How the Public Health budget for 2016/17 may affect walking clubs

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trekking 3 smallAlthough the chancellor has announced an extra £3.8billion for health services for 2016/17 it does come at a price for non-NHS ventures funded by The Department of Health as they see that budget cut by a whopping 25%. But what does that mean for us?

One group likely to be affected will be walking clubs and rambling clubs with the national ‘Walking for Health’ Scheme which funds a wide range of these clubs, likely to be completely pulled in some areas of the country.

This is a volunteer scheme funded by Public Health England and run by Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support to combat obesity and get more people active to reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. There are around 3,000 weekly walks led by over 10,000 volunteers all over England with anyone able to join and benefit.

Walking has been proved to be a great form of exercise with a lower aerobic strain than some other more intense sports meaning all ages and abilities can enjoy. It also has the added benefit of getting outside, meaning you can not only enjoy the views the beautiful English countryside has to offer but get some fresh air in your lungs also! Having changing scenery means you are distracted from the fact you are exercising as well as being a change from a monotonous gym routine.  Another great benefit of these schemes is the social side, it gets people out the house, not only to exercise but to make friends and get to know others. Often these clubs have other social events as a side line so this gives a fantastic opportunity to those who may not otherwise get out a lot a chance to socialise and enjoy themselves.

walking clubsHowever, due to these budget cuts local governments may stop funding such schemes and with over 400 health walking clubs schemes running throughout the country, this could be a huge blow. This is exactly what has happened in Norfolk, with the Great Yarmouth Scheme receiving notice that from April 2016 it will no longer receive local government funding. This means a lot of very upset walkers and ramblers.

Volunteers who run these schemes will naturally want to continue on but without that government funding it may be hard. However, with professional support and backing these could continue as community led ventures.

Here, at Protectivity Insurance, we are supporters of exercise for health and hope this scheme and ones like it are able to continue and keep benefiting the vast number of people that enjoy the scheme on a regular basis.

To find out more about walking clubs insurance and to get a quote visit: