Getting to health appointments can cause a lot of stress. Hospitals and GP surgeries have limited parking, while bus services can be mixed or non-existent. At the same time, Southampton City Council is keen to see more people walk, cycle and use other healthy modes of active travel. By adopting non-polluting forms of transport, exposure to poor air quality can be reduced. This strategy can also go some way to towards tackling obesity and helping people find a more affordable way to travel.
Connecting active travel and health
Cycling has historically been considered a suitable activity for healthy, active people. While this is true, people with a variety of health conditions can also be given freedom on a bike. Cycling means a person can travel further using less energy and cycling can be a good option for people with a variety of health conditions. With the growth in different types of bikes – disability bikes, two person bikes, cargo bikes, bike trailers – these days there are more options for getting around. But once people have arrived at their hospital, GP surgery or community health venue, what are the barriers to getting into the building? How could the NHS and communities work together to address some of the causes of stress or difficulty experienced when arriving at health appointments?
With this in mind, Healthwatch Southampton, My Journey and Southampton Collective have teamed up to run a day touring health venues in Southampton on Friday, September 27. Rob Kurn from Healthwatch Southampton explains more: “We feel that by experiencing some routes around the city together, bringing together people with a range of different backgrounds and perspectives, we will generate some really productive conversation. Here at Healthwatch Southampton, we believe that health services should be designed with the local community central to the conversation.”
The Southampton Health Cycle and City Walk and Wheel will include a series of Health Stops on route, which anyone can join. If walking and cycling is a barrier to you, you can still join in at the Health Stops to tell the group more about the problems you face. The City Walk and Wheel section in the city centre, starting at Shopmobility Southampton at 10am, means anyone can join with their wheelchairs, pushchairs, skateboards or as a pedestrian. If you don’t have a mobility scooter and would like to borrow one, Shopmobility can lend you one for the morning. Rob adds: Let’s get people talking and moving together”
On the day, the team will be sharing questions linked with its themes of access to health, active travel and air quality via social media using the hashtag #SotonHealthTour. Follow Healthwatch Southampton on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to get involved or complete their survey online https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5782NTF
You can join in with the day’s events by booking via Eventbrite.
This event is one of a series of events during Cycle September, a fun free cycling challenge run by My Journey in partnership with Love to Ride. To find out more, visit lovetoride.net/Southampton. Southampton Collective is a community interest company concerned with healthy, sustainable city and is running an air quality community project called Breathing Spaces. It is hosting the first in the series of events on the day – Breakfast & Conversation at October Books.