Walking scheme tackles isolation among older adults

An ‘innovative’ project, which used active travel to improve the health and independence of older adults in Redbridge, has been recognised with a national award.

Aimed at people over the age of 65 years, Streets Apart was delivered by Living Streets in partnership with the London Borough of Redbridge, with funding from the City Bridge Trust.

As part of the project, Living Streets organised 61 led walks and carried out four ‘Community Street Audits’ to identify potential barriers to walking for older adults – going on to recommend solutions to overcome the issues to Redbridge Council. 

The charity also trained 56 volunteers to enable them to continue to lead walks for older adults in the community once the project finished.  

Evaluation showed 94% of the older adults who took part became more active, 86% felt more connected to their community and 89% saw improvements to their mental health.

The project collected the Best Sustainable Travel Initiative prize at the Modeshift Awards on 7 November.

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.

“Streets Apart successfully increased levels of physical activity amongst over 65s, but just as importantly it helped people to feel connected to their community and less isolated.”

Living Streets says the impact and recommendations from Streets Apart has inspired other London boroughs to explore setting up their own older adult-focussed walking projects.

22 November 2019