Council and army join forces for healthy living fair

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St Helens Council recently partnered up with the local 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery to hold a Healthy Living Fair for Army Reserve Armed Forces personnel at Prescot Road’s Jubilee Barracks.

The purpose of the annual fair – arranged by Captain Harry Smedley, Regimental Operations Support Officer, and supported by the council’s Healthy Living Team and other health partners – is to encourage soldiers and their families to stay well both physically and mentally.

To do so, the Army’s seven pillars of healthy living were addressed, consisting of injury prevention; mental wellbeing; oral health; sexual health; nutrition; smoking prevention and cessation; and substance misuse.

Motivation was a primary aim, with event-goers encouraged to make positive behaviour changes, and information was plentiful on local health services.

The fair was also an opportunity to provide health checks to identify health risks, and improve collaboration between the Armed Forces and local health organisations.

Capt Smedley said: "This was the first time that the Regiment and St Helens Council have collaborated to jointly produce a Healthy Living Fair.

“I believe it was a great success from the perspective of what St Helens Public Health and partners have delivered, and I look forward to working with St Helens Council in the future."

Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing was present at the event.

She said: “The event was really well received, and I’m grateful to everyone who supported it. It was interesting to learn the kinds of health concerns that are specific to a Royal Artillery regiment, such as hearing impairment, and we’ll look to address these as we build on the event going forward.”

Other organisations present included Mindsmatter St Helens; St Helens Adult and Community Learning; Go Active; SAMS (Armed Forces Community Group); ABL Health (weight management specialist); St Helens CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group); Healthwatch St Helens; Smokefree St Helens Service; Creative Alternatives (Arts on Prescription); CGL (substance misuse service); St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS (sexual health).