A new drive to encourage organisations to work together and improve the health and wellbeing of Harlow residents has been backed by local Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike MBE.
Anne, a wheelchair racer who represented Team GB, attended last Wednesday’s (25 July) launch of the Harlow Health and Wellbeing Partnership Strategy held in the Town Park. The strategy is a 10-year plan which sets out a vision and priorities for the provision of healthy lifestyle promotion in the town.
Harlow has a bright future and is undergoing an important period of change, with the ongoing development of the Enterprise Zone and Public Health England soon to be making Harlow its home. Whilst this shows the potential the town has, more needs to be done to improve the health and wellbeing of Harlow’s residents. The ageing population, low levels of physical activity and a high rate of diabetes in the area compared to the national average are all issues that Harlow faces.
Commenting on the strategy, Anne said:
“I am grateful to those who have put in the time and commitment to creating this strategy.
“I am excited about this because it highlights several solutions under one detailed strategy geared towards creating opportunities to a healthy lifestyle. A healthy town is a happy town and I urge Harlow residents to embrace this and commit. I also appeal for more accessible venues and facilities in our town so the disabled and the elderly are not left behind.”
The new strategy aims to address these health inequalities and outlines what needs to be done to ensure that residents lead healthy and active lives.
The strategy will be guided by four main priorities:
- “Startwell” – giving children and young people access to the early help they need to have the best start in life, eat well, enjoy good mental health and be ready for school.
- “Bewell, Staywell, Workwell” – ensuring that working-age adults can lead healthy and active lifestyles, and to work in environments that support good health and wellbeing.
- “Agewell” – giving adults who are 65 and above the ability to live safe, healthy and independent lives for as long as possible.
- “Physical Activity and Mental Health” – enabling all residents to lead active and fulfilling lives through healthy lifestyles and good mental health.
The launch event was opened by Councillors Maggie Hulcoop (Chair of Harlow Council), Ian Beckett (Chair of the Harlow Health and Wellbeing Board) and Eugenie Harvey (Portfolio Holder for Community and Wellbeing). Speakers included Jason Fergus from Active Essex, Luke Lowrie of the Red Balloon Foundation, Jemma Mindham from Rainbow Services, Maureen Pearman from Harlow Council and Ian Merrill from Spice Time Credits.
The speakers provided information on the strategy and some of the initiatives that are being launched for organisations with an interest in health and wellbeing activities.
The event also included opportunities for members of the public to get involved in local health and wellbeing activities, such as walking football, and find out more about support services.
Councillor Eugenie Harvey, Portfolio Holder for Community and Wellbeing, said:
“It is my sincere hope, that through this strategy every resident in Harlow will have the opportunity to experience the benefits of exercise and healthy living, and a sense of wellbeing from taking part in community-based activities. We will be working to promote the numerous sports clubs, classes, volunteering groups, gyms and community-run events; we’ll run workshops for clubs and organisations to help them boost their memberships and improve their operations; we’re inviting the volunteering sector to become a part of Active Harlow and support activities around health and wellbeing, and we’ll be pressing for national governing bodies for sport and other similar organisations to deliver sports-specific coaching opportunities.
“I will also be leading on putting together a Health and Wellbeing Champions programme, through which we’ll give residents the chance to apply to take part in an exciting, year-long supported programme of activities. These champions will then help to further promote health and wellbeing initiatives within the local community.
“Harlow has a wealth of opportunities to support local residents’ health and wellbeing and this is all about making sure those opportunities are taken up and more residents get out and about our enjoy what Harlow has to offer."
For more information on the organisations who contributed during the event, please visit:
Active Essex – www.activeessex.org
The Red Balloon Foundation – www.rbf.org.uk
Rainbow Services – http://rainbowservices.org.uk
Spice Time Credits – www.justaddspice.org