Maya Spannari, tells us about the local Move, Eat, Live Well program which will help to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in our community…
Hi Maya. What is your role with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council?
My new role with Council is the Healthy Communities Coordinator, funded through the Australian Government’s Healthy Communities Initiative to deliver the local Move, Eat, Live Well program. My role is a program management role that is focused on program development and delivery, promotion and referral, partnership development, policy development, reporting to the funding agency and evaluation.
What is the Move Eat Live Well program, and what led to it becoming established in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area?
The Move, Eat, Live Well program is an exciting initiative that builds on a previous program that Council delivered through 2009-2011. Through this initial program we delivered a wide range of activities that proved to be extremely popular and effective at engaging the community in healthy lifestyle activities. So you may have seen the Move Eat Live Well logo, website and promotional material before.
The funding through the Healthy Communities Initiative is an opportunity to build on the success of the previous Move Eat Live Well program. The Australian Government developed the Healthy Communities Initiative to help reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity, by maximising the number of adults engaged in physical activity and healthy eating programs.
We will be delivering a broad range of free activities for people who meet the program criteria. The activities will include a series of:
• 10 week Heart Moves Programs
• 10 week HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Lifestyle) programs
• 12 week Losing it in the Bush programs in close partnership with the North Coast Area Health Service and HEAL, specifically targeting rural communities
• 10 week HEAL programs specifically for the Birpai Aboriginal Lands Council and Aboriginal community
• Heart Foundation walking groups and development of walk leaders in partnership with the Heart Foundation Area Coordinator
• Cooking classes and demonstrations, teaching people about nutrition, reading labels, diet, practical cooking sessions, and storing food safely
• Installation of fixed exercise equipment at Town Beach, complemented by instructional sessions run by accredited trainers.
• A Healthy Communities BBQ challenge, which will work with prominent community leaders to have a cook off’ with the winner cooking the healthiest BBQ options
• Promotion of our local community gardens, including Apex Park (Laurieton), Kendall Community Centre ‘Global Garden’, Wauchope Neighbourhood Centre community garden and the soon to come Port Macquarie Community Garden
• Linking with and promoting a range of local, state and national health initiatives, such as the Get Active Coaching service, Swap it Campaign, Healthy Living Network, Tomorrow People, Healthy Food Fast cookbooks and much more.
The best thing is that activities will run across the area, including Laurieton, Wauchope, Port Macquarie and rural villages (for example, our first rural programs will be running in Kendall and Rollands Plains), making it easier to access the program. All program activities will be delivered by professionally accredited and experienced trainers, including dieticians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and fitness leaders.
The REASONS WHY …
The Port Macquarie-Hastings area has one of the largest ageing populations in Australia, and we also have higher than average rates of chronic disease factors, such being overweight, high blood pressure, respiratory illness and Type 2 diabetes. The area also has higher than average risk factors related to social and financial disadvantage, and this is why the program is targeted at adults who are not in the workforce.
What members of the community is the program aimed towards?
The program is targeting adults over the age of 18 and predominately not in the workforce and at risk of chronic disease. This can include students, carers, new parents, retirees, veterans, long term unemployed, casual and part-time employees, people who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and people with a disability.
What does Council hope the program will achieve locally?
We hope that as many local residents take up this opportunity to:
• Increase awareness of the importance of physical activity and healthy eating
• Access the proven and appropriate physical activity, healthy eating and healthy lifestyle programs
• Increase participation in these community based programs for those predominantly not in the paid workforce
• Utilise resources currently available through local government, the community, the commercial fitness industry and non government health sector.
Move Eat Live Well was officially launched in June. What happened on the day, and what kind of reception did the program receive?
The official launch was held on 13 June and commenced with a Heart Foundation walk along the breakwall and Town Beach (fortunately, the drenching rain held off for us) with a guest appearance by Eric the Blue Man from the Swap it Campaign and representatives from Heart Foundation Walking, Heart Moves and HEAL programs.
We then held a healthy breakfast followed by a Welcome to Country by Aunty Rita Lattimore, and formal speeches by Federal Member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott, Tony Hayward General Manager for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, and Rebecca Radonovic from the Healthy Living Network.
The program launch has been well received, and registrations are flowing in thick and fast.
We already have two completely full programs and others are filling quickly, so if you are interested, register as soon as you can. Having said that, if programs are full, don’t worry − we will get you onto a waiting list for future programs and events.
What are the costs involved for participants?
Program activities will be free for people over 18 who hold a pension, student, veterans, seniors, or health care card. If you don’t hold one of these cards, we can still refer you to a provider; alternatively, if you have a chronic disease, your General Practitioner can also refer you to programs.
Please explain what the ‘PassPort to Success’ is and how it will work to benefit community members?
Each participant will receive a ‘PassPort to Success’, which is an incentive scheme to encourage people to complete more than two activities of the program. There is a points based system, and the PassPort must be stamped and signed to accrue points, which can be used to receive a gift and go into a draw to win prizes.
What are some of the other key benefits community members will receive by becoming involved with Move Eat Live Well?
• Feeling better both physically and mentally
• Social connections and fun – getting to meet new people and enjoying the programs
• An increased awareness of healthy eating and importance of physical activity
• Access to physical infrastructure such as community gardens (grow healthy food locally) and fixed exercise equipment.
Interview by Jo Atkins.