An innovative new approach to community health and wellbeing is being launched in Shildon.

The Health Express Hub is being developed in Rest House, Hackworth Park and aims to help residents of Shildon and the surrounding community live longer, be healthier and lead happier, more fulfilled lives.

An extensive renovation of the Rest House building will take place to provide Health Express with a base in the town. The building will serve as a community hub not only for the residents of Shildon but also for neighbouring towns in the surrounding area including Bishop Auckland and the East Durham Rural Corridor with a minibus to help transport local people to sessions.

The Rest House will be the main hub for activities including college in the community relaxation pamper days, health trainers clinics and an extensive events programme and will be the main base for the Health Express team.

The development of the building will take place throughout the Spring with an official launch later in the year.

Cllr Brian Stephens said: “We want Health Express to show it’s possible to create a ‘healthy town’ ethos within Shildon and the surrounding areas. It will engage directly with other health stakeholders and most importantly the local community to improve their health outcomes by giving them a place to try new activities and to meet and make new friends.”

Funding for the project comes from the Area Action Partnership (AAP) Neighourhood Budget.

The Health Express project was launched in 2012 with a range of partners including Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP, Public Health, Durham Dales and Easington Clinical Commissioning Group, South Durham Enterprise Agency, livin – the social housing provider, the Primary Care Partnership and other members of the community to take a strategic approach to improving health outcomes locally.