$703,000 healthy communities boost for Wollongong

The Commonwealth Government will provide Wollongong City Council with $703,000 in funding to help ensure the people of the City of Wollongong look after their health and lifestyle, Federal Illawarra Labor MP’s, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, announced today.

“This Commonwealth Government funding links a number of health and community based organisations together to help ensure that the local community looks after their health, prevents illness, and maintains a good lifestyle.

“The fact is that the Wollongong community is ageing, daily living means we sometimes forget to eat the right foods, take exercise, and this has an impact on our health, costing us money to visit doctors.

“The Healthy Communities Initiative, under which this funding is provided by the Commonwealth Government, aims to ensure we encourage and maintain a healthy community in Wollongong”, Ms Bird said.

Mr Jones said, “the Healthy Communities Initiative would include installing outdoor fitness equipment in Wollongong’s southern suburbs.

“I look forward to discussing with Wollongong City Council in greater detail just where that new outdoor fitness equipment will be located in the southern suburbs to ensure we meet the greatest need and have the most benefit to encourage healthy living.

“I am really pleased that this funding will bring together a range of health organisations, working with Council, to deliver a healthy city.”

Wollongong City Council’s General Manager, David Farmer, said, “I thank both Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones for their efforts in obtaining this funding.

“Our population is getting bigger around the waist and we must do more to encourage people to be more active in their life and to eat at least five serves of vegetables and have two pieces of fruit each day.

“These are simple messages and the program will allow Council to develop good partnerships with health providers in the city.

“Another important aspect is Council will provide a health and lifestyle program for 15 people of Aboriginal background. This is an important part to enable our Indigenous people gain ideas on healthy living.”

Council will partner with the Illawarra Area Health Service, the Illawarra Division of General Practice, Healthy Cities Illawarra, Multicultural Communities Council of the Illawarra, the National Heart Foundation and the Diabetes Council of Australia.

The program will allow Council to:

  • Employ a Healthy Communities Coordinator to manage the program
  • Purchase outdoor fitness equipment for community land in Wollongong’s southern suburbs
  • Purchase books and DVD resources on healthy living for local libraries
  • Conduct healthy eating and physical activity seminars in local libraries and community centres with the Illawarra Division of General Practice
  • Co-fund an established community development program (Stir It Up) facilitated by the Illawarra Area Health Service and Healthy Cities Illawarra
  • Fund a 12-week exercise and healthy lifestyle education program (Beat It) managed by Council’s Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres in partnership with the Diabetes Council of Australia
  • Provide opportunity for 90 older people of from the city’s multicultural community to participate in a ‘Heartmoves’ physical activity program.

Council will also work with Cycling Australia to provide cycle training including beginner lessons to support riding to work, health fitness or recreation.

The Healthy Communities Initiative funding is provided to Council over a three year period.