Roll out for healthy eating programme

Calderdale's youth health champions at Crossley Heath School
Calderdale's youth health champions at Crossley Heath School

Every secondary school in Calderdale will take part in a programme designed to improve the health of children.

The Youth Health Champions programme will be rolled out across the borough’s secondary schools from October and encourages young people to promote healthier lifestyles and better food choices within their schools and communities and act as ‘health advisors’ to their peers.

Since December, pupils from Sowerby Bridge High School, Park Lane Learning Trust, Halifax Academy and Crossley Heath School have all gained a qualification from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) – a level 2 Youth Health Champions certificate, equivalent to GCSE.

Students from Park Lane Learning Trust were invited to attend a workshop in London, by the RSPH, to help provide input into the government’s childhood obesity strategy.

The workshop was attended by students from other schools across the country. The Youth Health Champions took part in a discussion and provided input about what they thought could be done to tackle the problem of obesity amongst young people.

Many ideas were put forward, with a student from Park Lane suggesting to put health offers on the back of bus tickets instead of unhealthy fast food offers.

One of the current youth health champions, Zachary Smith, aged 14, from Crossley Heath School, said: “Youth Health Champions has helped me gain confidence and meet new friends. It has also given me opportunities to meet great people and achieve things I did not think I could achieve.”

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for public health and inequalities, Coun Faisal Shoukat, said: “Our youth health champions have made a real impression within their schools, so we want to expand the scheme to all secondary schools to widen the influence and get more young people thinking about their food and where it comes from.”