A HEALTH and fitness project which is helping villagers turn their lives around has been praised by shadow health minister Andy Burnham.
Mr Burnham tried out the gym at Healthworks, in Easington Colliery, which staff believe could now be used as a blueprint for others across the country.
They say the centre, run by the local NHS trust with support from Northumbrian Water and Durham County Council, is an example of how agencies can work together.
“I remember this community got under-funded for many years, said Mr Burnham.
“The NHS is too much of a sickness and treatment service. Here, ill health is prevented.
“If people are in good physical shape I think there are so many benefits for them and it helps people live a healthier life.”
He slammed the Coalition Government for not taking tougher action on cigarette packaging and for not introducing a minimum price for alcohol units.
Easington MP Grahame Morris added: “It’s an excellent facility and has been recognised as the best in County Durham.”