Report highlights ‘legacy’ of Hearty Lives Carrickfergus

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A new report by the British Heart Foundation has highlighted the positive “legacy” of the Hearty Lives programme in Carrickfergus.

The three-year scheme, which concluded with a celebration event in June, received £230,000 of funding from the Foundation.

It was developed to support ways of tackling obesity, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and improve heart health, with a particular focus on women of child-bearing age and families with young children.

It came after a 2011 report recognised cardiovascular disease as the second highest cause of death, after cancer, in the former Carrickfergus borough.

In the latest report, BHF Associate Medical Director Dr Mike Knapton drew attention the “ground breaking” work of the Hearty Lives Carrickfergus team. “They have successfully facilitated the creation of evidence- based interventions to support the development of new and effective ways of highlighting the impact of obesity on women and their families,” he said.

The programme also demonstrated how investment can provide people with the “freedom to come up with new innovative ideas” driven by strong local engagement.

“The collaborative approach taken during the project enabled participants to work effectively, pro-actively and responsibly in partnership with the local community,” Dr Knapton added.

“I hope that the legacy of Hearty Lives Carrickfergus is that this model of engagement, one that embraces innovation and local partnership, leads to the adoption of similar interventions and key learnings in other areas of Northern Ireland.”