Blackburn with Darwen wins walking and cycling social prescribing pilot

Funding will allow BwD to explore whether GPs could prescribe walking and cycling.

BwD have been awarded £30,000 by the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop a feasibility Study into piloting an Active Travel Social Prescribing project.

If successful, the pilot schemes will trial new walking and cycling programmes through social prescribing to enable increased active travel and physical activity and to integrate with cycling and walking infrastructure improvements. The feasibility will look at supporting those who would most benefit from improved physical and mental health.

Over the next few months council officers will work with partners and local communities to gain a better understanding on what support and services people need to make more active journeys, determining geographical areas within the Borough and groups that would benefit from the pilot project.

Blackburn with Darwen’s Assistant Executive member Growth and Development, Councillor Zainab Rawat said:

“This is a great win for our borough. The project further supports the council’s wider work committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people and will help to inform how we continue to deliver walking and cycling services and how we make walking and cycling more accessible.”

Blackburn with Darwen’s Executive member Wellbeing, Councillor Damian Talbot said: “We are delighted to win this social prescribing pilot from the government. The council is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents through innovative projects such as this one. Through social prescribing, people will be referred to free services and tailored support to help them do more walking and cycling. This is another step greener.”

The feasibility study funding was awarded after two successful rounds of application process and assessment. Application was developed in partnership with a number of internal council departments (Public Health, Highways, neighbourhoods, wellbeing and prevention) and in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Neighbourhoods and Clinical Commissioning Group.

Feasibility stage runs until the end of April 2022 where applications will then be assessed to decide which authorities will then receive funding to create future active travel social prescribing schemes for the financial years 2022 – 2025.

Trudy Harrison MP, the Government’s cycling and walking minister, said: “This funding will allow us to explore whether GPs could prescribe active travel to treat a variety of conditions and I’m very pleased that Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is interested in this valuable and fascinating research.”


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