ItHome Cardiac Arrest Post-lockdown Heart Foundation survey reveals what Victorians value in a neighbourhood | Bendigo Advertiser

Post-lockdown Heart Foundation survey reveals what Victorians value in a neighbourhood | Bendigo Advertiser

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Post-lockdown Heart Foundation survey reveals what Victorians value in a neighbourhood | Bendigo Advertiser

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Life in lockdown has allowed Victorians to take more note of the neighbourhood features they are missing. A new survey by the Heart Foundation asked Victorians to rate the neighbourhood-design features they rate the most important. More than 90 per cent said convenient access to fresh food was the most important feature. More news Rounding out the top five was a sense of safety (89 per cent), accessible walking and cycling facilities (87 per cent), natural elements (86 per cent) and being close to parks or open spaces (83 per cent). Heart Foundation Victoria chief executive Kellie-Ann Jolly said after eight months of lockdown, Victorians felt their home communities should support active and healthy lifestyles. “For many people, COVID-19 threw a spotlight on communities that failed to meet these needs,” she said. “COVID-19 restrictions forced Melburnians and regional Victorians to take stock of their health, homes and neighbourhoods. “We know the way our neighbourhoods are designed and built is closely connected to how much physical activity we do. Regular exercise and being active is one of the best ways to reduce your risks of heart attack, stroke and other chronic diseases.” Bendigo Foodshare manager Bridget Bentley said during the coronavirus pandemic, more people were seeking food relief for the first time. “Pre-COVID we were supporting nearly 13,000 people each week over a (central Victorian) network of 94 agencies,” she said. “Some agencies were reporting a 40 to 50 per cent increase in people wanting food relief. “We were seeing a change in people requesting food relief, with many more asking help for first time. “(Many) were finding themselves in situations they had never been in before and had probably taken for granted having access to fresh and healthy food when you need it.” As well as financial difficulties stopping people accessing fresh food, Ms Bentley said physical difficulties also played a part. “Definitely through the pandemic and lockdown, people were physically unable to get to a supermarket,” she said. “Or they would go to one and it wasn’t possible to get to the next when the first didn’t have things people needed. “Out in the regions, we were hearing small country towns don’t have the same access to fresh, healthy food as some bigger towns. “It’s a basic right and an essential part of life – access to fresh, healthy food. Ninety-one per cent highlights that people see it as an essential service and a part of a healthy lifestyle.”

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