YOUNG Furness health ambassadors have been congratulated for their role in a project to help combat obesity.

Happy and Healthy Lifestyles is an exciting collaborative project between Furness Education and Skills Partnership, five Furness primary schools and the NHS to explore new ideas to tackle obesity in Barrow and Furness.

Pupils from Greengate Junior School, Ormsgill Nursery and Primary School, South Walney Junior School, St Pius X Catholic Primary School and Victoria Academy established ideas to combat obesity to create happy and healthy futures for their communities.

The year-long scheme was set up by FESP and the NHS with the aim to try to address concerning public health issues. It followed statistics from Dr Sarah Arun, cardiology lead for Furness, that say in Year Six the percentage of children measured as obese in Barrow is higher than the national figure and is the second highest in Cumbria.

In its pilot year the schools took on the challenge. They attended an introductory event where health professionals led workshops to teach the then Year Five pupils about the different aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Pupils then went back to their primary schools and conducted research to help them decide on a project.

The project was also part of the national Step Up To Serve Campaign, promoting youth social action.

A recent celebration event marked the end of the pilot year for the Happy and Healthy Lifestyles project. It was attended by pupils, teachers, representatives from the NHS and FESP, and Barrow mayor, Councillor Tony Callister.

Pupils presented their findings and suggestions to health professionals.

Ormsgill's health ambassadors told the audience about introducing a healthy tuck shop, the Greengate pupils held a healthy restaurant to encourage parents to cook healthy meals, and St Pius pupils had encouraged parents to use the Sugar Swaps app.

South Walney pupils introduced "Try it Tuesday" and "Fruity Thursdays" and Victoria Academy put on an amazing roleplay explaining why their "Try a new fruit each week" project was so important.

The young health ambassadors were awarded certificates by Vicky Lumley from the NHS to recognise their achievements in promoting healthy diets in their schools and communities. The also received gift bags and badges.

Amy Lamph, the FESP co-ordinator, said: "All pupils did a fantastic job with their presentations. They spoke with confidence and enthusiasm about their project and worked well as a team. It was great to see that they were taking their own healthy eating advice on board by enjoying the fruit kebabs and melon platters provided for the event."