A program is going to be introduced in Port Pirie through Uniting Country SA’s Food Hub which will focus on healthy eating, disease prevention and minimising lead absorption for residents.
The FoodHub Health and Wellbeing Project is being made possible by $44,000 of funding which has been granted through the SA Health Towns Challenge.
The funding was announced on Wednesday, alongside five other regional winners and the chief executive officer for Uniting Country SA Anthea Pavy hopes that what the money provides, will give Port Pirie a sustainable program to see into the future.
“What we know in Port Pirie is that we have some higher levels of unemployment, we are on the high level for things like obesity and diabetes and that combined with some of the lead issues that are being worked really hard on by a number of people in the community means that people are not in the best health that they could be in.”
“We are hoping that people will be better educated about nutrition and make healthy choices in terms of the sorts of food they might buy, whether it be at the supermarket or the Food Hub”, Anthea explained.
“We also want to provide, particularly children with nutritious meals and be better educated about good nutrition and health and the long term effects of that.”
The program will involve Food Hub staffed being trained by local dietitians and diabetes educators to teach them healthy eating guidelines that can be passed onto their customers.
In addition, cooking classes will also be held and resources will be developed through the Environmental Health Centre and GP plus on how to eat healthy and on a budget.
An emphasis is also being placed on lead absorption levels, with Anthea acknowledging that it is far greater in children that have not had breakfast and that is something they want to change.
“We will be educating families around the importance of breakfast, so educating them on things that are quick and easy, but also really nutritious and get kids off to a good start for the day”, she explained.
“We will be working with the Environmental Health Centre and GP Plus. The centre monitor the lead levels of children and ensure that they are not increasing.”
The aim of the funding is to give volunteers, families and users of the Food Hub the knowledge on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
They hope that once they have invested in the training and resources, that volunteers will be able to sustain the knowledge and it will be an on-going learning process.
“It is great when we have a whole lot of other things that we can bolt it onto. I think that it is exciting and we have a real opportunity for something that will be sustainable into the future. Once we have all that knowledge put together, it wont be something that is run and forgotten, the information will be maintained and updated, we will keep working with partners. It is a sustainable program for the long term even once the funding has finished”, Anthea said.
Uniting Country SA and the Food Hub have started organising the program for it to be ready in the new year.
If you or someone you know is interested in the program, please contact Uniting Country SA on 1300 067 777.