Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking was awarded the Best Sustainable Travel Initiative for work in the Community at the Modeshift Awards in Sheffield on Thursday (9 November 2017).
The charity was awarded for its work with older people in Sheffield and Leicester as part of Big Lottery funded Ageing Better projects in the two cities.
Staff have been working with local communities to identify improvements to local streets, so that older people feel more able and safer to walk to the shops, parks and other community-minded spaces, as well as taking part in led walks to both learn and experience the benefits walking brings.
Jennifer Wiles, Living Streets Director (North) said: “We’re so proud that both of our Ageing Better projects have been recognised for the positive outcomes they have brought to the local communities of Sheffield and Leicester. Through both of our staff based in these locations we have improved the lives of older people through walking and learnt new ways in which to help other communities around the country.”
Ross Butcher, National Chair of Modeshift said: “The Modeshift National Sustainable Travel Awards celebrate best practice in increasing levels of active and sustainable modes of travel for all types of Journeys. Over 90 entries were received across ten categories. Living Streets won the Best Sustainable Travel Initiative for their Ageing Better project. The project was voted to win by Modeshfit members who are sustainable travel practitioners across the United Kingdom.”
Currently there are 10.8m people aged 65 or over in the UK. Of those, 3.8m live alone, and one million say they are always or often feel lonely. 17 % of people have less than weekly contact with family, friends and neighbours. The Ageing Better project is seeking to overcome these issues.
Leicester Ageing Together is made up of 16 + organisations working to deliver a programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aimed at reducing social isolation amongst older people.
The programme is focused on five wards of Leicester: Belgrave, Evington, Thurncourt, Spinney Hills and Wycliffe, selected through the prevalence of risk factors associated with social isolation which have been identified by older people.
Living Streets have carried out Community Street Audits in each of the five wards, to help understand and communicate barriers to walking for older people, and engage older people in decisions affecting their local environment. We are helping to connect older people to their communities and reduce isolation by delivering regular walks in the areas and encouraging older people to walk together in company.
Our key success has been to help older people feel less isolated and be more actively involved in their communities.
The Living Streets project was delivered in two wards in Sheffield and funded by the Big Lottery Fund as part of Age Better in Sheffield’s Innovation programme, which supports ‘test and learn’ projects. The target wards of Beauchief and Greenhill and Burngreave are two out of four priority areas for Age Better in Sheffield due to the high risk of social isolation and loneliness in older people in these locations.
Our part time Project Coordinator worked with a wide range of partners, older people and their carers to support older people to walk more and to take action to improve their walking environment.
Since it started in October 2016, the project has delivered four Community Street Audits and a wide range of local walks, talks, stalls and activities, reaching over 440 older people and forging partnerships with 20 other local organisations.