More than 250 people have taken advantage of a free scheme to boost their health and fitness over the past 12 months.

Activate East Dorset was launched in January 2014 by NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership.

The initiative allows people who are registered with a local GP to take part in a range of activities with support from Green Exercise Referral Instructors.

Jackie O’Connor, of the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership, said: “Fresh air, green space and a chance to chat is a perfect environment to encourage local people to get active within our beautiful countryside and this free scheme is a great incentive.”

Local GP and chair of the East Dorset Locality of Dorset CCG Dr Colin Davidson says that getting more active is one of the best things a person can do to improve their health.

“We are delighted that this scheme is there to help people who may otherwise lead a sedentary lifestyle.

“Along with well-documented benefits to a person’s physical wellbeing, regular physical activity can also have a real positive impact on mental health.

“Getting active doesn’t mean you have to join the gym or get training for running a marathon; find activities you enjoy and try and fit more time in your daily life to enjoy them”.

The Active 4 Health Green Exercise Referral Scheme is a 12-week programme involving four one-to-one consultations with an adviser who designs a personal exercise plan involving a variety of activities/groups to suit an individual’s needs and interests.

If people are a little unsure before making the first step they can phone the ‘Active 4 Health’ Lifestyle Coordinator, who will chat through all the options. Community Wellness Walks based in Wimborne, West Moors, Ferndown and Verwood, with an instructor are a good place to start, before moving on to other free Health Walks across the area.

For more details, contact the Active 4 Health Lifestyle Co-ordinator on 01202 795141 or email active4health@

  • A range of free walks, led by trained volunteer health walk leaders, run every week across East Dorset (except for Bank Holidays and Christmas). There are walks from Moors Valley, Verwood, Wimborne, West Moors, Ferndown and West Parley. Visit or contact the Health & Activity Team on 01425 470721 or visit website