Update on Alcoa Fitness Trail

Express and Echo

Thursday 29 January 2015

Community News | St Thomas

A recently announced in the Echo, Exeter City Council was awarded funding of some £46,000 by the Alcoa Foundation, who own Howmet, to install a fitness trail in the city.

Cowick Barton playing fields were chosen to benefit, with the support of local councillor Rob Hannaford, after consultation with the city council’s portfolio holder for environment and leisure, Cllr Keith Owen.

This was done after a mapping exercise of facilities, and an assessment that indicated it as a suitable site , due to pockets of socio-economic deprivation levels in the vicinity, and the scope to have a direct influence on the fitness of the very large numbers of school age children in the area.

The city council is now working with Active Devon and Alcoa to deliver this project over the next two years. Amongst the first things required is for the council to establish as far as practicable, reasons for people not achieving a healthy lifestyle, local issues and interests, contact with community groups and others, such as the local schools, who would become directly involved, as one of the criteria is involving young people in the design.

Cllr Hannaford said: “ I am really pleased that one of our local open spaces has been chosen for this exciting project. “To progress the project we will be utilising, through Active Devon, the services of Ms Laura Robinson, to continue and expand on the community liaison work she has undertaken in Wonford.

“I have received excellent reports from the local councillors in Wonford about Laura’s work in the community, so I am sure that she will be a real asset to the project.

“Over the next few weeks she will be gathering information from people in West Exe, so that we can set up the next phases of the project.

“I am sure that all this should excite some interest across the wider community, so please come forward with your input.”

Cllr Hannaford added: “ This is very much an information gathering exercise at present, we are in the don’t know phase, and it likely that the eventual design will no doubt bear little relation to the old style fitness trails that we had 20 years ago. “However we do want ideas and features that actually get people, especially children, involved, fit and active. That will be the legacy of the project.

“Once all the ideas and suggestions have come in and been analysed, I hope that we will have a public engagement event with residents, schools, local sports groups, and businesses, and set up a steering group to do the development work.”

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