Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Leading the Way for Health

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Leading the Way for Health

Article excerpt

Byline: By Craig Thompson

Government ministers have once again hailed Gateshead as one of the healthiest places in the UK. Craig Thompson finds out how the town has shaken off its past image and got in shape for the 21st Century

The sight of elderly people practising Tai Chi under the Angel of the North came as a surprise to some.

While the launch of the North East's first children's gym left many people a little baffled.

But these are examples of just some of the steps being taken by health bosses in Gateshead who are working to a common goal.

A goal to make people feel fitter, healthier and better about themselves. And it is working.

Just days ago, the work being carried out in Gateshead was once again highlighted as an example which should be followed across the country.

Following a National Beacon Conference, Local Government Minister Phil Woolas made special reference to the work being carried out by Gateshead Council.

He said: "Congratulations to Gateshead Council on achieving Beacon status for Healthy Communities.

"They are working hard to promote better health among local citizens and reduce inequalities in the delivery of health services. Other authorities will be able to learn from their example."

His comments refer to the town's latest accolade in achieving Healthy Beacon Status earlier this year.

Gateshead is fast establishing an excellent reputation as an authority committed to tackling health inequalities through community groups. Thanks to the work now going on, people in the area are living longer and healthier lives.

Malcolm Graham, Cabinet member for Health at Gateshead Council, said: "The work we are doing is, in some cases, years ahead of the rest of the country.

"Some of the schemes other authorities are just now implementing, we have had in place for years. …

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