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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Region on scent of healthy living
Aromatherapist Eilen Hughes at work in Newcastle
Belly-dancing and aromatherapy are among healthy lifestyle initiatives being funded by lottery cash in north-east England.

On Thursday the region was awarded 5.6m from the New Opportunities Fund for seven schemes in Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, and County Durham.

The North East regularly features near the top of charts for high rates of heart disease, poor diet, heavy drinking and smoking.

The new cash will be used to provide health education courses, exercise and dietary programmes, money management advice and drug prevention schemes.

Complementary therapies

The West End Health Resource Centre in Benwell, Newcastle, received 1.3m.

Planned activities for the centre include yoga, baby massage, and complementary therapies for older people.

Belly dancer
Belly dancing is a fun way to get the message over

General manager Gwen Ellison said: "We don't want to do education work through boring speeches, but through fun activities like aromatherapy classes and belly-dancing.

"We can then talk about health issues in that context."

The programmes have been paid for by lottery money from the New Opportunities Fund, directed through Healthy Living Centres and HealthWorks schemes.

Some of the money is being spent in Prime Minister Tony Blair's Sedgfield constituency.

A total of 640,279 will be spent on lifestyle courses and peer education work to prevent substance abuse.

'Poor health'

Mr Blair said: "I am delighted the application for a Healthy Living Centre in Sedgefield has been successful.

"It is a project which will help the people of my constituency develop new approaches to improving their health and wellbeing."

Four schemes in Sunderland will cover physical, sexual and mental health, welfare rights, counselling, stress management, alternatives therapies and ways of tackling drug and alchohol problems.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the New Opportunites Fund, said: "The healthy living activities in Sunderland address the immediate casues of poor health, as well as secondary factors such as fear of crime and unemployment."

See also:

08 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Health initiative's lottery windfall
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