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Leaders of the pack! Medical centre becomes first ‘parkrun practice’

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SPA Medical Centre has become the first GP practice in Wiltshire to become a ‘parkrun practice’ – a new initiative to help promote the health and wellbeing of patients, supporting them to become more active and involved in the community.

Through the initiative, organised by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Spa Medical Centre will develop close links with Melksham’s parkrun – the organised, free weekly 5k run held every Saturday at 9am in King George V playing field.

GPs at the medical centre will refer and support patients to become involved in parkrun.

“We’re thrilled to hear we’re the first practice in Wiltshire to become parkrun-affiliated,” said patient services manager, Cheryl Attrill. “Several members of the practice team enjoy parkrun so when we heard about the RCGP initiative, there was immediate enthusiasm to get this up and running.

“Our GPs already signpost patients to activities, including parkrun, which may benefit their physical and mental health. However we want to do more than just signpost, and will be working closely with Melksham parkrun to create a supportive experience for patients who may be new to parkrun.

“We hope that by volunteering, walking or running at Melksham parkrun, our patients can enjoy the positive impact parkrun can have on their health and wellbeing.

“Dr Liz Williamson attended Melksham parkrun on Saturday 30th June to meet some of the team and learn more about our local event. We want to provide a practice presence at Melksham parkrun, so anyone who is fearful of attending feels encouraged. This could be through working alongside patient volunteers, leading a walking or running group or by putting patients in touch with run buddies at their local parkrun.”

Colin Goodhind, organiser of Melksham parkrun said, “We’ve known how beneficial people find parkrun, so it’s great to see a GP practice officially recognising the benefits and referring people to us.

“We’ve seen first-hand how much people get out of participating in parkrun, so this is almost like official recognition that parkrun is good for people – it’s an endorsement.

“It’s great to have the medical practice on board and we are excited to work with them. We are always looking to link up with other initiatives that help lead people to parkrun – anything that does so is fantastic!”

Spa Medical Centre patients who would like to find out more, can contact Cheryl Attrill, patient services manager on 703236.

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