In the year that Derry City & Strabane became a designated WHO Healthy City for the third time, it has never been more clear that good decision making has to prioritise health, whether that’s in business, public service or community work. In partnership with Ulster University, and with the help of inspiring speakers and interactive sessions we explore how the council, community and enterprise can center healthy lives in their decision making and harness innovative approaches for the benefit of Derry City & Strabane residents. 

During the day participants will hear from experts in their field and engage in conversations to explore the ways in which business, statutory and community leaders right now can build the conditions for a healthy thriving city and district in decades to come. 

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Gary Rutherford, founder of Arc Fitness

Gary Rutherford is a registered mental health nurse and a qualified personal trainer. In 2019 he launched ARC Fitness, a Derry / L’Derry based non-profit organisation that supports individuals impacted by addiction and substance use through physical activity, professional support, and re-connection with community.

Gary is also a person in long term recovery from substance abuse, something that drives him to passionately advocate and provide hope for others. This years his work has been recognised by the Royal College of Nursing, awarding him ‘Nurse of the Year’ 2022.

Professor Mark Taylor, Consultant HPB Surgeon and visiting Professor at Ulster University’s School of Medicine

Mark Taylor PhD FRCSI FRCS(Eng) FRCS(Gen Surg) is a Consultant HPB Surgeon at the Mater Hospital, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. He trained in Belfast and at the Regional HPB and Transplant Unit in Edinburgh. His Doctorate of Philosophy was in the pathophysiology of obstructive jaundice.

He is passionate about innovation, change and collective leadership within the HSCNI. He is the District Surgeon and Trustee of St. John Ambulance and a keen cyclist.

Cllr Sandra Duffy, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council

Sandra is an ardent campaigner on social issues including ‘period poverty ’and made history in 2018 by ensuring Derry City and Strabane district Council became the first in Ireland to provide free period products in as many sporting grounds and public buildings as possible to combat this ever-growing issue.

Sandra is passionate about tackling homelessness and has been involved in this sector for over 20 years, she now leads and has developed outreach services addressing homelessness among young people and those with complex needs that require an intense service to meet their needs, including issues around addiction and mental health.

Plus panellists including:

Donna Keenan, Interim Executive Director of Nursing and Director of Primary Care and Older People’s Services, Western Health and Social Care Trust

Siobhan O'Neill, Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland

Jade Bradley, Nutritional Therapist

In partnership with Ulster University

In 2022 Developing Healthy Communities celebrates its 30th anniversary. In three decades working for improved mental, physical and social wellbeing the one thing that we have learned is that you should never stop learning. In that spirit, we want our birthday celebrations to be an opportunity to talk, think and learn about the most pressing health issues and biggest opportunities facing all of us right now.

Between World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) and World Mental Health Day (10 October) we will hold a series of 30th anniversary events for our friends and colleagues in the community, statutory and enterprise sectors.

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