Heart Research UK grant helping people living in Bognor Regis overcome obesity problems

A £9000 grant from national charity Heart Research UK to Obesity UK has been heralded a major success after helping Bognor Regis residents reduce their risk of heart disease.

Obesity is one of the main preventable risk factors for coronary heart disease. Thanks to funding from the Heart Research UK and Subway® Healthy Heart Grant, the ‘Obesity UK Bognor Regis Healthy Hearts’  group has helped those living with obesity in Bognor Regis reduce their risks by eating better, moving more and having a more positive mind-set.  

So far 30 adults have taken part in weekly cycling sessions, eight have taken part in healthy cooking courses and 50 have attended mindset workshops to address the social and emotional barriers that people living with obesity often face.

With three more healthy cooking courses planned in September and October, along with bike maintenance and follow up workshops, the group are well on track to see real health benefits in their lives.

Obesity UK cycling leader Claire Goddard says: “Some of the group are 22 stone, 26 stone, and yet they’ve got out, got on a bike and really given it a go. They’ve overcome their fears, grown in confidence, and if there’s any stigma attached to it, it doesn’t bother them anymore, whereas a year ago it would have done. 

“Quite a few have gone on and bought their own bikes and borrowed bikes. They would have never thought they could cycle six miles or eight miles, and yet they’ve gone on and ridden thirty miles, which is absolutely incredible! 

“So I’m just really grateful that through Heart Research UK and Subway, we’ve been able to offer this course. It really is changing people’s lives, not just now, but this is something they can do week after week and daily and they can now look forward to a healthier, happier future.”

Paul Sharp, who completed all three courses said:  “When I started cycling I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 16, and I’m now 55. I’ve come off a couple of times, but you just pick yourself up, have another go and keep going. That’s the joy of it.

“We’re a bunch of fun people and if you’re having fun doing something, you can go that little bit further. I’m now cycling and swimming every week.”

Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive at Heart Research UK said: “It’s fantastic to work in partnership with a charity that promotes support, not stigma. We’re delighted that The Obesity UK Healthy Hearts programme is having such a positive impact already.

“It’s a great example of what our Healthy Heart Grants are for – empowering communities and individual’s to improve their heart health in enjoyable and sustainable ways.”

The project is funded by a Heart Research UK and Subway® Healthy Heart Grant, which provides up to £10,000 to local community projects, and is made up of donations made in Subway® stores. The money is then reinvested back into the communities, supporting projects aiming to increase the heart health of local residents. Obesity UK Bognor Regis was the beneficiary for the Meridian region.

Grants are available to not-for-profit organisations to deliver new and innovative projects that promote healthy hearts and reduce the risk of heart disease in the community. Projects should demonstrate health initiatives such as cooking skills and healthy eating and should encourage people to move more and promote positive mental wellbeing.

Applications for Meridian region open on 14 August. Visit the Heart research UK website for more details at heartresearch.org.uk/apply-for-grants/healthy-hearts/