City Council secures funding to develop pilot scheme to prescribe active travel

Generic cyclist

Nottingham City Council has been awarded £93,000 to carry out work to help people lead more active, healthier lives by addressing barriers to walking and cycling.

Nottingham was one of several places to express interest to the Department for Transport (DfT) to become a national pilot area for active travel social prescribing. The council’s application, developed in partnership with Nottingham City Integrated Care Partnership, has been selected to submit a more detailed application.

Through social prescribing, people are referred to free services and tailored support to help them do more walking and cycling. The support will be targeted to people who would most benefit from improved physical and mental health.

During the next few months, officers will work with partners at the Integrated Care Partnership, Clinical Commissioning Group, Primary Care Networks and community partners and stakeholders in the city to gain a better understanding of what support and services people need to make more active journeys, including looking at health data to determine the geographical areas and groups that would most benefit from the scheme.

Councillor Rosemary Healy, Portfolio Holder for Transport, said: “This is a great start to 2022, enabling us to continue our long standing commitment to get more people walking and cycling for better public health. It’s well known that being active can have real benefits in tackling a wide variety of physical and mental health conditions.

“This project will support our wider work on Eating and Moving for Good Health, and help to inform how we continue to deliver walking and cycling services, and how we can make active travel more accessible to people with health and mobility needs.

“Obviously we hope we’ll be successful in getting through to the next round of the programme, but the work carried out over the next few months will be valuable either way and will complement our ongoing investment in walking and cycling infrastructure across the city.”

Dr Hugh Porter, Interim Lead and Clinical Director of Nottingham City Integrated Care Partnership, said: “Given the effects of the pandemic on physical activity, and the need to look beyond treating ill health towards improving wellbeing and ill-health prevention, Nottingham City Integrated Care partnership is delighted to be part of developing this pilot scheme, which offers real opportunities to understand how we can support our citizens and communities through active travel social prescribing.”

The feasibility stage will run until the end of April 2022, after which up to four local authorities in the UK will be selected to receive funding to deliver a three-year programme.

The Government’s Cycling and Walking Minister Trudy Harrison 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 Nottingham City Council is interested in this valuable and fascinating research.”