Over 200 country kids in rural NSW have received essential health checks with the Healthy Kids Bus Stop, funded by an Aussie Farmers Foundation grant.

The Healthy Kids Bus Stop was the winner of the first $50,000 Rural Hero grant, thanks to a public vote last year.

The $50,000 grant enabled Royal Far West to provide comprehensive health screening to over 200 NSW children in the following areas:

• Muswellbrook located in the Upper Hunter region
• Urunga, Bellingen and Dorrigo on the Mid North Coast
• West Wyalong located 467km west of Sydney

Over one third of kids living in rural NSW have difficulty accessing health services and some children are on specialist waiting lists for up to sixteen months. Furthermore, in rural and remote NSW, one in eight children have complex health and learning issues and are developmentally vulnerable.

Developed by Royal Far West, the Healthy Kids Bus Stop delivers free health checks for children aged three to five in rural and remote communities.

Healthy Kids Bus Stop is a fun and interactive health check: kids progress through health stations or “bus stops” until their health assessment is completed, receiving a bus pass stamp at each station along the way.

The program includes hearing, vision, fine and gross motor skill development screenings, and dental, language, speech development and nutrition checks, all undertaken by nursing and specialist health staff.

The program aims for the early detection of lifestyle risk factors, delayed development and/or illness, to help children be healthy, fit and ready to learn when they start school.

Lindsay Cane, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Far West said the organisation was thrilled to win the Rural Hero Grant in 2016.

“The Rural Hero program is an inspired way for many great organisations to tell their stories and showcase the needs of rural communities,” she said. “We loved the approach the Foundation took to the grant application process. Creating the entry video and securing support from our friends and partners across Australia was great fun and an excellent way to engage with the community.”

Royal Far West’s mission to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people who live in rural and remote communities.