Inspiring Blackpool Altogether

The unparalleled Altogether Now – a Legacy for Blackpool partnership programme is continuing to tackle the town’s health challenges with the aid of a number of high profile Health Ambassadors.

Now the partnership programme is delighted to welcome Blackpool FC Manager, Neil McDonald, as its new Health Ambassador for Physical Activity.

Neil’s involvement is just one element of Blackpool FC’s continued commitment to the partnership programme, which sees the local NHS (Clinical Commissioning Group and Hospitals Trust) working very closely with the club and Blackpool Council to inspire, encourage and support local people to be more proactive and take more responsibility for the way in which they choose to live.

All 2015/16 Blackpool FC squad members are Altogether Now Health Champions, helping to spread the word about the all-inclusive programme in the community. The team will also showcase their support for the programme by wearing specially designed Altogether Now training shirts during their warm-ups ahead of every game this season.

Upon the announcement of his Health Ambassador role, Neil had this to say: “Being involved with football for many years as I have, I understand how important it is to incorporate regular physical activity into your lifestyle. Altogether Now is encouraging local people in Blackpool to do this and I am very pleased to be involved with such a great, inspiring partnership.”

'Welcome' Match Day Programme 1 JPEG

Physical Activity is one of the four Tangerine Targets under Altogether Now. These are key areas in which reforms have to be made if the health of people in Blackpool is to improve. Each Tangerine Target has a high profile Health Ambassador from the world of sport. Alongside Neil, the others include:

  • Paralympian Shelly Woods — Health Ambassador for Lifestyle
  • Vice-Captain of Lancashire County Cricket Club Steven Croft — Health Ambassador for Childhood Health
  • Football legend Jimmy Armfield CBE — Health Ambassador for Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Tangerine Targets are underpinned by eight health priorities for the town. These are smoking; heart disease/stroke; substance misuse; alcohol abuse; mental health; sexual health; childhood obesity; and cancer.

Boxer, Brian ‘The Lion’ Rose, is also Health Ambassador for the award winning healthy lifestyles initiative – Fit2Go – which is delivered through the partnership programme by Blackpool FC Community Trust in every one of the town’s primary

Delivery of the six-week programme will restart once again when the new school term begins in September with all Year 4 pupils receiving a programme of increased physical activity and health education that includes:

  • Healthy lifestyle classroom based sessions
  • Physical activity sessions organised around the school day
  • Extracurricular sessions after school
  • Family health workshops
  • Free community based physical activity sessions
  • Fit2Go celebration festivals and quizzes at Bloomfield Road

The ultimate aim of Fit2Go is to encourage children to lead healthier lives, take part in regular physical activity and to join in with local sports clubs and community programmes to ultimately improve their overall health and wellbeing. Results have
shown that 96.5 per cent of participants have increased their knowledge of a healthy lifestyle.

Year 4 pupils at Norbreck Primary Academy are just a small number of those to benefit. Miss Levy, Year 4 Teacher, said: “Fit2Go had a really positive impact on 4L. They regularly talk about exercise and the healthy choices they have been making. Fit2Go was delivered extremely well and the children loved it! Less confident students now seem more enthusiastic and motivated when taking part in P.E.”

Building on the success of Fit2Go, Family Fit2Go and High School Fit2Go programmes have also been launched by Blackpool FC Community Trust under the banner of Altogether Now, further spreading the message about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

Ashley Hackett, Head of Community at Blackpool FC Community Trust said: “Fit2Go has been a real success story for us as a Trust but is just one of the many projects on which we work with local primary and high schools. We deliver a large amount of projects across many local communities, from targeting 5 year olds, to as far as delivering projects to over 50s.

All our work is delivered through the Altogether Now – a Legacy for Blackpool partnership which has enabled us to become an important strategic partner in activity provision across Blackpool and deliver projects with a real impact. Working together we are inspiring people in Blackpool to live better lives.”

Notes to editors:

For further information about this press release please call the communications team on 01253 956594.