A bike stunt show and a pedal-powered duck race were among the free activities on offer at the launch of a scheme to improve people’s health and wellbeing in the Somer Valley.

The Active Way is a three-year project to promote increased levels of physical activity by providing free activities for residents in the Midsomer Norton, Paulton, Peasedown St John, Radstock, Timsbury and Westfield area.

The community launch, which took place on Saturday, 14th October at Unit 14 in Midsomer Norton from 1pm to 4pm, featured live music, bike-powered bubbles, ‘pedal your own smoothie’ and a photography exhibition by Snap and Stroll. Bike safety checks were available for free, courtesy of Dr Bike. Cafe2U were also on site, equipped with suitably hot drinks as the weather started to turn.

Despite the unpredictable weather, many came down to attend the taster day. Frome Street Bandits provided the soundtrack, playing a plethora of instruments and enticing people to try out activities on offer.

As well as fun, interactive ways to get people moving, The Active Way also offered stalls and information with community support in mind.

As part of the community launch, The Active Way provided valuable information regarding grant funding they had to offer. Individuals and groups in the Somer Valley were able to bid for money to enable Active Travel, Sport, Creativity or Green initiatives in our communities. Leaflets were available on the day regarding the Willson Grant, which offered funding of up to £1000 for individuals or £7000 for groups. Applications were open for these grants up until 16th October.

As well as community funding, The Active Way also provided information about cycling with disabilities at the event. All Cycle Bath & West were on site, providing information about their inclusive cycling sessions and adapted bikes. On display and available for testing was the Fun2Go - a side-by-side tandem bike, equipt with a motor. Controlled by one person, this bicycle has been adapted so that those with mobility issues can enjoy nature and still get out and about on a cycle. The pedals can be worked by either one passenger or both.

Liz Matthews, operations manager at All Cycle Bath & West describes the charity as “Bath’s inclusive cycling organisation”. Liz is on hand to provide group rides for anyone wanting to get involved with inclusive cycling. Ride times are on Wednesdays and Fridays. Anyone wishing to join can do so by registering online, visit www.theactivewaybathnes.co.uk and choose ‘inclusive cycling’. For assistance with registering or further information, those interested can call Liz on 07762 985960.

Sustrans, the charity making it easier for everyone to walk, wheel and cycle, were also present on Saturday. As well as providing interactive cycling activities in the form of a duck race and smoothie making, Sustrans were also dishing out information on their Active Steps programme.

Active Steps is an initiative set out to improve health and wellbeing, build confidence and meet new people through walking and cycling. Through the ten week programme, attendees can increase their everyday physical activity through guided walks and led rides, all whilst exploring the local area.

Marjory Hatvany, Liveable Cities and Towns Officer for Sustrans West of England said, “We have been helping organise the launch of this community event with The Active Way, which is all about promoting more exercise and all the benefits that come with that.”

“We’re here to show people that walking and cycling is for them, it’s not necessarily a sporty activity reserved for the super-fit, lycra-clad individuals. Sustrans are here to support people to get out and about a bit more frequently.”

“We are best known as the custodians of the national cycle network, so we are trying to improve and look after infrastructure and promote more sustainable and active travel through our cycle paths as well”.

Active Steps is being offered through social prescribing via GPs in the area, but anyone who wants to get involved can also do so by self-referring. To join, visit theactivewayreferrals.riviam.io. Those wishing to find out more can call 07926 074181 or email [email protected]

More information about The Active Way, their partners, referral programmes and upcoming events can be found by visiting theactivewaybathnes.co.uk.

Watch the video to see more of what went on during the day, and to learn about the work of The Active Way and Sustrans.