A GROUP of adults from Cookstown with learning disabilities completed an action packed 12 week programme encouraging them to improve their heart health.
The programme consisted of a range of activities including exercise and interactive learning opportunities to raise awareness about their heart health and the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet and leading an active lifestyle.
The Hearty Lives Cookstown Learning Disability Heart Health Programme, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, was provided by staff from the Learning Disability Team in the Northern Health & Social Care Trust (NHSCT) working in partnership with Cookstown District Council and British Heart Foundation (BHF) Northern Ireland funded Hearty Lives Cookstown project.
Hearty Lives is a programme aimed at addressing heart health inequalities in Cookstown, an area known to have high incidences of coronary heart disease (CHD).
At the celebration event for the Hearty Lives Cookstown Learning Disability Programme Toni Caulfield, Health Care Facilitator for adults with learning disability said: “Coronary heart disease is the second most common cause of death amongst people with a learning disability; for the third year running this heart health initiative has provided an excellent opportunity for Northern Trust staff to form valuable and sustainable partnerships with local district Council and BHF Northern Ireland.
“The programme is designed to specifically meet the individual needs of people with a learning disability and aims to develop the participants understanding of what coronary heart disease is as well as to explore the principles of healthier lifestyle choices”.
Councillor Tony Quinn chairman of Cookstown District Council added: “This is a wonderful example of partnership working between Hearty Lives Cookstown, NHSCT and Cookstown District Council, resulting in the delivery of a very enjoyable programme for everyone involved.”
All organisations involved in the programme believe this to be a very motivating and enjoyable programme.
Active Communities Coach for People with Disabilities Kathleen Brogan praised the innovative programme
“The Heart Health Learning Disability Programme has proved very popular,” she said.
“It provides a great chance for people with disabilities to get involved in physical activity and fitness in a safe and fun environment, as well as an opportunity to make new friends”.
This innovative partnership programme received accolades both regionally and nationally as the winner of the BHF National Award for Partnership Working at The BHF National Awards in Birmingham in November 2012.