Pioneering project helping over-65s stay healthy scoops national award

Published: 12 November 2019

A pioneering project that helped hundreds of older residents stay active in the borough has won a prestigious national award.

Since launching in Redbridge two years ago, Streets Apart has supported 369 older adults stay active by getting them involved in bespoke activities, including led walks, around the borough.

The project, which has led to improved health and wellbeing, reduced isolation and enhanced independence amongst over 65s, earned Best Sustainable Travel Initiative prize at the Modeshift Awards last week.

Delivered by Living Streets - the UK charity for everyday walking - in partnership with Redbridge Council, the project received high praise on winning the accolade at a ceremony held on Thursday 7 November.

As part of the project, Living Streets and the council organised 61 led walks, as well as training up 56 volunteers so that they could continue to lead walks for older adults in the community once the project finished.

94 per cent of the older adults who took part in the project became more active, 86 per cent felt more connected to their community and 89 per cent saw improvements to their mental health.

Redbridge Council’s Corporate Director of People, Adrian Loades, said: “A big congratulations to all those who helped bring this project alive and deliver it across the borough. We are proud to have won this award.

“The impact of this project on those taking part has been fantastic. ‘Streets Apart’ has been a resounding success in our borough, and is one of the many great examples of the projects running in Redbridge to help our residents – across all ages – to stay healthy and active.”

Julia Crear, Director (South), Living Streets said: “In many cases of inactivity in older adults, we see a lack of confidence being one of the main reasons that older adults don’t walk everyday journeys.

“Through ‘Streets Apart’, we sought to increase confidence in walking as a way to get around and meet new and current friends.

“As our population ages, we need to address problems with easy and accessible solutions like walking. We had incredible results from the Streets Apart project in Redbridge, and I look forward to seeing more in the coming years.”

In 2016, 18% of the UK population was aged 65+ and current projections are a third of all children born today will live to over 100 years old. This ageing population trend, combined with older adults being more likely to reduce their activity levels as they age, led to the project as a means to help tackle inactivity levels in older adults now.

Building on the successful two-year project, City Bridge Trust has topped up its initial funding for the project with a further £135,250 investment over three years, across Redbridge, Havering, Barking & Dagenham, to support walking projects.

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