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Champions tackle poor health

Published on:

05 August 2016

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A determined effort to tackle and improve the health of people living in the most deprived parts of the borough is being organised by Enfield Council.

A determined effort to tackle and improve the health of people living in the most deprived parts of the borough is being organised by Enfield Council.

The initial focus is on five wards where life expectancy is lower than the Enfield and London averages. The council is now encouraging volunteers to come forward as health champions to promote healthy lifestyles.

In these wards: Upper Edmonton, Enfield Lock, Chase, Jubilee and Ponders End life expectancy for men is 72.8 years, and for women it is 80 – that is 7.7 years lower for men and 4.1 years lower for women compared to the London averages of 80 for men and 84.1 for women.

But it is not all about life expectancy. Improving health is also about leading a healthy life for many years and about children growing up knowing how to maintain good health.

The recent launch of the 'Move More' campaign is about getting children and adults to be more active – walking where possible, making small regular lifestyle changes that improve health. For children (5 – 18) the advice is that at least 60 minutes of activity on a daily basis is necessary to achieve what are substantial health benefits.

The 'Move More' campaign forms part of the Enfield 2020 sustainability programme, encouraging residents to use Enfield's open spaces and improve their health by being active.

Getting more active has a huge number of health benefits such as weight loss, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia, heart disease and stroke.

Cllr Krystle Fonyonga, Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Public Health, said: "We want to recruit 45 health champions to volunteer a few hours every week meeting local people in their community centres, shopping centres, children's centres, job centres and clubs to provide advice and information to improve their health.

"We are looking for people aged over 18 who are enthusiastic, willing to learn, and able to commit to volunteering for 16 hours a month for at least six months, as well as doing some training.

"This is a big challenge – but if we can harness their energy and enthusiasm this will make a huge difference to the health of the people living in these wards."

Health Champions must complete the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) Level 2 Award – 'Understanding Health Improvement' for their role which focuses on: promoting physical activity; healthy eating (achieving and maintaining a healthy weight); smoking cessation and reducing alcohol intake.

They will support the Enfield NHS Health Checks and Health Trainer programmes by identifying individuals who are interested in making healthier lifestyle choices and signposting them to appropriate services.

Health champions will encourage people who are not registered with a GP to become registered and know where to access local service information.

Cllr Fonyonga added: "Health champions are going to be real Enfield Heroes encouraging people to embrace good health with improved lifestyles; registering at a GP surgery; taking part in health programmes; enjoying the open air, eating well and feeling good.

"I know that there are some amazing people in Enfield who will come forward to help us with this great project. Volunteers will also benefit personally as they will obtain a qualification from the Royal Society of Public Health along with a reference from the council, and a referral to the Enfield Jobs Net if they are looking for paid employment."

Applications to become a Health Champion should be emailed to Williamz Omope with a CV and letter outlining your strengths and interest in this project. You can also call him for an informal chat on 020 8379 6506.

If you don't have a CV you can attend the Ordnance Road Unity hub and register with the Job Club for support to prepare one. They are open every Monday from 10am to 1pm at 645 Hertford Rd, Enfield EN3 6ND - 020 8379 2688.

Interview date: 31 August 2016.

Health facts

About 25.5% (18,535) of children under 16 lived in poverty in 2013, which is significantly higher than the average for England (18.8%).

In Year 6 (age 10/11) 41.4% (1,565) of children were overweight or obese which is significantly higher than the average for England (33.2%). Figures for 2014/15.

In 2012, 26.4% of adults were classified as obese.

Local priorities

Priorities in Enfield include tackling childhood obesity, reducing the gap in life expectancy, reducing infant mortality and improving diagnosis of high blood pressure; genetically inherited high cholesterol and diabetes.

Volunteering in Enfield

For more general information about volunteering visit Enfield Heroes.