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Health factor challenge

Health factor challenge participants

The thirteen Southwark residents who took park in Health Factor 2011 during the summer crossed the finish line in September, notching up an impressive array of achievements.

Between them, the participants, who ranged from a single dad to a grandmother, clocked up more than 75km running, walked more than 36 km, executed thousands of dance steps, and shed more than five stone.

The selected participants were mentored by Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle, Cabinet member for health and adult social care,  Annie Shepperd, chief executive Southwark Council, and Southwark Fire Brigade chief Andy Snazell.

Rashidah Conroy, who is 44 and from Camberwell, was one of the 13 participants who completed the course. She said the health factor changed her life for the better, adding:

"The health factor was the kick start I needed for a more active and healthy lifestyle. I have tried so many new activities, some of which were very challenging, and I intend to keep going. It will bring a brighter future where we can be more active and live longer and better quality lives."

Southwark Fire Commander Andy Snazzel, a team mentor, said:
"As the programme went on, I got a lot more out of it, and got inspired by the people on it. It was inspirational in a way I never thought it would be."

Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle, cabinet member for health and adult social care at Southwark Council, and another team mentor, added:
"I have learnt so much from the people I have mentored and I have been inspired by them. It has been wonderful to be part of this health factor trailblazer and I am sure it will continue in some form in the future."

Annie Shepperd, chief executive of Southwark Council, and another team mentor, said: "I am so proud of everyone who took part and of my team who gave me so much. I'd like to thank the council staff and our partners who have provided venues, support and activities with such generosity. They made it happen."

Thank you to partners

Southwark Council would like to thank all their partners who helped support and carry out the health factor including:

NHS Southwark, Fusion, Carl Campbell Dance Company, Tideway Sailability, Herne Hill Velodrome, London Southbank University, Urban Physic Garden, Angela Tella, Luis Luna, Downside Fisher, Nicollette Wilson, Shakila Ratani, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motherlode and 3B Media, Tesco.

Background information

The health factor was an exciting challenge giving Southwark residents the opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing.


Our participants weren't fitness fanatics or elite athletes but Southwark residents, from all walks of life. People keen to take steps to improve their health and be an inspiration for others in the borough. Our challenge was open to anyone over the age of eighteen living in Southwark.

Ten week programme

Participants took part in a ten week programme over the summer. The council helped them to design a health and fitness plan for the ten weeks involving:

Regular challenges to be more active in their day to day life
Using some of the great facilities in the borough for free
Events for them, their friends and family and the wider community
Encouragement and support from one of four mentors, all prominent figures in the local community

The challenges included:

Yoga and Tai Chi in the parks
A 5k run
Learning a new dance
A healthy cooking challenge
Volunteering and sailing with a disability friendly sailing group at Surrey Docks

The wider community benefited from the programme because each participant was tasked with inspiring others with updates on their progress on the council's website throughout the programme and sharing this with their local community.  

For more information

Visit  twitter and facebook, read the participants blogs, view pictures on flickr and watch videos of events and activities on YouTube.

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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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