LiveLife health conference a major success

Date published: 06 March 2008

The LiveLife 2008 health conference and exhibition staged at the Odeon Cinema at Sandbrook Park on Wednesday 5 March was a major success. The event, held in partnership with Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust and Rochdale Council, aimed at improving health in the borough, attracted a large audience throughout the day.

Comedian and television doctor Phil Hammond was one of the star guests; the broadcaster and journalist showed how 'laughter is the best medicine' during his appearance on stage in the afternoon.

Mr Hammond, a registered GP currently practicing in Bristol, has completed a sell out nationwide tour including a four week run at the Edinburgh Festival.  His TV credits include, 'Have I got News for You, 'Trust Me, I'm A Doctor', 'The Motion Show', 'Pillories of the State' and BBC1's 'Heaven and Earth Show'. His new book, 'Medicine Balls' was published in the Autumn.

Coronation Street favourite Antony Cotton, who plays barman and factory worker Sean Tully in the top ITV soap, popped in to meet visitors during the event.

To launch the event, leaders of the PCT and Council signed a 'Statement of Strategic Intent,' committing their organisations to work together to improve the health of people across the borough. 

The morning featured speakers from the Audit Commission and the Patients' Council, who explained why continued connectivity is imperative to improve the health and wellbeing of the population. 

The afternoon and evening provided a full programme of drop-in workshops, along with three seminars on Older People's Provision in the Borough, Mental Wellbeing and 'Beacon' status Healthy Schools initiative.

A wide range of demonstrations was on show, covering all aspects of healthy living, including physical activity, sexual health, healthy eating and oral health.

The day also marked the launch of the new Health Improvement Network for the borough which aims to provide a regular forum for those in the voluntary and public sector to build even better relationships. 

Rachel Snow-Miller from the Primary Care Trust said there was something for everyone: "It was a fun and fantastic opportunity for everyone across the borough to get involved and learn how to live a healthier lifestyle."

The Oldham Theatre workshop performed their new play 'Kiss My Butt', highlighting the dangers and anti social side of smoking. It told the story of Adam O'Reilly, a typical 15-year-old school boy with two loves in his life, smoking and the new girl Hayley Eve. The play has toured local schools with the aim of helping more young people quit - and discourage others from starting.

Exhibitors included New Heart for Heywood, Heywood, Middleton, Rochdale Primary Care Trust, Link4Life, Rochdale Council, Early Break, Partnerships for Older People Projects, Patients Council, Groundwork Oldham and Rochdale and Health Walks Co-ordinator.

Councillor Jean Ashworth attended in the afternoon and said: "I was amazed at the number of people who attended this event. It was packed and had lots of info on offer, including freebies - I was given a digital skipping rope!

"I went into the older people's presentation which was really well attended and gave the public a chance to ask many questions regarding the changes to adult services and many more including transport, etc.

Councillor Ashworth's only criticism was the choice of venue, she said: "It was a bit out of the way, people had to get taxis! Maybe the next one could be held at Touchstones or the Town Hall?"

Margaret Wilson, former vice-chairwoman of Rochdale Pensioners Association, said: "I was there most of the day, it was very well attended, with plenty of information, and Dr Phil Hammond ('laughter is great medicine') was light relief after a morning of information and statistics."

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