AYRSHIRE College students are being encouraged to live a healthier life after visiting the CHIP van.
Vivienne Strawhorn and David Davidson have been serving up advice on how to lose weight and improve fitness from East Ayrshire Council’s Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) van during their latest visit to the college’s Kilmarnock campus.
The unique mobile healthy living centre takes health promotion to the doorstep of East Ayrshire’s communities, offering checks on blood pressure, grip strength and lung function.
Students at the college took full advantage of the drop-in service to pick up health tips during the van’s morning visit.
46 year-old Vivienne Strawhorn was on board to help in her role as a community health assistant advisor with East Ayrshire Council, but would have been a familiar face to many of the van’s visitors as she graduated from a fitness course at the college just last year.
She began working with the Council through a work placement while she was an Ayrshire College student and was pleased to be back on campus helping students in her new role.
Vivienne said: “We’re getting young people to make choices that will help them as they move forward.
“The van is out three days a week covering the whole of East Ayrshire. It’s important that we do this because, often, we are the first faces people see about issues, and we can then point them in the right direction for further help.
“We predominantly do health checks and give advice on their weight and healthy eating. We also do classes for adults and older people to keep them functionally fit in the home for longer, to protect themselves against falls.
“I think we’re making a big improvement on people’s health. We’re getting the word out there and more people are getting into physical activity. We can definitely see the changes.”
Over 30 students visited the CHIP van and Vivienne will return in ten weeks’ time to monitor their progress.
Vivienne finished her studies at Ayrshire College last May and spoke in glowing terms about her experience.
She said: “The college was excellent and the lecturers were all very supportive. It had been a while since I was in a classroom learning, but they made me feel very welcome.
“I thought it’d be hard to get into this industry, but the voluntary work I did through the college led to sessional work and now I’ve got this full-time position.”
Vivienne’s colleague, David, said: “Vivienne’s an absolute gem. She’s very proactive, 100 per cent positive and puts everything into the work that we do, with all age groups. She’s a pleasure to work with.”
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