PUPILS at Donegall Road Primary in Belfast are in the limelight after Cancer Focus Northern Ireland teamed up with Cinemagic to make a new film about the charity’s work with schools.
Cancer Focus, Northern Ireland’s leading cancer charity, provides a free Schools Health Education Package to all primary schools in a bid to tackle childhood obesity, sunburn and smoking to reduce our children’s future risk of cancer and other serious health conditions.
Cinemagic facilitator, filmmaker Patrick Maxwell, spent a day at Donegall Road PS filming children from P1 to P7 as they enthusiastically took part in various fun SHEP activities.
P3 and P4 children had the chance to tackle Tyrone’s Joe McMahon, top GAA footballer who put the children through some fast-paced exercises. And P1 and P2s had a close encounter with Genevieve, Cancer Focus’s giant healthy eating goat.
The short film will be used on the school and Cancer Focus websites to help promote the important work the charity does in schools across Northern Ireland. Belfast-based Cinemagic, which works with young people to produce films, also plan to use it at some of their events.
Clare Smith, project manager at Cancer Focus (the new name for the Ulster Cancer Foundation), said: “The children and staff at Donegall Road Primary School were absolutely terrific and really entered into the spirit of the project.
“We find that children of all ages benefit from these interactive and engaging activities which are designed to be informative and fun. They learn about positive health behaviours such as healthy eating and regular exercise, while teachers and parents can also benefit from key cancer prevention messages.
“If we can encourage children to eat more healthy food, combined with regular exercise through active play, it can help improve their concentration and sleeping patterns as well as reduce their future risk of cancer.
“Our programme also supports the Northern Ireland curriculum and can be used to complement teaching in areas such as language and literacy, personal development and mutual understanding.”
School principal Michelle Hutton said: “Cancer Focus and Cinemagic have both done excellent work with our pupils over a number of years and we were delighted to take part in this film. The hope is that our children will act on these important messages as they grow up and enjoy better health in adulthood.”
Claire Shaw, Cinemagic marketing officer, said: “We were delighted to work in partnership with Cancer Focus. The young people involved were a joy to work with and it is hoped that hundreds of young people will be motivated and inspired through the film, with the topics addressed brought to life in an engaging creative way.”
SHEP includes activities for nursery school children, interactive storytelling about Genevieve the Goat for P1 and P2 focusing on healthy eating and exercise, a Fit Factor challenge for P3 and P4 (sponsored by Lidl), Sun Scientists for P5 and Smokebusters for P6 and P7 pupils.
Schools are invited to sign up for the whole package or any one element of the programme by contacting Niamh McDaid at Cancer Focus on 028 9068 0764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on Cancer Focus click on www.cancerfocusni.org or you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter @cancerfocusNI