DEAs Celebrate Success of ‘Be Active and Smile’ Partnership Programme
‘Be Active and Smile’ is a new mental health and wellbeing initiative that has been developed by the Health and Social Care Trust in partnership with Downpatrick, Rowallane and Slieve Croob DEAs (District Electoral Areas).
The aim of the programme is to support, encourage and provide bespoke physical activity opportunities for people who are inactive. One of its main priorities is to focus on helping clients who suffer from low mood, anxiety and mental health and wellbeing concerns. The ‘Be Active and Smile’ programme encourages lifelong participation in active pursuits to help reduce the risk of developing ill health or a long-term health condition
During the programme of physical activity all participants were set a challenge and asked to take photographs of something that brought a smile to their face. These photographs were presented to all those who took part in the ‘Be Active and Smile’ programme at Down Leisure Centre. Participants were gifted with a framed copy of the photograph they had submitted to take home as reminder which will make them smile every time they look at it.
Vice-Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Oonagh Magennis, who opened the event said, “This is an excellent initiative delivered in partnership with a variety of stakeholders which contributes to the overall mental and physical health of our residents. It is clear from speaking to those present that they have not only enjoyed taking part in the various activities but have also made great friends. I have been very impressed with the quality of the photographs on display and hope that this programme goes from strength to strength in the future.”
As part of the presentation at Down Leisure Centre a series of short film clips were shown of a number of the participants outlining what a positive impact taking part had made to their lives. Attendees were also treated to a reading of a poem prepared by one of the participants on her experience of the programme.
The ‘Be Active for Health’ programme is a Newry, Mourne and Down District Council wide initiative which was commissioned by the Southern and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trusts and is delivered through the Council’s Active and Healthy Communities Directorate. The programme has been running since January 2020 and offers online sessions, virtual walking challenges, safe outdoor exercise and weekly video challenges for participants. The ‘Be Active for Health’ is a referral only programme for adults who have been identified by a health professional.