Bolton Wanderers new signings Keith Andrews and Andy Lonergan recently undertook their first community commitments as they visited SS Simon and Jude’s Primary School in Bolton to promote the healthy heart message to local children.
The Heart of Football project is being delivered at primary and secondary school across Bolton by Bolton Wanderers Community Trust as part of their Active Families programme which tackles rising health related issues across the borough.
The new addition to the programme is funded by a £9,000 Healthy Heart Grant from national charity Heart Research UK and SUBWAY and aims to improve the health of school children by helping them to acquire the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour that lead to healthy lifestyle choices.
Keith and Andy spent their time with the Year Five pupils at the school and got involved with practical activity sessions which educate the children on how to take care of their heart and how daily exercise can help to encourage good health.
Along with BWCT, the players educated the pupils on how to take their pulse as an indication of how healthy we are before showcasing their hand-eye coordination skills with a target throw game. Keith and Andy then took on the role of Quizmasters as they played a multiple choice game of Corners with the children with all of the answers relating to the knowledge that they have already acquired before rounding of their visit to SS Simon and Jude’s with a question and answer session.
Speaking after his visit, Andy Lonergan said: “As a father myself, it’s reassuring to know that school children are being educated from a young age about the importance of exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. Bolton Wanderers Community Trust are teaching them the basics of good heart health through fun interactive sessions and the kids all seem to be having a great time and really taking a lot from it.”
Keith Andrews echoed his teammate’s sentiments, adding: “As a professional footballer I think it’s vital that we have a prominent role in our local communities and do what we can to give something back to those who support us. It’s been great for Andy and I to come to SS Simon and Jude’s today to pass on our knowledge about taking care of your body and eating the right foods.”
The Heart of Football project will address a lack of knowledge and understanding in the community of the heart and heart related diseases, high levels of inactivity and breaking down the barriers in areas of deprivation.
In Bolton over 50 percent of adults are either overweight or obese, meaning that the town’s life expectancy is two years lower than the average for the UK. This is one of the issues that the project will look to reduce by encouraging children and their families to exercise and giving them the knowledge to understand the importance of exercising.
Barbara Harpham, National Director at Heart Research UK said: “It’s great to see local role models getting involved in helping to spread the Healthy Heart message across the Bolton community. Children need to be educated about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and projects like this are a great way of focusing on heart health in a fun and interactive way.”
For more information on Bolton Wanderers Community Trust and the programmes they deliver, click here