range of fun activities for children, young people and adults over the summer, including football, rugby, mini-tennis, athletics and cycling events.

There will also be general keep-fit sessions, including circuit training and fitness classes, ideal for those looking to explore different ways to get fit with their friends, particularly for people who don’t like the idea of going to the gym.

Activities designed to improve mental health and wellbeing include singing and dancing events for people with dementia and their carers.

Schools and community groups are also getting involved, with gardening sessions and wildlife awareness walks planned to introduce children to everything Calderdale’s parks have to offer.

The pilot scheme is funded by a Health Connections Grant, provided by NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), administered by Community Foundation for Calderdale.

Dr Majid Azeb, a GP at Southowram Surgery and member of Calderdale CCG’s governing body said: “This is a great example of how the NHS in Calderdale is working alongside voluntary and community groups to give local people the opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing. At Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group we’re bringing Care Closer to Home by making more medical services available in communities across Calderdale, but we’re also investing in schemes to improve people’s understanding of their own health and how illnesses can be prevented.

“I grew up very close to People’s Park and it’s fantastic to see it being used to encourage people get active and have fun.”

The Healthy Living Park programme is managed by Yorkshire-based social enterprise Your Back Yard, which specialises in community led regeneration projects.

Tony Mullin, Director of Your Back Yard said: “We are delighted to be launching our pilot Healthy Living Park project at People’s Park, which we hope will be the first of many. Parks are great resources for local communities, and using them to help people become more physically active and improve their health is at the core of what we want to achieve with this initiative.

“We aim to help bring new vitality to People’s Park and other parks in the North of England by showing people in a very practical way how beneficial to good health green spaces can be. All activities are free of charge and we would like encourage people from across Calderdale to come down and enjoy People’s Park this summer”

Coun Faisal Shoukat, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Inequalities, said: “We’re backing this great scheme as part of our ‘Active Borough Calderdale’ work to inspire people to live healthy, happy lives by moving more and making healthier choices. Our ambition is to become the most active borough in the north of England. We urge people to get down to the brilliant People’s Park and take part in these fun activities, as well as the many other exciting ways to move more in Calderdale.

“We’ll soon be expanding our website, http://healthy.livingcalderdale.co.uk, to include more community activities like these. Being physically active benefits everyone – even if you’re a healthy weight it can help reduce the risk of illness.”

Information about all activities taking place as part of the Healthy Living Park pilot this summer will be posted on the Healthy Living Park Facebook page: www.facebook.com/healthylivingpark