Lismore City Council has won a national award for best practice in creating healthier communities. Presented at the 2014 Heart Foundation Local Government Awards in Coffs Harbour on 20 October, the award for Lismore’s Move2Change was in the category of ‘Councils with populations greater than 15,000’.

The winning program delivers low-cost exercise programs through the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre and in Lismore’s villages.

“Lismore City Council received this national award for their commitment to creating an environment that is a healthy and vibrant place to work and live, supported by numerous key initiatives,” said Kerry Doyle, Chief Executive of the Heart Foundation NSW.
“Local governments play a pivotal role in introducing structural change, implementing policies and creating supportive environments which allow people to be physically active, reduce smoking and improve their nutrition."
The Awards recognise the achievements of local governments in the continuing fight against heart disease, the number one killer of Australian men and women.
Move2Change included a variety of programs, from gentle exercise classes for those at risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions to community garden workshops for older people who wanted to make friends and get their hands dirty.
The programs were targeted at groups in the community that traditionally have trouble accessing health programs including the unemployed, people with disability, seniors, carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, refugees and people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
Move2Change was funded by the federal government and administered by Council. It involved 26 programs that were attended by 829 people. Classes are now self-sustaining, with local health professionals taking over the programs once the funding ended in June this year.
Council also supported the initiative by adopting a Health Promotion Policy and developing healthy environments though infrastructure, a smoke-free CBD and support for breastfeeding at all Council facilities.