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Health is key at the ‘top of the rock’

Rosie McCorley, manager of the Healthy Living Centre, and Councillor Shauneen Baker, who are based at the Corpus Christi complex in Springhill Rosie McCorley, manager of the Healthy Living Centre, and Councillor Shauneen Baker, who are based at the Corpus Christi complex in Springhill
By Ciara Quinn

LEADING the way in providing a programme of key health and wellbeing activities and initiatives, the ‘Top of the Rock’ Healthy Living Centre is front and centre in working with and for the community in West Belfast.
The Centre, which is located in the grounds of Corpus Christi parish church, has become an information hub for those wanting to find out how to go about improving their health needs whether physical or mental.
“The centre is very much about improving the health of local people,” explained centre manager Rosie McCorley, “we have a lot of programmes ongoing that we can offer to those who want to avail of them either extremely affordable or free. The centre has been part of the Upper Springfield since 2001 but it has changed and developed since then. I came onboard around two years ago and the centre is really about addressing the physical and mental health needs of the area.”
The Healthy Living Centre is one of many successful projects managed by the Upper Springfield Development Trust (USDT) with physical activity classes including boxercise, zumba, pilates and circuit classes running in Corpus Christi parish church hall throughout the week. “We are open to what people want to do,” added Rosie, “we have an extremely popular Couch to 5K initiative and we have armchair aerobics as well for those less abled.
“We also offer a counselling service here, the space here is really utilised. We run a social ‘prescribing programme’ which is a popular concept offered by your GP so that instead of prescribing medication, for say anxiety or in some cases depression, they may refer you to your local healthy living centre and that is where we come in.
“Our activities have been proven in many cases to have improved the mental health of a person in that they can talk on how the centre has improved their lives.”
Rosie spoke of how community engagement has increased at the Whiterock community gardens and allotment site.
“We do hope to see the Men’s Shed model on the gardens, it would be another development that would address a particular need as older men as a group can become socially isolated.
“We have weekly walking groups that go up the Black Mountain, Cave Hill, Bog Meadows and our cycling group is also up and running. There is great scope.”
Looking ahead to the autumn and winter months, Rosie said that the centre will be encouraging parents and carers to participate in their Health Promoting Homes programme which is “trying to change mindsets in terms of healthy living, which incorporates nutrition.”
“The programme is all about promoting the home as a healthier place for the children who are living with parents or grandparents,” she went on.
“People are realising the connection between good physical activity, good diet and the impact that it has on their own health. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is in today’s society, there is something for everyone at the centre and we are here to offer advice and guidance where we can.”

For more information and a class timetable go to www.facebook.com/UpperSpringfieldHealthyLivingCentre

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