A Yorkshire-based national charity is celebrating ten years of helping people to look after their hearts and live healthier lifestyles.

Over the last decade, Heart Research UK has awarded over £1.2 million across the UK for projects that encourage people to make positive lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of heart disease.

The charity’s first Healthy Heart Grant was awarded in 2002 to Professor Paul Gately, who runs summer camps in the Bradford district for children with weight problems. He has been helping hearts through his residential weight-loss programme for young people, which has gone on to become a well-recognised intervention.

Since then more than 150 projects have been funded to support community schemes around the UK that run activity and fitness sessions for young and old and groups who are at an increased risk of heart disease.

Grants of up to £10,000 are given to community-based schemes that help raise awareness of a heart-healthy lifestyle and prevent heart disease.

The charity looks for innovative and effective ways of educating people of all ages and sectors of society, enabling them to make lifestyle changes that will have a positive effect on the heart.

Other projects in the Bradford district which have attracted grant funding include Cafe West in Allerton and the Bradford Bulls Community Foundation, whose community projects have reached out to encourage people of all ages to be more active and eat more healthily.

The Bradford Bulls “Change of Heart” programme has been delivering a creative and interactive heart-health programme to 18 primary schools in Bradford’s inner city. More than 2,000 children have been involved in the project to educate them about making healthy changes to their lifestyles.

Barbara Harpham, national director of Heart Research UK, said: “We’re very proud of achieving this 10-year milestone of helping hearts in the community across the UK. Our grants are unique, have encouraged thousands to live a healthier heart lifestyle and have certainly saved lives.”

To mark the milestone, Heart Research UK is holding a conference in Leeds on Wednesday. Guest speakers include Healthy Heart Grant holders and consultant cardiologist Professor Lip-Bun Tan, who will talk about promoting heart health.

To find out more call (0113) 2976206 or to book a place or visit heartresearch.org.uk