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October 17, 2018

Health Town Oban

Oban is a popular destination for thousands of tourists each year and many take advantage of the facilities in the Atlantis Leisure Centre – an award winning, community run facility for the past 25 years. Over the years, health promotion has become something of an obsession for this town – Healthy Options has developed into one of the country’s foremost community health services (albeit the local NHS has still to recognise its true financial value). No surprise then that Oban is seeking to become Scotland’s first Health Town.


David McPhee Oban Times

Oban is well on its way to becoming Scotland’s first ‘health town’.

The journey officially started on Saturday at a health fair in Atlantis Leisure, where people were encouraged to try out a new activity or sport.

Dozens of organisations that help improve people’s health, turned out to offer advice.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to take part in taster sessions, such as walking football, CPR training, tennis coaching, Tai Chi, as well as other sports and fitness classes.

Roy Cloonie, a voluntary director at Healthy Options, said: ‘We are launching Oban becoming Scotland’s first healthy living town.

‘Forty per cent of the population is not active enough to stay in good health, but today is not about being scared. In Oban we have fantastic organisations.

‘What we are doing and what these organisations do is fantastic, but it’s still just reactive. We  want people to stay healthy – that’s what healthy Oban is all about.

‘There are 150 different organisations either directly, or indirectly improving our health.

‘Not just sports clubs and gyms, but walking and social groups.

‘They all improve our health, reduce isolation and loneliness, and get us active.

‘As a town we have our own sports centre, a cinema, and we are working towards having a community centre at Rockfield.

‘Today, we are saying to the Oban community, this is us making a commitment and the journey has started – and the journey will never end. This is a long-term project.

‘It’s a mindset thing. We never think, “I am going to brush my teeth today”, we just do it. We want the same for exercise – we just go for a walk.’

Discussing the next steps, Roy said: ‘We have a group of committed people from voluntary organisations who are all pulling together. We just want to support, encourage and provide opportunities for people. We need to support these organisaitons.’

Andy Spence, chief executive of BID4Oban, said: ‘We have a very keen interest in what’s happening with Oban as a healthy town. It’s essential to the residents and the businesses that we support this and make it a success.’

Councillor for Oban North and Lorn, Elaine Robertson said: ‘We are so fortunate to have a community that responds to a call such as this one.

‘This includes physical and mental health because unless you have both, your wellbeing and quality of life are diminished.

‘Unfortunately not everyone enjoys good health, but we can all do something to help ourselves.

‘Exercise does as much for us than anything prescribed. Just get out there and go into the community and you will feel better.

‘One of the great things about being the first is you can’t make a mistake as there are no rules.

‘Having fun and enjoying yourself is better than any medicine you can prescribe.

‘Look around and see if there’s any activity you might enjoy – such as walking football.’