Whingate children's Smart Swaps get Rhino's seal of approval.

Children at a Leeds primary school were delighted when Ronnie the Rhino turned up at their assembly to praise the way they are tackling healthy eating.

Smart Swaps encourages people to swap to healthier snacks and meals. Whingate Primary School not only won a competition with hundreds of swaps pledged at the school but gained extra special prizes. By allowing pupils to discuss their swaps during registration times and place tokens into a totaliser they spread the word among teachers, staff and pupils’ families as well. They also kept a virtual record on their website showing each individual’s contribution. With Leeds Rugby Foundation supporting Smart Swaps, the school was chosen for a visit by the Rhinos for a special prize assembly.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board said:

“It is great to see that everyone is getting involved in Smart Swaps, and having the Rhinos’ attending the prize assembly was a real treat for the children. I’m really pleased Leeds has been the most successful location for the campaign, coming ahead of surrounding and comparable areas. We know that getting people involved in making healthy changes early in their lives will play an important part in our commitment to making Leeds the best city for health and well-being.”

Emma Strachan, Health Improvement Specialist with Leeds City Council Public Health team, said:

“The campaign is easy to get involved with and a fun thing to do. It has been really successful already in encouraging families to make simple changes to their diets, reducing the amount of unhealthy food that we eat. One of the best and most effective ways to make a difference to our lives is to make simple swaps to what we eat and do!”

Whingate Primary School teacher Vicky Dean said:

“All the children loved the swapping and had lots of fun ideas about what they can do to make a smart swap. A simple reward such as receiving a certificate by the head teacher at the end of each week really helps to catch the fun element of eating more healthily and offers a rewarding incentive. The response we have had from our pupils has been fantastic.”

Keith Senior, Leeds Rugby Ambassador and former Rhinos player, was on hand to help club mascot Ronnie the Rhino present the awards. He said:

“We all know rugby players need to be fit and healthy. But so does everyone else. Making sure you have a healthy diet is really important and Smart Swaps is a great, easy way to help eat well. The Rhinos are delighted to back this campaign.”

Smart Swaps is part of the Change 4 life campaign, and following the initiative to see Leeds people swap unhealthy food and drink for healthier alternatives, thousands of people have continued to add their support by swapping sweet treats for fresh food.

Families who sign up to the national campaign at Change 4 Life will receive a free smart swapper full of healthy meal ideas, money off vouchers and free fridge magnets.

For more information or to sign up, visit here: www.change4life.com

For media enquiries, please contact:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team

Leeds City Council

4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 07891 276270

Tel: 0113 224 3602

Fax: 0113 247 4736