Auckland charity hotel gives $450k to Liggins Institute to empower youth health

23 August 2016
Students

 

A unique project empowering young people to use scientific evidence to understand and nurture their own health is being funded by a $450,000 donation from a charity hotel in upmarket Parnell.

Four-star Quality Hotel Parnell, part of Choice Hotels Asia-Pac, is owned by a charitable foundation that supports scientific research.

The gift to the Liggins Institute – the single biggest donation the Norman F B Barry Foundation has made – will go to extending a partnership programme with schools.

The project, developed by LENScience at the Institute, equips teenagers to use the latest research evidence to examine health-related issues impacting New Zealand communities, understand and improve their own health and wellbeing, and make positive changes to support improved health and wellbeing for the future.

“Adolescents are our future parents,” says Jacquie Bay, LENScience director. “If they’re empowered to develop health-promoting behaviours, they can positively impact the health of future generations, as well as their own health.”

There’s growing evidence that parents’ diet and health even before conception has long-term consequences for the health of their future children, so empowering young people to improve their life-style behaviours and health will also improve their future children’s health.

Instead of just telling young people what’s good for them, the project’s proven approach is to empower them to figure this out themselves from evidence and personal experience.

“One of our key focuses at the Institute is translating evidence-based research into real, usable solutions,” says Institute director, Professor Frank Bloomfield. “The LENScience programme gives young people the skills to do just that in the context of their own lives, their families and communities.”

LENScience director Jacquie Bay
LENScience director Jacquie Bay

“Investing in teachers is key to the project’s success,” Ms Bay says. “Through collaboration with the Liggins Institute, schools will develop programmes to enable young people to explore the latest research evidence relating to health issues that matter to their communities, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

“Teenagers then consider evidence-based actions that their generation can lead.”

Ms Bay says they’re “extremely grateful” for this generous gift.

John Smith, the Norman F B Barry Foundation chairman, says: “The Foundation supports this project because we believe the pupils will greatly benefit from this knowledge in the form of healthy lifestyles, reductions in childhood obesity and diabetes, and reductions in social and healthcare costs to our country.”

Quality Hotel Parnell is a local landmark formerly known as Barrycourt Hotel. When founder and owner Norman Barry died in 2007, his will provided for the establishment of a charitable foundation, which became the sole shareholder of the hotel.

All hotel profits go to charity, either via the foundation or direct donations to community-based charities.

Sir Peter Gluckman, who oversaw the inception of the LENScience programme when he was director of the Institute, says the LENScience partnership programme is internationally regarded as “one of the most innovative forms of pedagogically developed and effective health education programmes. It has broken new ground in embedding health promotion within science education.

“The Norman F Barry Foundation is to be congratulated for supporting this innovative and important programme."

An event will be held at the Quality Hotel, Parnell, to formalise the gift on Tuesday August 23, 2016.

 

Contact

Nicola Shepheard, Media Relations Adviser Tel: 09 923 1515 Mob: 027 537 1319 Email: n.shepheard@auckland.ac.nz