Since it was discovered in 2009 that Cookstown lost the third highest number of citizens to heart disease [CHD] in Northern Ireland, the Hearty Lives project has reached out to 14,000 locals in an effort to promote healthier living.
The project, which was launched in October of that year, was delivered by the Northern Trust, Public Health Agency and Cookstown Council.
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 - Mark Kelso
Through raising awareness of CHD, risk factors and what can be done to prevent it, Cookstown dropped to eighth place on the deadly scale within just three years.
Celebrating the success of Hearty Lives Cookstown, the council’s director of Environmental Health, Mark Kelso, 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.”
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.”
Hearty Lives worked across 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 also provided training to 70 healthcare practitioners to support them in their job roles.