Experts from The Points4Life Scheme – a collaborative effort between the NHS and Manchester City Council – are in Belfast today to discuss how the scheme could be piloted in Northern Ireland thanks to a partnership between the UKCRN Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI) and Business in the Community.
At today’s event, community representatives and health experts will discuss the potential for the Manchester model to be developed in East Belfast, and how the area’s regeneration through the Connswater Community Greenway initiative offers clear opportunities for encouraging and improving levels of physical activity.
Professor Frank Kee, from Queen’s University Belfast, Director of the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI), said: “We hope that a pilot scheme in the Connswater area could work in the same way as many of the well-known loyalty schemes in the market today and along similar lines to the Points4Life scheme in Manchester. Members of the public who join the scheme would use their loyalty card to collect points which could be redeemable for “healthy” products and services. Local businesses in the East Belfast community could also benefit from having increased interaction with local customers”.
“If we are to meet the challenges posed by the rising tide of obesity, at a community level we must increase our levels of physical activity. Though public health practitioners are showing the necessary leadership, the challenge requires concerted action across all sectors. Creating a platform for incentive-based loyalty card schemes for positive behaviour change will, hopefully, deliver lessons applicable across the UK and Ireland”.
Business in the Community, through its Business Action on Health campaign, is working with employers to improve workforce health – both as a benefit to the business and to wider society.
Tanya Kennedy, Workplace Director with Business in the Community said “People spend more than a third of their time at work, so it makes sense to communicate with them through the workplace about the benefits of good health and wellbeing.
“Physical activity is a key aspect of wellbeing and if we can find innovative ways to engage employees and incentivise them to improve their fitness through loyalty schemes such as this – we have a duty to explore them further and learn from good practice in other areas.”
To find out more about the Points4Life scheme, visit http://www.points4lifeojeu.co.uk/index.php
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