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Inaugural fair puts focus on a healthier lifestyle in Haverhill




Blood pressure testing, Tai-Chi and taster sessions were among the activities on offer at Haverhill’s inaugural health fair.

The event, hosted by ONE Haverhill Partnership and Abbeycroft Leisure with support from West Suffolk Community Engagement Group, gave residents free and practical advice to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, was guest of honour at Friday’s fair at Haverhill Leisure Centre and even scaled the centre’s new climbing wall.

Michael Simpkin, Amy Morton, Belinda Johnston, Matt Hancock and Warren Smythe at the Haverhill Health Fair. Picture: Dave Gooderham PR.
Michael Simpkin, Amy Morton, Belinda Johnston, Matt Hancock and Warren Smythe at the Haverhill Health Fair. Picture: Dave Gooderham PR.

It was the brainchild of Michael Simpkin, who sits on the community engagement group for the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“The aim of the event was to give simple tips and advice on staying active, improving health and wellbeing and being an active member of your community,” he said. “We were really pleased with how it went and we would like to thank everyone who attended and supported.”

About 30 organisations took part and there were a range of information stalls.

Abbeycroft Leisure provided taster sessions and exercise classes, the CCG raised awareness of heart condition atrial fibrillation and stroke prevention and Citizens Advice talked about reducing fuel poverty.

Suffolk County Council’s children and young people’s services also attended as well as WASH Sailability and OneLife Suffolk provided health checks.

There was also a health walk, blood pressure testing and Tai-Chi.

Matt Hancock enjoys the new climbing wall at Haverhill Leisure Centre. Picture: Dave Gooderham PR.
Matt Hancock enjoys the new climbing wall at Haverhill Leisure Centre. Picture: Dave Gooderham PR.

Mr Simpkin was inspired to hold an event following an Older Persons Information Fair in Bury St Edmunds hosted by the town’s MP Jo Churchill. With a variety of groups looking to take part, it soon evolved into a health fair.

He said: “We’re looking to hold an annual event because it was so successful and the groups themsleves were really pleased because they were able to do so much networking, which will hopefully make a difference in the community.

“It’s good for the community to let people know what is out there.”

He has already been contacted by an organisation, which would like to attend next year.



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