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Aston Science Park, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2007/04/11 - A Great Barr storyteller who has designed a healthy-eating board game to tackle obesity has launched the product with support from Advantage West Midlands’ Innovation Networks fund.
Belly Busters is the brainchild of Sue Andrews, a storyteller in libraries, kids club and schools across Sandwell and developed the game as a way to encourage healthy eating.
The game – which comes in either giant size or board game-size – is aimed at 3-13 year-olds and involves players rotating a board to collect healthy foods, steering clear of junk food items.
After being developed with the help of her daughter, Sue has tested the game on pupils at Whitecrest Primary School in Great Barr and was even featured on TV’s Dragon’s Den.
Innovation Networks is a project funded by Advantage West Midlands (advantagewm.co.uk) which provides grants to groups of companies who are collaborating on the development of an innovative product, process or service.
The funding enabled Sue to develop a proper prototype from the cardboard version she created and the game and it is being distributed by Cheshire-based company Brain Ed.
It is also being used by organisations such as the Department of Public Health and local Primary Care Trusts as an educational tool.
Sue said: “I was doing some workshops on bullying for Sandwell Council and while doing it I got to speak to the victims, many of whom were being bullied because they were overweight or obese.
“It was heart-wrenching to watch the change in their personalities when the time for any form of physical activity came.
“As an avid Blue Peter fan when I was a child, I made a first version out of cardboard, including a cardboard toilet roll.
“I worked with Business Link West Midlands as well as Innovation Networks to get the product to the stage where it is now being used up and down the country.
“Now it’s all ready to go – well and truly road tested by the hardest cynics of all: kids!”
Dr Phil Extance, Advantage West Midlands Director of Innovation, said: “One of the key challenges our region faces is in innovation and the development of new products and processes.
“Belly Busters is an absolutely fantastic example of somebody having an idea, having the courage to pursue it and, with a little bit of support from Advantage West Midlands, being able to bring the product to the market.
“This is where Innovation Networks can be invaluable as it provides funding and collaboration contacts which have proven time and time again to be the key to turning a dream into reality.”