Bradford receives £1.34million to launch a new scheme to get people walking and cycling

Article dated Friday Jul 7, 2023 at 03:55 PM

Bradford is one of 11 local authorities, securing £1.34m as part of the £13.9m Active Travel Social Prescribing Pilot. This government funded pilot scheme is to fund a national trial that allows doctors and health workers to prescribe walking and cycling to improve patients’ physical and mental health.

Bradford’s successful bid was a joint effort by the Council and the Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, part of the NHS.

The pilot will build on a healthcare approach called social prescribing, where GPs and other healthcare workers can prescribe activities, exercise and support in cases where medication is not the answer. This can help to improve physical and mental wellbeing, prevent further illness and help people take control of their own lives.

For example, a prescription might include support to get started cycling or become more confident on a bike, to build up fitness with a walk leader or to find safe routes to use for walking, running or cycling everyday journeys, to school, to work or to other local destinations. This means that people with health conditions can safely build some physical activity into their daily lives.

The Active Travel Social Prescribing Pilot focuses on parts of our local area where health needs are high, and where few people currently walk or cycle. Its aim is to enable people to feel ready and confident to use existing or new footpaths and cycleways for their everyday journeys.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport at Bradford Council said; “We are delighted that the Council and the NHS are being supported to work with local communities and voluntary and community organisations on how best to support people’s wellbeing by building more physical activity into the journeys we make everyday. We will work hard to understand how best to support people with health needs to build walking, running and cycling into their everyday routines Using social prescribing is a new and welcome way to do that.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Portfolio Holder for Health People and Places said; “What we learn along the way will help us to become a more active place. The improvements could include cycle loan scheme, expanding cycle and travel training, making it easier and safer for people to feel confident to get active to improve their mental health and overall wellbeing. We now look forward to continuing our ongoing conversations with communities and partner organisations to deliver the pilot study over the next three years."

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