The success of the Hearty Lives Cookstown project has been celebrated after it emerged that 14,000 people have benefitted from its activities over the last five years.
Premature mortality rates for Coronary Heart Disease in Cookstown have also decreased from a ranking of third highest in 2009 to eighth highest in 2012.
Hearty Lives was established in October 2009 to reduce levels of coronary heart disease (CHD), increase awareness of risk factors and improve uptake of local services. It was delivered by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, the Public Health Agency and Cookstown District Council and funded by the British Heart Foundation.
Florence Hand, Hearty Lives Operational Manager for the Northern Trust, said: “The Trust were delighted to work in partnership with the Council, the BHF and the PHA as it allowed us to integrate the specific skills and services we have in order to make a real impact on the ground. We’re delighted that Hearty Lives has benefitted the community so positively. Not only do people now have the skills and knowledge to prevent heart disease but those people who are living with the condition are better equipped to manage it successfully, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and living longer in their own home.”
Hearty Lives worked across three key strands; in primary care, workplaces and in the community. Activities included out of hours health screening clinics, GP programmes, a heart attack awareness campaign, heart health programmes and clinics, smoking cessation programmes and physical activity programmes. The project targeted workplaces with health fairs, heart attack awareness training and nutritional programmes for canteen staff. The project also provided training to 70 healthcare practitioners to support them in their job roles.
Cookstown District Council area was identified as a priority location due to the high incidence of coronary heart disease.
Mark Kelso, Director of Environmental Health and Building Control, Cookstown District Council, said: “The Hearty Lives Cookstown programme has demonstrated the real benefits of working together to make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our community. The evaluation highlights that Hearty Lives Cookstown has connected those working in health locally and in doing so improved access to the range of services for those most in need. We look forward to further opportunities to work with our partner organisations in engaging with our local communities to improve their health.”