Joining forces with a state-funded health initiative, the Scotland County Department of Public Health is endeavoring to promote tobacco-free and active living and healthy eating in our region.
Called the “Community Transformation Grant Project,” the program is unique in that it was designed not to serve the broader needs of the entire state, but to serve specific regions in North Carolina.
“This is a different program than the past because the funds are provided to various regions. Our areas of focus in (Scotland County’s ten county region) are different from those of the Western counties or other places,” said Kathie Cox, health educator for the county.
Scotland County’s region includes Anson, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph and Richmond counties.
While Cox said that the exact amount of funding that Scotland County will receive is still “up in the air,” more than $100 million has already been awarded nationwide.
According to Health Director Wayne Raynor, the grant “will be instrumental in assisting the health department to enhance efforts to pursue smoke-free and tobacco free regulations.”
Intended as a collaborative, community-driven effort to implement prevention strategies that have been empirically proven to be effective, the grant will focus on creating positive change in several ways.
By increasing tobacco-free regulations in various indoor and outdoor locations, the program will reduce the presence of tobacco and the associated health hazard.
The program will also seek to boost the healthy food and beverage offerings of local convenience and corner stores.
“(The grant) will help greatly in promoting physical activity and healthier food and beverage options in Scotland County,” Raynor said.
Establishing and supporting farmer’s markets and similar farm facilities is also on the list of program goals.
“During the five year program and we will seek to implement changes in government grounds and building policy and in parks and recreation grounds and buildings policy as well,” added Cox.
“For example, the community could create a joint agreement with a school that has a walking track or a gymnasium, welcoming the public to make use of those (facilities),” Cox said.
The National Transformation Grants program, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, is designed to support community level efforts to reduce chronic disease. The grant has served 61 communities and approximately 120 million Americans already.
Serving a variety of not for profits and tribal organizations along with state and local governments, at least 20 percent of the grant funds have been directed to “rural and frontier areas.”
The precise level of funding to reach Scotland County’s region has not yet been determined because some of the funds come from the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Cox said.
For information about the project, contact Ockidde Harris, CTP Lead Coordinator, Cumberland County Health Department at 910-433-3852 or call Cox at 277-2470, extension 4478.