A new community project to encourage healthy lifestyles in Burnham-On-Sea has been given a funding boost this week.

A series of free weekly community running events at Apex Park are being introduced as part of a nationwide initiative to promote health.

Burnham Harriers running club has secured £3,700 of council funding towards the project, which will see 5km runs held every Saturday morning from early in the new year.

The Town Council has earmarked £2,000 to the project, Sedgemoor District Council has given £1,200 and Somerset County Council has this week handed over £500.

Reg Huxtable from Burnham Harriers Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The runs are being launched as part of the nationwide ‘Parkrun’ initiative. All runners will need to register to get a free unique barcode via a national website, then they’ll be able to record their times after each run and continuously improve their fitness and health.”

“The runs will be free and are not competitive – they will be held to help people improve their health and fitness. They will be open to everyone, including those who wouldn’t usually get involved in sport.”

He added: “We are very grateful to the local councils for their funding, which is needed to properly organise the runs in the nationwide scheme. We will be buying timers, laptop scanners and other equipment to ensure the runs are properly held.”

The organisation Parkrun oversees many weekly, 5km timed runs across the UK. “These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and we encourage people of every ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running, to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; we welcome you all,” said a spokesman.

Burnham County Councillor Peter Burridge-Clayton, who presented £500 to the project this week from the council’s health and wellbeing fund, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I’m happy to be supporting this project, which will promote fun and health in Burnham and Highbridge and hope that it is well supported.”

Burnham-On-Sea.com will have further details about the date and time of the runs when announced.