People living in areas across the Cannock Chase District are set to benefit from a new project to help improve their health and wellbeing, fitness and general quality of life, thanks to a £416,000 National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

The ‘Chase Up’ project will be led by local communities and will work with local residents, schools and voluntary organisations in Hednesford North, Chadsmoor and the Springfields estate in Rugeley.

The project will see a range of creative health and wellbeing opportunities which engage families with social physical and creative activities promoting and using the great outdoors and making the most of green spaces.

Work with local voluntary organisations will also take place to encourage and co-ordinate more volunteering opportunities as a way of increasing people’s confidence, developing new skills and improving general wellbeing.

The bid was led by Inspiring healthy lifestyles working collaboratively with Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Chase Council.

Lisa Shephard, Community Wellbeing Manager for Inspiring healthy lifestyles, said: “This is amazing news. ‘Chase Up!’ is a brilliant initiative that will allow us to develop

a range of fun and creative activities inspired by the health and wellbeing benefits that Cannock Chase has woodland has to offer.. We want local services and organisations to get involved too, raising awareness of their services to those who can access their support.”

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “We’re all very excited about the project which will make a real difference to families in Cannock Chase.

“Helping people to improve their own health and wellbeing remains a priority for the County Council and we are looking forward to working with local communities and groups to make this happen.

“As well as a range of exciting activities helping families, the project will also be encouraging more people to consider volunteering which can have a positive impact on people’s lives as well as the wider community.”

Councillor Christine Mitchell, Leader for Culture and Sport at Cannock Chase Council, said: “This is very much a community lead project, with local people deciding on the priorities and activities that will take place. This means we’ll see a range of community driven projects from a discovery garden to growing and selling produce, to new offers for families such as cycle safaris, to more challenging activities like mountain biking to engage younger people.

“Building on the success of existing local initiatives such as Chase Fit, Grow Up Great and Well Active, the project will also work to bring together even more local groups.”

Matt Poole, Head of Regional Funding for the Midlands at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We’re proud to be funding this project, which will be led by local people to bring communities together, so they can enjoy activities and make the most of local green spaces. It’s fantastic to see money raised by National Lottery players helping to bring  this idea to life, boosting health and wellbeing and helping to build relationships in the local community.”

The project is expected to run over the next five years and hopes to work with over 40+ community and voluntary groups. Partners already involved include, Springfield’s Residents Association, Redhill Primary School and Friends of the Stadium.  These groups will now be at the centre of developing and steering their project ideas, while inviting other groups and local residents to get involved.

The Forestry Commission, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, National Trust, the Museum of Cannock Chase, and local countryside services will also benefit through enhancing their volunteering opportunities.

For more information about the ‘Chase Up’ project, contact Lisa Shephard on 07812 332964.