Cornwall chosen to be part of national cycling prescription trial
Cornwall Council has secured funding of more than £840,000 as part of a national scheme to enable health professionals to refer patients to walking and cycling activities.
It is one of 11 local authorities in England chosen by the Department for Transport (DfT) to take part in a three-year trial.
The pilot scheme will focus on three areas identified as having entrenched health inequalities – Bodmin, Penzance, and St Austell and the Clays.
The plan is that health professionals, including GPs, and social prescribers in these locations will be able to refer patients to take part in cycling or walking activity groups set up as part of the project and make the most of the cycling and walking infrastructure in their area.
It will target adults with poor mental health and wellbeing, poor physical health including long term health conditions, disabled people, unemployed adults, and adults over 50.
Initial engagement with local partners has already highlighted a number of initiatives that could be developed.
These include: cycle confidence courses; adaptive cycle sessions; access to bikes through cycle loans; access to e-bikes through a loan initiative; bike banks; cycle maintenance training; walking groups.
The Council will now look to procure a partner to support delivery of the project and consult further with communities about how active travel could boost people’s health.
Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said:
“We already have experience of social prescribing in our GP practices, to a range of activities to improve health and wellbeing, so it is fantastic news that Cornwall has been chosen to taken part in this exciting pilot.
“We all know that walking and cycling are good for us but often there are barriers that might stop people from doing them, such as a lack of confidence or safety concerns.
“Under this scheme, when a patient visits their local surgery with a health issue, if appropriate a health professional can talk to them about the benefits of exercise and refer them to a range of groups that can help them get cycling and walking safely.”
Cllr Dr Andy Virr, Portfolio Holder for Adult and Public Health, said:
“I’m really looking forward to seeing this scheme up and running as I have no doubt that it can make a huge difference to people’s lives.
“The more people we can help to feel confident taking regular exercise, the healthier our communities will be for generations to come. This scheme is a great step towards achieving that goal.”
Press release published on August 24, 2022.