Brands sign up for Change4Life voucher scheme

The Department of Health is partnering with the News of the World and Asda for a £250m voucher scheme for its Change4Life initiative to encourage people to swap to a healthier lifestyle.

According to a statement by the Fitness Industry Association, the scheme, which launches in January, will distribute 5 million “voucher chequebooks” containing 20 healthy lifestyle vouchers, including vouchers for reduced-price swimming and gym sessions, to the public.

Three million will be distributed through Asda, 1 million through the News of the World, and the rest through GP surgeries, schools and local community services, the FIA says.

Other brands are expected to be involved and help pay for the scheme. The FIA adds that it has taken two of the 20 vouchers and will be “joined by some of the UK’s leading consumer brands”, which have “had to pay a contribution” while it has “not had to make such an upfront contribution”.

The FIA statement has since been removed. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, and a number of DoH spokespeople declined to offer any further information on the initiative.

Lansley announced the “Great Swapathon” in the white paper “Healthy Lives, Healthy People”, which sets out the coalition Government’s strategy for public health in England.

The voucher scheme launch comes as the DoH prepares to increase the number of public-private partnerships to communicate public health messages. Lansley has previously said he wants Change4Life to be “less paid-for by government, more backed by business”.

The white paper adds that the Change4Life campaign will “take a more holistic approach to childhood issues” by covering areas such as mental wellbeing.

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