Cumbria County Council have been awarded £99,000 to carry out feasibility studies for active travel social prescribing pilot schemes, in Barrow and Carlisle.

This funding is in addition to the successful application in November 2020 where the Department for Transport awarded the county council £886,000 to improve cycle paths on Bridge Road and Michaelson Road in Barrow, with work beginning this April.

The county council will work with both strategic and local partners to conduct the Feasibility Study over the coming weeks, with the view to a submission for further investment at the end of April 2022.

Social prescribing by health professionals includes referring patients to a range of non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing.

The feasibility study will help the county council understand the reasons why people do not want to cycle or walk in their areas, what could motivate them to change their behaviour, and what they would like to see in their community to encourage more activity.

If successful, the scheme would encourage and support people in Barrow and Carlisle, where health inequalities are evident, and adults have lower than national average participation rates for physical activity.

The feasibility study will involve the development and preparation of a Project Plan for future revenue investment to support a diverse range of innovative cycling and walking interventions as part of the local social prescribing offer.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said:

“It’s fantastic news that Carlisle and Barrow can be included in a feasibility study to develop a funding application for a range of walking and cycling interventions. “

“This is all very promising for the region, and if the next round of funding is successful, it will enable us to take significant steps to assist more people to access the health benefits that come from active travel, physically and mentally, whilst reducing our carbon


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