Fourth and final SA Healthy Towns Challenge grant opens to SA communities

APPLY NOW: Grants open for the fourth and final round of the successful SA Healthy Towns Challenge. Photo: Shutterstock
APPLY NOW: Grants open for the fourth and final round of the successful SA Healthy Towns Challenge. Photo: Shutterstock

A little of your time and energy across the next two months could see you pocket up to $50,000 to help improve the health and wellbeing of your country town, potentially for years to come.

That's the intention behind the state government-led fourth and final round of the successful SA Healthy Towns Challenge, with grants now open.

Chiefly, the initiative aims to create opportunities in regional SA communities which drive healthier choices and encourage residents to participate in activities that encourage physical activity, healthy eating and positive mental health and wellbeing.

Its success in the past has led the Barossa to support free health checks for residents.

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Awarded $44,000 in the first round, the Barossa Co-op shopping centre in Nuriootpa used the grant money to carry out their unique project supported by University SA's health students.

"This grant opportunity is fantastic for the Co-op and supports our economic drive of supplying fresh foods, cultural stance with regards to sponsorship...with this third new element - helping the community make better decisions," Co-op CEO Neil Retallick had said.

The free health checks were instigated due to the Co-op board highlighting the prevalence of cardiovascular disease being disproportionately high in rural Australia.

Barossa, it was discovered, sat within the high risk zone on the Heart Foundation Map.

Many of the risk factors for chronic disease can be prevented or reduced through communities working together to support a healthy environment.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade

Meanwhile, Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said that maintaining health and wellbeing in the state is a shared responsibility between the government, individuals and communities.

"Many of the risk factors for chronic disease can be prevented or reduced through communities working together to support a healthy environment," Minister Wade said.

So far $1 million has reached projects including community gardens, cooking lessons, walking trails, outdoor gyms and bike programs.

Wellbeing SA chief executive Lyn Dean, who urges people to apply for funds, said many chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease share the same risk factors and are preventable.

"By actions such as increasing physical activity, eating healthier, quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol, South Australians can enjoy an improved quality of life," Ms Dean said.

As part of the final round of the program, successful applicants will receive funds in June to develop their programs.

Applications close on Friday, March 26.

Visit the SA Healthy Towns Challenge website for more information and to apply.