Wigan Council recently held a celebration event at the DW Stadium to recognise the contribution of the 90 RSPH Young Health Champions trained by the local authority since the start of 2017.
The young people celebrated their achievements at a special event at the DW Stadium in Wigan, where speaker Danny Sculthorpe, former professional rugby league player and now mental health campaigner, congratulated them on their achievements.
The young people involved volunteered to take training on how to stay healthy and then passed on their knowledge to others through a series of campaigns, which they developed themselves.
This has included a video campaign raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis led by Joseph Roberts, a Young Health Champion whose sister Jemma tragically died at the age of 13 as a result of the condition. This campaign has been praised and shared by the Sepsis Trust.
Councillor Jenny Bullen, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, said: "The young people who have given up their free time to get involved in this programme are a great example to others. I hope other young people will take up this fantastic opportunity to learn more about how to take care of their own health and help raise awareness with others."
Professor Kate Ardern, Director of Public Health in Wigan Borough and RSPH Trustee, said: "Health champions are at the heart of our citizen led public health movement. Young people are full of passion and enthusiasm so are fantastic at passing on important health messages to our younger citizens."
Danny Sculthorpe, former professional rugby league player and mental health campaigner, said: "Programmes like the Young Health Champions are important because a lot of young people don’t get the education they might need on these subjects at home. It’s great for the young people involved as it’s good for their own wellbeing and it’s positive for the future of the borough."
Adam Dickinson, 23, from Wigan, changed his own lifestyle after taking part in the programme. He said: "Being involved changed my own mind-set. It got me thinking about ways I could keep fit, which I’d never thought about before. Since doing the training I’ve bought a bike and want to take care of myself."
Sarah Collinge, 16, from Wigan, took part in the campaign to raise awareness of sepsis. Sarah said: "I think messages like this are more effective when they’re coming from people your own age because you can relate to each other so young people are more likely to listen."