The Department for Transport has announced that Nottingham is one of the cities to receive a share of £12.7m funding to take part in a trial on the social prescribing of walking, and cycling. 

Nottingham will get £1.5 million to help widen access to cycling and active travel, in Aspley, Beechdale, Bilborough, Bulwell, St Ann’s and Sneinton. 

The trial will see social prescriptions, including walking and cycling, offered by GPs as part of a plan to improve mental and physical health and reduce health inequalities. 

The money will be spent on initiatives to help make active travel more affordable and sociable, including e-cycle loans, taster days, led rides for people with visual impairment, cycle repair and maintenance, cycle buddy scheme, adult cycle training, women’s cycle support package, led walks, walking buddy schemes and groups. 

Councillor Audra Wynter, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Parks said: “I’m delighted that, thanks to the great work of our transport teams, Nottingham is one of 11 cities chosen to take part in the trial. We are working closely with our healthcare providers and other partners around the city to enable as many residents as possible to have the opportunity to take part.  

“Cycling and walking are vital in creating healthier lifestyles for all ages and communities. Building movement into our everyday lives is a way to get more Nottingham people active, and there are many benefits.  

“We look forward to taking this opportunity to try something different by providing practical help to encourage more people to walk and cycle. The scheme will improve participants’ health, reduce traffic, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.” 

Cllr Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “We know moving more, be it cycling or walking, can have a positive impact on an individual’s physical and mental health. 

“Almost one in four (24.1%) adults in Nottingham are inactive and this funding offers an exciting opportunity to work with communities to make cycling and walking more accessible, particularly for those who could benefit the most.”  

Rosa Waddingham, Director of Nursing at NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said: “It is fantastic news that Nottingham has been named as part of a trial to help improve the public’s mental and physical health through expanding social prescribing. This allows us to build upon the work developed by Greenspace and our partners to support people in managing their health and well-being through social prescribing, personalised care and community empowerment.    

“As part of this new opportunity, primary care teams (GPs, or the wider team of health coaches, social prescribers, and others), will be able to issue more social prescriptions, by helping people to access walking groups, cycling and bike loans. By working together, we want to make it easier for more people to enjoy and realise the benefits of walking and cycling. Getting active is hugely beneficial for both our mental and physical health, it can help to alleviate stress and reduce many illnesses such as heart disease and obesity.   

“This trial will take a whole systems approach to health improvement and support us in meeting some of the key health and health equity issues, which is a key aim of the newly established Integrated Care Board. I am excited to see this work develop and continue to build on our work with people and communities to support better health outcomes for everyone.”