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Ty Bro Dyfi

Y Plas,
Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8ER, UK.
phone: 01654 703965
e-mail: info@ecodyfi.org.uk

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Help conserve our environment and improve our quality of life

press release24/4/2006

Local health professionals and community groups are asking people in the Dyfi Valley about how they would like to use the local natural environment for fun and exercise.

They also want to know what would make this easier.

The area has been invited to put a proposal to the Big Lottery Fund, with the hope that the lottery will pay for a four-year programme of events and activities.

These might include treasure hunts on foot or bike, family orienteering, buggy walks, various activities in the woods and gardening. Some activities will be vigorous but others will be designed for people no longer used to exercise.

The programme is called Mentro Allan, or 'Venture Out'. It aims to increase activity levels by increasing the recreational use of the natural environment of Wales.

The Dyfi Valley has been chosen as one of the 15 areas because it is a very rural area where some people are disadvantaged, for example with few travel options.

The local partnership is led by community regeneration group ecodyfi and includes Community Action Machynlleth And District and Communities First.

Health Visitors, Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin, US Mach and Play Montgomeryshire are also involved, as are the National Public Health Service, Powys County Council and the Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations.

The Sports Council for Wales leads the national partnership that is supporting the development and Machynlleth & District Local Community Forum has been organising the meetings so far.

They are all convinced that doing things outdoors is a great way to improve our mental as well as physical health and that prevention of ill-health is far better (and more fun) than cure.

They point to the success of the Walkaround Bro Ddyfi initiative, that has brought people together for regular gentle walks and created friendships along the way.

Certain sections of the population face specific barriers to participation above and beyond those that are experienced by most people.

The Dyfi Valley partnership has decided to pay most attention to parents of young children, 11 - 18 year olds and people with mental health problems.

They are keen to point out, however, that most of us would benefit from more exercise and that everybody will be welcome at the activities.

The partners have written a simple questionnaire so that people can say what they would like. Copies are available from Machynlleth library, the Communities First office, Bro Ddyfi Leisure Centre and here [Word doc 40kB].

"We need to know what would make a difference to people", said Local Forum Chair Andy Rowland.

"What stops an individual getting out and about will vary from childcare to transport, but may also include questions of confidence and isolation. We need evidence of this now - so that we can design ways to overcome these barriers and get the money to carry them out."

Ideas and comments would be welcomed at any time, but will be especially helpful during the next two weeks. Copies of the questionnaire can also be requested on 01654 703965.

The partnership would also like to hear from anybody who would like to organize and lead suitable activities from Spring 2007.

Further information