Action to prevent town heart deaths

Volunteer health mentors Lucy Brothwood, Tony Winter, Jennifer Evans and Christine Mahdavi at the health information point in Lancashire Cardiac Centre, Blackpool.

Volunteer health mentors Lucy Brothwood, Tony Winter, Jennifer Evans and Christine Mahdavi at the health information point in Lancashire Cardiac Centre, Blackpool.

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THE battle to prevent more people dying from heart disease has been given a £100,000 boost.

British Heart Foundation (BHF) has awarded the cash to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It will be used to help people living in some of the poorest areas of the town where death rates from heart disease are among the highest in the country.

The funding, part of the BHF’s UK-wide Hearty Lives programme, will enable volunteers to go out into the community to urge residents to adopt healthier lifestyles.

They will tackle issues such as smoking, obesity and alcoholism.

Shirley Hall, of the BHF Hearty Lives Programme, said: “We are delighted to be working with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the Hearty Lives Blackpool project.

“We believe the best way to tackle heart health inequalities is to empower communities to make sustainable change for themselves.

“We hope people in Blackpool see significant health improvements as a result of this investment.”

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Although over the last 10 years, early death rates from cancer, heart disease and strokes have fallen in Blackpool, they remain higher than the national average for England.

According to the latest figures, in an average year, 239 men and women in Blackpool will die due to heart disease. In Fylde, this figure is 131, and in Wyre 200.

Life expectancy for both men and women living in Blackpool is lower than the England average.

Life expectancy is 13.3 years lower for men and 8.3 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of the resort compared to the least deprived areas of the country.

Rachel Swindells, public health facilitator at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be part of a nationwide Hearty Lives programme.

“We recognise there is a great deal to do in terms of increasing the health of our local population and the BHF grant will go a long way in helping us to achieve this.”

The award in Blackpool is part of the BHF’s £11m nationwide Hearty Lives programme, which is the first time the heart charity has worked in partnership with local NHS services and local authorities to tackle geographical inequalities in heart disease.

There are now 31 Hearty Lives projects around the UK and more are planned for later this year.

Among the initiatives are moves to encourage people to become more active.

Fylde residents are being urged to improve their health and support the work of the BHF by taking part in the Manchester to Blackpool Night Ride on September 29 and 30. Cyclists will ride along a 52 mile starlit route arriving at Blackpool for sunrise under the Illuminations.

For more information visit bhf.org.uk/m2b.