Alix Stredwick has been tapping into networks of Children’s Centres, Health Trainers and other community groups in Tower Hamlets. The purpose is to find ready-formed groups of potential new cyclists that will give each other peer support and encouragement. The work is part of the Cycling for Health Project that Alix is managing on behalf of Tower Hamlets NHS and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. This forms part of their ‘Healthy Boroughs’ programme. One session held at the end of November benefited a group of mainly Muslim Bangladeshi women who are keen to explore where they live. This was part of a Poplar housing association project called ‘Discover London’,
Another element of the Cycling for Health programme is ‘Cycling on Prescription’ where Local GPs refer patients for one-to-one Bikeability cycle training sessions. Free bike hire from local social enterprise Bikeworks is included. On regaining their confidence the patients are invited to take part in weekly 'drop-in' social bike rides held on quiet routes and the extensive network of off-road canal towpaths and parks in Tower Hamlets. People with diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression or those who are overweight or obese are eligible.
The pilot at one GP practice saw nearly 80 people referred to the scheme.
Transport Initiatives will be rolling out of the scheme to all GP practices in the borough during 2010-2011.
With many partners, electronic patient referral systems and numerous pots of funding, setting up the scheme has been a complicated process. However, TI now has a wealth of experience in this and the success of the scheme speaks for itself as the testimony of Chris from Bow shows.
With the abolition of PCTs, and more funding in the control of GPs as a result, schemes like this will become more appealing, particularly when TI can handle the complicated process and tasks involved in setting them up on the client’s behalf.
Contact Alix Stredwick for more details
Tel: 020 8533 6561
“It was 30 years since I had been on a bike, but after all those years, once I overcame the initial wobbles, cycling regularly has become a lifeline. I had been suffering with depression and felt very bleak, but cycling each week got me out of the house.”
Chris has taken part in many of the weekly bike rides, and is working towards his Level 3 Bikeability.
“It’s got me meeting people…the activity has improved everything.”
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