New Green and Blue Health Routes in Jericho, Oxford

Monday, 16 April, 2018

In 2016, the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare secured funding from the Postcode Local Trust to create a Green and Blue Health Route in Jericho - an area of Oxford which includes a stretch of the Oxford Canal. The Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

Green Health Routes inspire and empower people to take control of their health by realising the joint benefits of walking, contact with nature and connection with their neighbourhood. Local people were involved in designing the project  through a consultation event at Jericho Street Fair in 2017, where around 100 people visited our stall to comment on the proposals. As a result, we devised three interlocking routes that link with at the Health Centre, enabling people to access the routes directly from their  consultations with their doctor. The resulting walks have been mapped and are available as a printed leaflet and downloadable map - please see below.

As well as the parks and green spaces publicly accessible within Jericho, the walks also include a stretch of the canal towpath, which delivers a fantastic alternative 'Blue Health Route' in the city, and many of the area's community centres and cafes also add a social element to the walks. CSH’s Project Coordinator has carried out organised walks with primary schoolchildren at two of the local schools to test-run the routes. These have been very well received and their feedback was really positive - when we asked what their favourite part of the walk was the overwhelming reply was, “All of it!”. Other highlights that they mentioned included, “The canal and the wind blowing ripples in the water,” and other children were happy to see trees, birds’ nests and, of course, the ducks!

Subsequently, we have distributed maps to the care homes, schools, GP surgeries and community centre so that hundreds of local people now have the opportunity to take part in the project on an ongoing basis. Future plans include carrying forward our coordination with the Patient Participation Group at the GP surgery who are keen to identify some of their patients as potential walk leaders, and liaising with the local Council to link these volunteers into their free training programme for walk leaders.

CSH would like to thank community members in Jericho for their enthusiasm and support, the Council for offering the opportunity of walk leader training to the volunteers and the Postcode Local Trust for funding this project. We are hoping to use this model to develop Green Health Routes in other parts of Oxford and wider. Please do get in touch with us if there are opportunities to work where you are: