FAKE body parts and board games are among the unusual tactics being used to battle health problems in deprived Bolton communities.

And the success of the project has seen it win a top award.

Health and voluntary group bosses joined forces to try to narrow the gap in health inequalities in Bolton.

A main aim was to educate people about conditions, symptoms and available tests, as well as providing stop smoking advice and improving wellbeing, which is known to affect health. This included using fake body parts with hidden lumps to teach about signs of cancer.

Board games — “bowel bingo”

and “road to cervical screening”

— are also being used to raise awareness.

Health workers went out to areas or target groups over three years to spread health messages using interactive projects.

More than a thousand people have been taught how to check for breast and testicular cancer, more women from black and minority ethnic communities are attending cervical screening and more than 1,100 people have pledged to start a new hobby to improve wellbeing — a combination of health and happiness.

NHS Bolton and Bolton CVS were behind the scheme and Top o’ th’ Brow Together is one of the community groups to have received visits.

Mags Curley, from the group, said: “I think the project is really good. The activities were a surprise — I thought it’d be more talking and wouldn’t cover so many issues.

“I think it’s different, which helps people get involved. I think it has worked. People are paying more attention to their health.”

The project has now won an award, for narrowing the gap in health inequalities, at the regional Community Empowerment Awards.

Lesley Jones, deputy director of public health at NHS Bolton, said: “We set out on this project to tackle some very difficult issues with people who traditionally are less likely to take up prevention services.

“This award is evidence that we have achieved our aims and we did it together.”

Karen Minnitt, chief executive of Bolton CVS, added: “We hope that our joint work with NHS Bolton will help hundreds of local people to live longer and healthier lives.”

The work will now continue and has been extended for another three years.