Achievements and Celebrations

The Big Health Challenge 2014

Congratulations to Manchester Health Academy for winning The Big Health Challenge in July.

Worthy second and third place winners were Burnage Academy and Whalley Range High School, respectively. However all schools that took part were highly commended. Childhood Obesity has featured heavily in the news again this year and in particular the consumption of energy drinks. Healthy Schools had been contacted by several high schools, who were struggling with the consequences of pupil's high consumption of energy drinks and so we decided to focus our efforts on a strategy to support schools. We began by launching a campaign called ‘Drop the Bottle’ to try to raise awareness of the health issues with young people and demonstrate to them the number of bottles being consumed by pupils on the way to school.

This raised a great deal of media interest and the BBC filmed the campaign at Burnage High School and Claire Duggan (Healthy School Operational Manager) was interviewed twice on BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 Live and BBC News Channel. Having raised awareness of the issue, young people took part in an ‘Apprentice’ style project, called The Big Health Challenge.

Young people were set a series of challenges to take the lead in educating their peers about Energy Drinks. The main objectives for the campaign, which the young people had to lead were;

 • Halt the illegal selling of these drinks in schools by other pupils, by engaging these pupils in a ‘legal’ alternative healthy drink that they manufacture themselves.

 • To educate their peers about the health consequences of these sugar loaded high caffeine drinks.

 • To convince young people that they are in fact the victims of manipulation from large companies whose primary concern is to make huge profits. 

Three tasks were designed to help them achieve these objectives and have fun!

The Final was a spectacular event at The Etihad Stadium and we had a judging panel including CMFT executives, Rachel Burden from BBC Radio 5 live and a young person’s panel. The Big Health Challenge proved to be an overwhelming success as a form of peer education and we will be running the competition again this year, with a different focus. The competition is open to all Manchester High Schools and we hope you will all take up the challenge.


The Healthy Schools team win the Central Manchester Foundation Trust 'Proud of You Award'. Pictured from left to right are Claire Duggan: Operational Manager - Healthy Schools, Maria Oakley: Service Manager - Healthy Schools and Bob Pearson: Medical Director - CMFT. (January, 2014).