A PIONEERING project by Oxfordshire Mind to help local people on a low income to lead healthier lifestyles has been given an £81,000 funding boost.

The three-year scheme, in partnership with the Oxford Mental Health Partnership, will focus on getting people with severe and enduring mental health conditions to take part in weekly walking groups, while also offering advice relating to mental wellbeing improvements.

The National Lottery funding was awarded to the scheme by Sport England which will focus on areas of deprivation in the county.

Sport England executive director, Mike Diaper, said: “Oxfordshire Mind has a strong track record of working with their local community and we’re very excited by how their project will make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“We know that people on a low income can face many practical and emotional challenges that make it difficult for them to be as active as they would like to be.

"So we’re working with community-focused organisations across the country to find ways to help people fit physical activity and sport into their lives in ways that work for them.

“The lessons we learn from this local project will really help to shape our work with similar groups across the country.”

Oxfordshire Mind is one of 34 projects to receive a share of more than £3.36 million in this latest round of Sport England funding specifically aimed at helping people on a low income get active.

Research shows that a third of people in lower paid and routine jobs, are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of exercise that gets them slightly out of breath each week. And inactivity in people in lower paid, routine jobs is twice that of people on a high income in senior and managerial roles.

The walks will leave from existing mental health settings and involve a minimum of 30 minutes active walking.