South coast charity receives Heart Research UK grant to inspire young people about heart health

A youth-led not-for-profit organisation that works in communities along the south coast of England has been awarded a £9,600 grant from national charity Heart Research UK to educate young people about how to look after their hearts.

Blueprint 22, which works with 16-25-year-olds from Brighton to Bognor Regis, has been awarded the grant to deliver their ‘Hand on Your Heart’ programme, an information and activity project seeking to support local teenagers and young adults to learn about how to improve their heart health.

Research by the group with local young people showed that the main issues affecting them were unhealthy foods, smoking-related problems and a sedentary lifestyle. It also showed that many young adults were unlikely to ditch these habits because they didn’t understand why and how these issues were causing long term harm to their hearts.

The project will begin with a healthy heart consultation, where 150 young people will be asked their views on heart health. Together they will then design an eight-week programme, which will provide fundamental knowledge in an inspiring and engaging style.

This will be followed by a six-month programme of healthy heart challenges, culminating in a celebratory awards event, subsidised by funds in memory of a member’s auntie who passed away from heart failure.

Sarah Mirfin, Healthy Heart Coordinator at Heart Research UK said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting such an inspirational group of young people. They blew us away at the panel meeting with their understanding of why it’s so important to make the right choices now to help protect our hearts in the future.

“The ‘Hand on Your Heart’ project is a unique and engaging project that gets right to the core of heart disease. We thank the group of young people at Blueprint 22 for their hard work, dedication and innovative ideas. We also couldn’t be doing this without the support of the Subway stores and customers in Meridian who have donated to help make this happen.”

Veronica Carver, Youth & Community Manager at Blueprint 22 said: “We’re proud of all of our young people and their enthusiasm to live a full and healthy life. What is really exciting about this project is that it’s led by the people that it is aiming to help, meaning that the information and activities provided will be extremely accessible, relevant and practical.

“We are delighted to receive this funding from Heart Research UK and Subway which will allow us to put into action our vision of enabling young people in the area to gain a better understanding of how the heart works and how to look after it. Thank you to both Heart Research UK and Subway.”