Nick Smith MP with Kath Cross from Blaenau Gwent Sole Sisters
Nick Smith MP with Kath Cross from Blaenau Gwent Sole Sisters

Community leaders united at the historic borough home of the ironmaster to forge a new way forward for better health in Blaenau Gwent.

With the 70th anniversary of the NHS now days away, Bedwellty House and Park saw the heads of organisations across the borough get their heads together to tackle health problems in our community.

Representatives from schools, police and fire services, faith and community groups and more all met to start combatting the problems that lead to statistics such as more than a quarter of four and five year olds in our health board area being overweight or obese.

The event was a joint venture between Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Nick Smith MP, whose campaigning in Westminster saw him secure and lead the debate on the NHS and public health last month.

The attendees also got to hear presentations from the likes of Blaenau Gwent Sole Sisters, a brilliant Cwm project that looks to build up a support network so people can help each other through their keep fit efforts.

Speaking after the event, Mr Smith said it was a fitting way to mark the NHS’s anniversary by tackling the problems of today.

“Nye Bevan wouldn’t have wanted us to rest on our laurels and we in Blaenau Gwent feel that legacy and responsibility more than most”, he said.

“We have an ageing population and a health crisis building where obesity rates, especially among children, are on the rise.

“For example, we could support family health by encouraging our children, grandchildren, or the cubs and air cadets to do the junior parkrun at 9 o’clock on Sunday morning at Park Bryn Bach and our schools to introduce the Daily Mile.

“It’s up to us all to get stuck in and do what we can when we can.”

Sally Morgan, from Keep Wales Tidy, said: “This was a great chance to meet and link up with people from all sorts of Blaenau Gwent organisations who want to make the borough as healthy as it can be”, she said.

“Getting so many people who want to make a difference together and talking is a good start, especially when sharing best practice.

“Hopefully this leads to a big public health drive here when we start putting all this into action”.

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