Public Health Agency – Press Release
Thursday 3 June 2010
The launch of Inspiring Communities to get Active Together – the first initiative of the Western Joint Working Programme between the Public Health Agency and Local Government takes place at Strule Arts Centre, Omagh on Thursday 3 June at 10.15am.
The initiative is being launched by the Public Health Agency and four local Councils (Derry, Fermanagh, Omagh and Strabane) in the West of the Province. The new arrangements will help drive forward health improvements and tackle health inequalities in the Western Area.
The focus of Western Joint Working will be physical activity – initially cycling – with a programme of events planned throughout the year under the Inspiring Communities to Get Active Together theme.
Speaking at the launch in the Strule Arts Centre, Dr Elizabeth Mitchell, Deputy Chief Medical Officer said
“There have been significant advances in public health in recent years, with life expectancy rising overall. However, there is still a continuing health gap.
Many people die prematurely every year in Northern Ireland due to preventable illness. As part of the reforms of health and social care (HSC), the strengthening of partnership working between HSC and Local Government to deliver real change in health and wellbeing in communities across Northern Ireland is a key objective. That is what this initiative is all about.”
Ed McClean, Director of Operations, Public Health Agency said: “Significant progress has been made in the last year to put in place new Joint Working arrangements between the Public Health Agency and local Councils. The launch of this initiative is a practical manifestation of this in the Western area. Together we all now have a real opportunity to tackle the major public health challenges that affect our communities, such as obesity and alcohol and drug misuse.”
Minister for the Environment, Edwin Poots MLA in welcoming the launch of the Western Cluster Joint Working partnership said: “I recognise the value of a co-ordinated approach to public service delivery involving all key providers. This initiative between local government and the Public Health Agency is to be commended for its leadership, foresight, and determination to work in partnership to secure better health outcomes for people, and to tackle health inequalities. I am confident that the experience developed and the lessons learned will be invaluable as we prepare for the implementation of Community Planning in Northern Ireland”.
Welcoming the Minister and the partners to the Strule Arts Centre for the launch of the initiative, the Chairman of Omagh District Council, Councillor Patrick McGowan MBE praised the initiative as a progressive step in supporting local communities to tackle health issues.
“We warmly welcome this formalisation of the working arrangements between the Public Health Agency and local government. Today’s launch puts a more formal structure on the valuable co-operative endeavours which have been undertaken for many years.
Olympic Silver Medallist and Double World Champion in Cycling, Wendy
Houvenaghel, said, "I am delighted to support this
initiative and believe it will increase access to sport and physical
activity within the community and it can inspire people of all ages to
take part. I'd encourage everyone to make the most of this exciting
opportunity and get involved in the free events that will be widely
available to all."
For media queries contact:
Margery Magee, Public Health Agency, Ormeau Avenue Unit, Press Office on
Tel: 028 9031 1611or Mob 0779 2948641
Notes to the editor
Notes to editors:
This is one of a number of Joint Working initiatives being established throughout Northern Ireland. While each Joint Working cluster has identified priorities based on local needs, the Western Area have initially selected physical activity as a common corporate agenda which will help address the growing levels of respiratory disease, cancer and coronary heart disease throughout our communities. These have been identified as the three main causes of preventable deaths in the Western Area.
The first of these events will coincide with the National Cycling Campaign “Two Wheels, Two Weeks”, due to begin on Sunday 13th June. With a programme of activities that every individual in the Western Area can access free of charge. Further events will be promoted under the Inspiring Communities to Get Active Together Brand throughout the coming year.