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Queensland winners announced in 2021 Active Australia Innovation Challenge
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Queensland winners announced in 2021 Active Australia Innovation Challenge

Media Release - 3 August 2021

An exercise and health education program for amputees in the Darling Downs and fitness activities for children in an Indigenous community in the state’s far north have been named as winning projects in the Heart Foundation’s 2021 Active Australia Innovation Challenge.

The challenge invited tertiary institutions, schools, councils and other organisations to submit innovative ideas for getting people in their communities moving. The winners will each receive a grant of $10,000 to make their project a reality. 

MET Phys clinic at Highfields has won a grant to start a healthy lifestyle educational program for amputees, their partners and family members in the Darling Downs region in southern Queensland. 

According to MET Phys, there are currently no local support groups accessible to amputees, who experience many lifestyle changes that affect their wellbeing and create barriers to being active. 

There are also disparities in access to health services in regional areas, despite having high rates of physical inactivity and chronic disease, with amputees at increased risk.

This program aims to give amputees the education and support to make healthy lifestyle changes, be more physically active and build up social support networks. It will be delivered locally by allied health professionals and will alternate between exercise and educational sessions.

The Generation Rising Indigenous Initiative has also won a grant in this year’s challenge to host weekly children’s fitness activities to support families under pressure in the Northern Peninsula Area and Torres Strait Islands.

With limited opportunities for regular children’s sporting activities outside of school in this small Indigenous community in far North Queensland, this group wants to bring back fun, fitness and the great outdoors.

The project will target children aged 7-17, with the aim of building strong youth through positive physical activity. Activities will range from obstacle courses and beach volleyball to nature adventures, making cultural knowledge part of the fun.

The Heart Foundation received 619 entries in this year’s Active Australia Innovation Challenge. This is double the number of 2020 entries and almost five times the number submitted for the first challenge in 2018. 

“The initiative has been growing in popularity year-on-year, but even we were surprised by the huge number of entries received for this year’s challenge,” said the Heart Foundation’s Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton.

“The Heart Foundation could not be more pleased by this increased participation, given almost seven in 10 people in Queensland are not active enough for good heart health. This is a real concern, because being inactive is a risk factor for heart disease.

“One reason for the spike in entries could be that the pandemic has sparked interest in physical activity at a grass-roots level. Being stuck at home for long periods is making everyone appreciate their communities more and think creatively about ways to stay healthy and active.

“Over the four years we’ve been running this challenge, the Heart Foundation has awarded grants to 45 organisations nationally. A big congratulations to all this year’s winners, including MET Phys and the Generation Rising Indigenous Initiative. We look forward to working with you to bring these projects to life.”

The Active Australia Innovation Challenge is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. 

Media enquiries

Brigid Simeoni, Media Advisor
M: 0427 619 589 E: brigid.simeoni@heartfoundation.org.au

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