The power of walking and cycling: how Active Travel funding is changing lives
COVID-19 continues to create huge challenges for our Oxfordshire community, with many residents impacted by increased mental health difficulties, loneliness and isolation.
Helping residents get moving through walking and cycling can make a powerful, lasting difference to their physical and mental health and well-being. That's why we are delighted to be working alongside local charities to increase rates of walking and cycling in areas of greatest need, thanks to Emergency Active Travel funding through Oxfordshire County Council.
Our role is to support the delivery of Community Activation in Witney, Bicester West and Oxford, helping local residents access walking and cycling projects to protect their health and wellbeing.
So far, over 500 residents across the county have benefited from a wide range of walking and cycling projects, including bike libraries, cycling tuition, "Walk, Talk and Tea" sessions for residents who have been shielding as a result of COVID-19, training community members as ride leaders, mental health focused walking groups and community-based E-Cargo bike hire schemes. In Witney, 30 children who are in receipt of benefits related free school meals have been provided with bikes through Windrush Bike Project, and older people facing social isolation have been able to enjoy Walk, Talk and Tea sessions thanks to a project delivered by Cogges Manor Farm, Wychwood Project and West Oxfordshire District Council.
Changing lives – what participants are saying:
These sessions are the highlight of my week. I love being able to put them in my calendar as they really give me something to look forward to. It has been very isolating recently so it is great to get out regularly again!
As a single Mum, life gets a bit crazy at times. I have loved seeing these sessions grow from week to week I have made some great friends and this is really supporting me to feel happier and healthier in myself. I struggle to get out on my own as I don't often have the confidence.
I have recently moved to the area, I live on this estate but I have really struggled to get to know people and feel part of the community. Now I go to these walks I see so many more people even the people in the coffee shop say hello! I hope they continue, I feel much better overall in myself.
You can find out more about how Active Oxfordshire is working with partners to increase Active Travel across the county here