THE importance of health and wellbeing for children cannot be underestimated in today’s society.

At Girdwood Community Hub recently over 150 pupils from schools across the city, including 30 pupils from Hazelwood Primary School, were invited to take part in a special event to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle for young people.

Hosted by Belfast Met to mark its 110th anniversary, the event also promoted the launch of their new school of Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion.

The day of promoting health and wellbeing began with a healthy breakfast for the schoolchildren before a number of speeches, including from Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Mary-Ellen Campbell.

One of the highlights of the day was welcoming Kenyan athletes from ‘Project Africa’ who travelled to Belfast to take part in the festival and celebration of learning.

The athletes spoke of the relationship between African Sport and Culture, fitness, wellbeing and nutrition before taking to the outside track at Girdwood to promote the importance of exercise including a ‘Festival of Running’ on the astro-turf, coordinating jogging and relay races.

The children were also invited to take part in ‘Cardboard City’ – building a Belfast based on their own experience and knowledge using cardboard. The activity also involved children’s games and songs as well as play work activities to promote inclusion, children’s learning and development.

Other activities included a hip-hop class to promote the benefits of exercise and how it can be fun and fun-filled activities from Belfast Community Circus.

Belfast Met Head of School for Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion, Sharon Rivers, said the event was of vital importance to promote health and wellbeing.

“We were delighted to be part of the ‘Spring into Wellbeing’ event as part of the Belfast Festival of Learning and the 110th anniversary of Belfast Met,” she explained.

“It’s a great fun and learning event and everyone is having a ball. Events like this are fabulous and so important in promoting health and wellbeing.

“Education is also part of their health and wellbeing and it is really good to give the children positive role models and to show them the education opportunities that are open to them. Some of the activities like sport with Project Africa athletes and the hip-hop classes are a great opportunity for kids to practice the skills they are learning.

“All the kids have really enjoyed it. It’s important to reach out to the community and get as many kids involved in health and well-being.”

Deputy Lord Mayor, Mary-Ellen Campbell, also got involved in the activities with a group of young students doing a blood pressure test on her.

“I was delighted to be here,” she said. “It’s brilliant to see so many young people in Girdwood enjoying the fantastic facilities.

“The range of workshops was excellent for the schoolchildren. The new Belfast Met school of Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion offers a lot for everyone, from social sciences to childcare courses. Health and wellbeing is so important. I hope some of the courses are indeed run from Girdwood which is such a wonderful facility and can offer easy access to learning for the people of North Belfast.”