Irish Cancer Society ‘Fit for Work and Life’ Evaluation Report Launched

In collaboration with the Irish Cancer Society (ICS), we launched the evaluation report of the ICS health and wellbeing programme, Fit for Work and Life (FFWL) in Moyross Community Hub on Tuesday 17th September. The report was produced for the Irish Cancer Society by the National Centre for Men’s Health, Carlow Institute of Technology.

The report found significant improvements in participants’ eating habits, levels of physical activity and attitudes to cancer screening.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Joanne Vance, Community Programmes Manager with the Irish Cancer Society said, “FFWL is a really important programme for the Society as it gets right into the heart of communities and empowers people to take control of their own health.

“We know that health can be negatively impacted by socio-economic factors and that people in disadvantaged communities have higher rates of cancer and poorer chances of survival. We also know that things like long term unemployment and poor quality housing are related to less healthy lifestyles. This programme recognises those inequalities and works with community partners to improve participants’ access to services and supports. It promotes healthy behaviours, raises awareness of cancer prevention and enables them to make positive changes to their lifestyles.

“For example, the report found that there was a 76% increase in participant awareness of steps to reduce cancer risk and a 20% increase in the number of people who said they would attend screening appointments. These real results are delivered by working in partnership with other committed community organisations.

Dr Noel Richardson, National Centre for Men’s Health, Carlow Institute of Technology added “The programme had a profound effect on participants’ health and wellbeing and created significant opportunities for partnership development and community capacity building that can form the bedrock for its future sustainability. This evaluation provides a very strong case for scaling up the Fit for work and life programme.”

Helen Fitzgerald, PAUL Partnership, Limerick, said, “Fit for Work and Life has been delivered in Limerick in partnership with the Irish Cancer Society since 2016. We are very proud to partner with the Society on this programme, which effectively looks at health as a core skill for life. Many people who are out of the workforce for a while lose their self-esteem and doing courses such as FFWL gives them the confidence to make positive changes in their lives and perhaps avail of other opportunities. To date, approximately 160 people in the Limerick region have participated in the programme which is delivered in local communities by trained local facilitators.

Launching the report today, Cllr Michael Sheahan, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick said “By improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities, the goals of the FFWL programme align well with those of Healthy Limerick and the Healthy Ireland Strategy. It is a good, practical example of how organisations can work together to implement national and regional policy at community level.”

Fit for Work and Life is aimed at people who may be unemployed or on low incomes and are participating in employability, social inclusion and other community-based adult education programmes. The programme is supported by the Medtronic Foundation through the Community Foundation of Ireland which promotes health at community level.

For more information about the programme and to download a copy of the report, go to:

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