Happy & Healthy Lifestyles

FESP Happy & Healthy Lifestyles Page Image 1

Dr Sarah Arun, Cardiology lead for Furness, approached FESP in 2016 with concerns about the number of heart related health issues in the Furness area.  She decided that the best way to tackle this would be to prevent people from getting heart diseases through the concept of Happy and Healthy Lifestyles.  This was an innovative collaborative project between FESP primary schools and the NHS. This provided workshops for pupils who then returned to their schools to devise their own health based projects within their school and communities.

aims & objectives

FESP Happy & Healthy Lifestyles

In year 6 the percentage of children measured as obese in Barrow is higher than the national figure and it is the second highest in Cumbria

Barrow Obesity Profile 2014

2019-2021 School Project

Living in Lockdown – Our Children Remember

Due to Covid-19 restrictions it was agreed that funding could be repurposed to create and publish a book which would support the focus for this year’s project – children’s mental health.

FESP Project Managed the design and publication of the book ‘Living in Lockdown – Our Children Remember’ (2000 copies).

The eleven participating schools were really excited to work together to publish a book, by their children, for other children, reflecting on their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the project was funded by Millom & Barrow Primary Care Network (NHS) it gave the children the opportunity to work with health care professionals, and teachers, to share their feelings about this time.

This was a very unusual time for our children and it was hoped that by sharing their experiences, it would help other children explore their own feelings and to give them ideas for things to do to stay positive in challenging situations.

Children’s names, ages and schools were printed in the book, but their surnames were not be used.

During the course of this project a number of different sessions took place with the children:

  • Chatter Cafe
  • Fishes and Wishes
  • Stars
  • Boat of Hope


The book represents the childrens thoughts, feelings and experiences of Covid, where life has been difficult, which changes were hardest for them and what losses did they feel the most. It also shows the different ways they coped and perhaps enjoyed life during this time, the new things they learned that helped them, and what experiences helped.

A copy of the book was gifted to all schools in the three towns, as a resource to help other children explore their own feelings about this time and share with them ideas about things to do to stay positive when things are a bit difficult.

The book is a positive local legacy resource as an outcome of a challenging international crisis.

Furness Education and Skills Partnership (FESP)Living in lockdown book

2018/2019 School Projects

355 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from 10 Barrow primary schools are involved in the 2019 Happy and Healthy Lifestyle Project – #iWill Make A Difference. This year the event was supported by Barrow Police, The Well and Morecambe Bay Health Trust.

The 2018/19 scheme, with the theme of Substance Abuse, was officially launched during an event at Furness College on Friday 1st March with workshops on smoking, vaping, alcohol misuse, drug abuse and county lines. 

FESP Happy & Healthy School Projects Image

Pupils from the 10 primary schools taking part then designed posters to help raise awareness of the organisations that can help people with problems related to smoking, alcohol and drugs. These were judged by Maxine Baron, ICC Development Lead for Barrow who choose the winning designs which were displayed in locations around Barrow.

The winning posters were announced at a celebration event and poster exhibition held at the Believe in Barrow store with prizes presented by Kevin Hamilton, Mayor of Barrow.

This is about helping our young people understand the harm drugs, alcohol and smoking can do to you. This town is in a battle to make a better future. We all have to play our part

Barrow Police

2017/2018 School Projects

In its second year (2017-18) the project has expanded to 9 primary schools with ages ranging from year 2 to year 5. This year the project, on the theme of exercise is being supported by DW Fitness, Nuffield Health and Furness College Sports Centre.

The 2018 scheme, with the theme of Exercise, was officially launched during an event at Furness College on Wednesday 18th April.

The event was opened by GP Dr Sarah Arun who talked about health issues which have led to the present “life expectancy for both men and women in Barrow being lower than the England average”.

Some of the key priorities for Barrow include reducing smoking, reducing alcohol misuse and reducing obesity in children. The percentage of children Yr6 in Barrow, measured as obese, is higher than the national figure and it is the second highest in Cumbria.

FESP Healthy and Happy Lifestyles 17-18 Image 4

Children and their teachers took part in four interactive workshops in which they received important information to raise their awareness about different areas of exercise. Included were a yoga class delivered by staff from Nuffield Health, and sports sessions provided by staff from DW Sports and students Furness College.

Other workshops delivered on the day focused on fueling exercise, a gym tour and fitness testing.

The next stage of the project took place on Friday 27th April with a Research Workshop held at Victoria Academy where the nominated Health Ambassadors from each school developed their researching skills to allow them to lead their own research project in school. The aim was to identify more specific goals and methods to be able to help their school become more active and more healthy.

2017/2018 Success Stories

A number of new primary schools joined the project in 2017/18 including George Romney Junior School, Dalton in Furness. The school already had some sports ambassadors and they all attended the exercise launch event at Furness College and all wanted to be Happy and Healthy Health Ambassadors for their school. After the Research workshop they conducted their own survey of pupils in their school and found out that not many pupils were attending after school sports clubs and many of the clubs were attended by the same group of people.

The sport ambassadors decided to take action. They arranged a club of their own to try a wider range of sports including boogie bounce and dodge ball. The club was ran by the sports ambassadors and was completely free for other pupils to attend. The George Romney sports ambassadors also focused healthy eating, linking each of their sessions to a different healthy snack like fruit kebabs and smoothies which they made after each of their after school sports sessions.

The club was really well attended by pupils who don’t usually attended sports clubs and as a result of the Health Ambassadors work the school will be introducing a wider variety of after school clubs in September 2018 and reducing the cost of the clubs to just £1 to encourage more pupils to attend.

Across Barrow there is a wide variation in the percentage of patients recorded as obese ranging from 5.6% and 17.1% of GP registered patients aged 16 or over

Barrow Obesity Profile 2014

2016/2017 School Projects

In its pilot year (2016-17) 5 Primary schools took on the challenge. They attended an introductory event where health professionals lead workshops to teach Y5 pupils about the different aspects of a healthy lifestyles. Pupils then went back to their primary schools and conducted research to help them decide on a project.

On Wednesday the pupils presented their findings and suggestions on the theme of diet to health professionals.

FESP Healthy and Happy Lifestyles 16-17 Image 1

All pupils did a fantastic job of their presentations, they spoke with confidence and enthusiasm about their project and worked well as a team. It was great to see that the were taking their own healthy eating advice on board by demolishing our fruit kebabs!

Each Primary Health Ambassador was given a certificate, badge and gift bags by representatives from the NHS and Barrow-in-Furness Mayor Tony Callister attended to show his support and pledge his active involvement in the next stage – we hope he knows it’s exercise!