VOLUNTEERS are being sought to lead walking and running sessions on three new health routes being created in Bicester.
The first route, a new five-kilometre route for walkers, joggers and runners, was marked out in blue around Langford Village in May.
Work on two further five-kilometre routes in east Bicester, from Skimmingdish Lane to just south of the railway line, and another in west Bicester, to include Bure Park, is under way.
The routes have been marked out to give Bicester residents a new means of staying active and tackling obesity.
Figures from the Oxfordshire Sport & Physical Activity (OxSPA), the County Sport Partnership for Oxon, show 23 per cent of people are inactive and 38 per cent of people don’t get enough exercise.
The ‘health routes’, funded by NHS England, are part of the Bicester Healthy New Town Programme.
The programme is supported by Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Oxford Academic Health Science Network and A2 Dominion Housing Group.
The new routes should be complete by the end of the summer and trained leaders are needed to support and supervise users.
Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council said: “Volunteer leaders help people in their community to get active and healthy, providing vital support that they otherwise might not get.
“As well as ensuring walks and jogs are friendly, safe and well run, leaders will also be our healthy Bicester champions showing people that regular exercise really can make a big difference to their lives.
“What’s more, we all know that doing something for others helps people to feel more positive. Therefore, I would urge as many people as possible to apply to become walking or running leaders.”
No qualification or experience is needed as training will be provided, but volunteers will need to commit three hours a week.
Volunteers will also need to attend a one-day course with experts from the council and local sports clubs to learn how to prepare and lead a walking or jogging session, following the NHS ‘Couch to5K’ programme.
After completing the training and a progression card the leaders will get a walking/running for health leader qualification.
For more information email HealthyNewTown@Cherwell-DC.gov.uk