Luton South Prospective MP Katie Redmond and I were invited for a tour of Inspire: Luton Sports Village by the Chief Executive Helen Barnett. The tour highlighted the wide range of resources available at the Sports Village; from an extensive gymnasium with the latest technology to the pool with a moving floor to enable multiple depths for swimmers. There is something for everyone, whatever age or ability.
As the former Chair of a Health & Wellbeing Partnership (HWP) I can appreciate the role Inspire:Luton Sports Village plays in the local community; both as a community hub but also to support wider health initiatives.
Whilst in my role as Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Partnership, I promoted a collaborative environment between NHS organisations, patient representatives, charitable bodies, councillors and community groups to place wellbeing higher on the agenda. As part of the process we collaboratively identified three priorities for tackling local issues. These were: obesity, mental health and alcohol related harm. I wrote at length about this for the National Local Government Network here.
Facilities such as those provided by Active Luton, are only part of the solution though. Access to outdoor facilities are essential to promote all types of activities from running and walking to cycling. This is why I back the Conservatives continued protection of our rights of way across land and the strengthening of green belt protection.
Access to outdoors for walking is important for medical reasons too. In fact, the Chief Medical Office recommends adults take at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, a week. This helps reduces the risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Across the UK, we are seeing benefits of a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Obesity levels are falling under the Conservatives. Child obesity is now at its lowest level since 1998 and adult obesity is lower now than in 2010. This needs to continue into the future though.
This is why, as your Luton North MP, I will be a champion of health & wellbeing for all residents. This means I will actively facilitate greater collaboration between local political bodies, charities and health organisations. I By doing this, I will fight to ensure facilities, advice and open spaces are available for anyone who wants to maintain or improve their health and wellbeing.
Let me know your views on the current health & wellbeing provisions across Luton North via comments below.