Last week South West Rocks joined five other NSW towns in launching the Healthy Towns action plan to improve community health and well being.
Program coordinator, Sarah Robin, and South West Rocks project officer Larah Kennedy spoke to the Argus about what Healthy Towns hopes to achieve, and what the next steps for the program are.
"The goal of Healthy Towns is to design and implement local initiatives to help improve community health and wellbeing," Program coordinator, Sarah Robin said. '
"We started by asking South West Rocks residents to suggest what they thought needed to be done to improve community health.
"Funded by the North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN), and in partnership with the South West Rocks community, the launch of the action plan is the result of 18 months of hard work from many different people and groups."
"We conducted 32 face to face consultations and surveyed 409 members of the community during this first stage," project officer Larah Kennedy said.
"81 participants were then brought together with the North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) and service providers for action planning workshops, from this NCPHN, then selected a range of initiatives to implement."
After this process, key priorities were identified, they included affordable and reliable transport, improved pathways, improved access to health services and GP's, better infrastructure for recreation and leisure, and support for young people.
"After the consultation process, Healthy Towns initiatives will be implemented throughout South West Roks, including a Horseshoe Bay Reserve Park run, an Easy Rider Service, and several health-based services," Ms Kennedy said.
"The next step, which will begin in June of next year, involves the stat of an evaluation process, to ensure the initiatives are having a positive effect on the community, and to inform for any future activities."
There are currently six communities who received $220,000 for local projects as part of the Healthy Town program. Aside from South West Rocks, Woolgoolga, Casino, Evans Head, Lake Cathie and Maclean all implemented their own local programs.
At the moment there are no solid plans for more towns to join the original six, however, program coordinator, Sarah Robin hopes that more will participate in the future.
"We haven't chosen the next town yet, but the hope is upon the success of the initiatives in the six communities, there will be more added in the future," she said.
For more information about the Healthy Towns program head over to the website by clicking here.
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