Big strides are being taken in West Wales to inspire people who might benefit from being more physically active to take up regular walking through a new and ground breaking project.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is the lead partner for the project which is to be supported by a grant of £400k from the Healthy and Active Fund. The cross-sector partnership also includes Ceredigion Actif/Ceredigion County Council; Carmarthenshire Fifty Plus Forum (Walking Well Carmarthenshire); Hywel Dda Public Health Team and Snowdrop Independent Living in Haverfordwest.
An autumn launch is planned for the aptly titled ‘West Wales Walking for Well-being’ project, which has the key aim of developing a sustainable model for health and well-being walking groups across the Hywel Dda Health Board area.
Working primarily with GP practices and other centres in local communities, the project will work with these settings to help them establish walking groups, with those who struggle to be physically active particularly in mind.
Sam Evans, the National Park’s Walkability Officer, who will be involved in delivering the project, said: “The focus is on helping people to be more active by encouraging them to join a friendly and supportive walking group led by trained walk leaders.
“Once set up these walking groups, in known and trusted settings, will work with partners to remove any barriers, encouraging and enabling individuals to build regular walking into their life in the long term. Walking is the most accessible activity which benefits physical health, mental well-being and promotes social interaction.
“This is a three-year funded project which, when completed, aims to demonstrate a sustainable model for social prescribing and walking activity. Walking groups will welcome referrals from health professionals for those most likely to benefit from taking part in health walks.
“The aspiration for the project is to develop a model that could be adapted and replicated across other regions in Wales, increasing the excellent value for money that well-designed walking initiatives are recognised to deliver.”
Further information will be available in advance of the actual launch of the ‘West Wales Walking for Well-being’ project this coming autumn.