What follows is a press release from Hastings and Rother Cancer Awareness Project. The Project works with local people to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer.

Local people will be planting fruit trees on Thursday 14th June at the Discovery Centre, Coombe Valley Countryside Park, as part of efforts to raise awareness of cancer and ways to reduce your risk of developing it.

The event is being organised jointly by Hastings and Rother Cancer Awareness Project and Groundwork South. Activities commence at 10.30am at the Discovery Centre, Coombe Valley Park where local people will plant fruit trees. As well as raising awareness of ways to prevent cancer, the planting will give people with the opportunity to get in touch with ways to grow produce for themselves. It is hoped that groups of young people can be encouraged to visit the centre.

This event follows on from a recent night time lantern parade in Hastings which aimed to shine a light on cancer awareness in the community.

Growing and eating more fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet is an important part of raising awareness about cancer prevention. Obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Figures from Public Health England show that only 53% of Hastings population eat the recommended 5-a day portions of fruit and vegetables.

According to figures from Cancer Research UK, up to 4 out of every 10 cancers can be prevented by healthy lifestyle changes including healthier eating. They estimate that an unhealthy diet can increase the risk of 6 cancers including lung and bowel cancers. This is important locally because Hastings has a higher incidence of lung cancer than the England average: 83 cases per 100,000 people in Hastings compared to 80 per 100,000 people in England.

Hastings & Rother Cancer Awareness Project works in the local community to improve health outcomes relating to cancer awareness by promoting early detection and diagnosis. Hastings has significantly lower uptake for both breast and bowel cancer screening compared to country wide figures for England and fewer cancers are detected at an early stage in Hastings and Rother compared to the national average.

Hastings and Rother Community Cancer Awareness Project is commissioned by NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group as part of East Sussex Better Together, and delivered by Unique Improvements.

David Holloway – Cancer Awareness Project Lead – explained why people should get involved in the event: “This is a really good creative approach to improving health outcomes by raising awareness of cancer and highlighting the role a healthy diet plays in preventing cancer”.

Simon South, Project Manager with Groundwork said: “It is great to work with the Cancer Awareness project. At Groundwork, one of our objectives is very much to bring the local community together, enjoying the beautiful Countryside Park, supporting people to become more active in a fun and interesting way and to build a better understanding of eating healthily and experiencing the joy of seeing plants grow”.


The Healthy Hastings and Rother programme aims to address health inequalities by improving the health and wellbeing of people in Hastings and Rother’s most disadvantaged communities. It is led by NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and supported by a range of partners, including East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and the voluntary and community sectors.

Unique Improvements is a social enterprise set up in 2005 that specialises in working with local communities to improve health outcomes. It has delivered projects across the UK, including the award winning North East Lincolnshire Healthy Communities Project which won the NHS Innovation Challenge award in 2012 for work around increasing earlier presentation of cancer.

Groundwork is a charity working locally and nationally to transform lives in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities. They are seeking to promote Combe Valley Park to the local people as a place to enjoy walking, cycling or horse riding in a beautiful part of Hastings and St Leonards on Sea.


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