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UCLan project secures funding to help upskill gym and leisure employees

Posted on - 29th August, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Health, Preston News, UCLan, University
Man at gym
Leisure workers will be able to deliver workplace health screenings

A Lancashire based project to make employees’ lives healthier has received national funding.

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Active Lancashire and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have joined forces to lead a programme to upskill gym and leisure centre employees, so they are qualified to conduct health screenings within workplaces.

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The ground-breaking project, which forms part of a broader initiative titled Business Health Matters, will help to better identify ways in which employees and employers can start to address conditions like back pain, poor mental health or diabetes before they become life limiting or impact people’s ability to live healthy lives as they age.

Additional benefits will include sustained employment and increased productivity.

Active Lancashire will collaborate with UCLan on the project
Active Lancashire will collaborate with UCLan on the project

Adrian Leather, Chief Executive of Active Lancashire, said: “We have not seen this innovative approach to workplace health on a scale like this in Lancashire or elsewhere in the UK before.

“We are leading on something truly original and believe our Business Health Matters scheme will have a huge positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the county’s workforce.”

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UCLan’s School of Medicine has already developed a screening tool which will enable leisure services’ staff to administer the screening process, which is consistent with the national screening programme currently provided by general practitioners.

This screening tool will be coupled with a suite of mental and physical health interventions that can support working aged individuals.

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Professor StJohn Crean, UCLan Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), said: “The project has the potential to reduce demand on GP services, engage a new workforce in the delivery of health-related services at a time of shortages of trained health staff and reduce demand on high cost acute services.

“We are delighted to be collaborating on the ground-breaking programme and we look forward to working with leisure professionals throughout Lancashire.”

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The scheme is being supported by a wide range of interested bodies including the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the county’s Chambers of Commerce, the North West Coast Innovation Agency, Lancashire Mind, Sport England, UK Active and Lancashire County Council.

Steve Fogg, Chair of the Lancashire LEP, commented: “This is a fantastic
partnership which is bringing together so many of the county’s major organisations.

“The desire for all to work collaboratively to help the lives of Lancashire people is tremendous.”

The project, which will receive nearly £65,000, is one of only seven throughout the country which has received Government funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s industrial strategy challenge fund for healthy ageing.

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How do you feel about the Business Health Matters scheme? Tell us in the comments below.

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