Over the next couple of months, you are invited to be part of a unique project which focuses on improving the health of a town.

The town is Kilkenny and the aim of the project, which is a collaboration between the Irish Times and Pfizer healthcare, is to show people how, by simple adjustments, they can make a real difference to their health.

This project will take an holistic approach to health. It will show you how to eat well, how to embark on a form of exercise that suits you and how to take care of your mental health.

It is not about running a marathon or going on difficult diets.

The progress of some of those taking part will be charted through this microsite and through our health supplement HEALTHplus every Tuesday over an eight-week period.

A number of experts will give talks in Kilkenny on various health-related topics beginning with Aidan Woods, a physiotherapist who worked with the Irish Olympic team at London 2012.

Many restaurants in Kilkenny are supporting the project. One event will feature chef of the year Garret Byrne demonstrating how to cook healthy food.

Each day we will post a healthy tip of the day on the website.

With accessibility in mind, the Irish Institute of Sports Performance has designed four two-week exercise programmes which will be uploaded on the microsite from mid-September. The institute works with high-performance athletes, helping them to get the best out of their talent. The videos, featuring Kilkenny-born boxer Darren O’Neill, will show you how to radically improve your physical fitness.

Why is the project focusing on Kilkenny?

We selected Kilkenny as a pilot project for many reasons: Its citizens and the local authorities are very supportive of health-related initiatives. But like many other cities and towns in Ireland, it already has much of the necessary infrastructure in place, including walking routes, cycle routes and walk-to-work schemes.

We hope to show you how the various strands can be pulled together in a town, without massive investment, to get people healthy.

The project was officially launched last night in Kilkenny (September 5th) and health checks for those interested in taking part in Kilkenny takes place over the next two weeks.

Waterford Institute of Technology will conduct the health checks and will also evaluate participants when the eight-week programme ends to see what benefits they have experienced.

This microsite will also feature some blogs, including one by Kilkenny’s Lord Mayor Sean O’Hargain, who has a keen interest in health himself. His weekly walks on Saturdays will also be a feature of the project..

Healthy towns is not just about Kilkenny and its health. It’s about all our health. Feedback will be encouraged and appreciated. This project will show how anyone, young or old, can take simple steps to take back their health.