Plans for a scheme to get more people in West Northamptonshire to lead healthier lives through cycling and walking looks set to change gear thanks to a £93,000 feasibility grant from the Government’s Active Travel fund focusing on social prescribing.
The joint project between West Northamptonshire Council, Delapré Abbey, the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Sport, British Cycling and health colleagues aims to deliver:
- Free to access cycling and walking activities through social prescribing
- A bike re-cycling workshop as part of the redevelopment of former stables adjacent to Delapré Abbey
- Commissioning of Community Activators, to support cycle coaching, including guided rides and walks to help individuals gain confidence in a supported environment
- Enhanced routes for cycling linking the Abbey with the University of Northampton, Brackmills and the Norbital cycle route
The grant will fund a feasibility study and development of the recycling hub plans, design and planning of the wider project including routes, and a baseline for measuring its success.
If the feasibility plans are approved by the Department for Transport, it would follow the social prescribing model under which health and care professionals link people with a variety of services which will benefit their mental and physical health.
“This feasibility fund will allow us to develop the plans to help create further social prescribing opportunities, building upon the good work of the Thriving Communities programme.
“Alongside this, it will offer opportunities for people to build their skills and reduce isolation as they volunteer to learn how to bring pre-loved bikes back into service.
“And it will ensure those who are perhaps unable to afford the hundreds of pounds they cost are still able to get out cycling with their families.” Richard Clinton, Delapré Abbey Chief Executive
The project will build on the Thriving Communities Fund programme at Delapré Abbey, which aims to tackle health inequalities, targeting under-represented groups in cycling, and to improve health, particularly for young people.
“We’re aware that cycling provision in our area needs some attention and this will be a good start towards addressing that.
“It’s vital as we begin to recover from the past two years under a global pandemic that we tackle the impact that has had on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“This project would continue the development of cycle routes across West Northamptonshire, such as the new routes we have provided between Braunston and Daventry and at Upton Country Park.
“By helping to link up key sites in Northampton, this project will also support our aspiration for Northampton to become an active and vibrant city.” Cllr Matt Golby, West Northamptonshire Council Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Wellbeing and Health Integration