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New Funding for Walking Friends in Wales

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Welsh Ministers announced Living Streets’ Cyfeillion Cerdded Cymru three-year project, as a successful recipient of the Healthy and Active Fund.

Cyfeillion Cerdded Cymru will encourage older adults of 50+ to increase activity through walking and take part in led group walks. Adopting the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act – 5 ways of working, the project will work with partners to identify and access existing community networks, reaching those who can most benefit; in places where the indices of deprivation are highest. Older people will be supported to connect with local social networks, clubs and groups and participation in group walks will be encouraged.

Beneficiaries will be able to define local challenges to walking; through participating in Living Streets’ unique Community Street Audits – a method to assess street environments from the user’s perspective. Older people will be supported to voice the need for changes to their local walking environment.

Rhiannon Hardiman, Wales Manager said:

“I’m thrilled that Cyfeillion Cerdded Cymru has been selected by Welsh Ministers as a valuable and impactful project to roll out in Wales.

“Older adults are the least active age group in our society and reap many benefits from joining with others on local walks. Not only is walking an easy and accessible way of over 50’s partaking in physical activity; improving general health, but it is also a great way of reducing feelings of loneliness and other adverse mental health conditions.

“Through our other work with older adults, throughout the UK, we have seen that involving whole communities in local audits of their streets, is one sure fire way of encouraging change and leaving a walking legacy.

“We are looking forward to working with communities in Wales to inspire hundreds of older adults to walk more and improve the local walking environment on streets across the country.”

The Living Streets project will work with 70-80 trained walk leaders and up to 400 beneficiaries over the three-year time period. The Healthy and Active Fund project  is worth £224,658.

Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said:

“Today we are announcing, in partnership with Sport Wales and Public Health Wales, the 17 projects which will all benefit from our £5.4m Healthy and Active Fund. Each of these projects will contribute to the strengthening of community assets and enabling people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

“When we launched the Healthy & Active Fund last July it was with the message that the benefits to our mental and physical health of healthy and active lifestyles are clear. These projects show new, innovative approaches to supporting people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Living Streets will run Cyfeillion Cerdded Cymru with partners the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and Swansea University and Independent Age.