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UCLan Health Students Champion Healthy Lifestyles

12 February 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Volunteers commit to public health project

A team of students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been awarded for their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles amongst their peers as part of a Public Health initiative.

The 25 volunteers have been recognised as UCLan Health Champions after completing a Royal Society of Public Health Stage Two qualification in Understanding Health Improvement.

The course, run by the Royal Society of Public Health, is a national programme where individuals are trained to help others by raising awareness of healthy choices, share health messages and give people information about where they can go for help.

“On average people throw away a third of what they buy. We want to show students that by making the most of their leftovers they can eat healthily using simple recipes and save money, which of course all students want to do."

The students, from a variety of courses across the University, took on the challenge in addition to their studies and have committed to at least ten hours of volunteer work as part of the initiative.

Rebecca Diver, a 23-year-old second year Nutrition and Exercise Sciences student, has teamed up with eight others and received £400 funding from the University to run a food waste reduction campaign as part of the UCLan Green Week which runs this week.

She said: “On average people throw away a third of what they buy. We want to show students that by making the most of their leftovers they can eat healthily using simple recipes and save money, which of course all students want to do. During Green Week we’ll also have a smoothie bike on campus so people can use pedal power to blend their own drink.”

“The students are enjoying building real-life experience alongside their academic studies and as the project develops they will contribute to the Healthy University Action Plan delivery.”

The food waste reduction project is one of three set up by the UCLan Health Champions. The other projects are looking at mental wellbeing and involvement in physical activity.

The course and project are run by the School of Health, by Linda Ratinckx, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Sharon Doherty, Healthy University Co-ordinator.

Linda commented: “We’re really proud of the students who have taken part in the course; each one has gone above and beyond what was expected of them and they can now use their new skills to make a difference in the student community.

“The students are enjoying building real-life experience alongside their academic studies and as the project develops they will contribute to the Healthy University Action Plan delivery.”

UCLan’s Healthy University Initiative, which was established in 1995, has developed this two year pilot project through externally funding from Public Health, Lancashire County Council.