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Walking for Health Scheme

A Bridlington Informer News Item from Bridlington.net - Visit Bridlington Informer

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Would you like to improve your fitness, make new friends and learn new skills but are worried that your age or ability may be a barrier? Then the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Walking for Health Scheme may be the answer.

Over 500 people have benefitted from the scheme in the last 12 months, with 96 per cent of walkers reporting an improvement in their health.

That is according to the latest statistics from the council's Sport, Play & Arts Service who run the Walking for Health programme locally, in partnership with the countryside access team.

Now walkers are invited to become volunteer walk leaders by attending a training course at Cottingham Civic Hall, 10am-3.30pm on Tuesday 4 October.

The scheme is keen to attract volunteers to lead shorter 30 minute walks, which are particularly suited to older people, or to start up a new walk in their local area.

And with Older People's day approaching what better time to prove that age is no barrier to improving your fitness and learning new skills in a fun and friendly setting.

Councillor Richard Harrap, council portfolio holder for adult and carer services, said: "Walking is a fantastic way to get fit, meet new people and discover some of the fantastic natural landscapes that the area has to offer. "The popularity of the scheme to date just goes to show how much it can benefit those who want to improve their fitness or just get back on their feet after suffering from illness or injury."

The Walking for Health scheme is a series of free guided walks for all ages and abilities, aimed at anyone who has an interest in walking or wants to slowly introduce exercise into their daily routines as part of rehabilitation from illness, injury or to get fit.

The walks, which take place at various locations across the East Riding, are part of the National Walking for Health programme, which is governed by Macmillan Cancer Care and the Ramblers Association.

Over the past 12 months health walks have been provided by the team in 20 different areas across the east Riding, averaging 60 walks a month ranging from 30 minutes to two hours in duration.

One person who has really felt the benefits of the programme is Sylvia Walden, of Beverley who said joining Walking for Health, enjoying 30 and 45 minute walks from East Riding Leisure Beverley, has helped her stay socially connected after moving into the area from Essex 12 months ago.

Sylvia said: "I moved to Beverley not knowing anyone to say 'hi' to in the street but since joining the walking group I now bump into loads of people to say 'hi' to in the street."
"The walks available and the people who run them are fantastic," she added.

The volunteer walk leaders training course offers the chance to learn more about the national programme and develop the necessary skills and knowledge to become a walk leader.
Healthy Lifestyles development officer Laura Hutchinson added: "Our volunteers help others to discover walking and they are highly regarded by our walkers."As one of our volunteers, you can develop a range of new skills, discover how to be a great leader, or find out more about marketing and promotion. "What a great way to diversify your CV and give something back to your local community."

Older People's Day is a national campaign which takes place on 1 October with the aim of celebrating the achievements contributions that older people make to society and the economy, while tackling the negative attitudes which can be shown towards older people.

To find out more about the volunteer walk leaders course or Walking for Health contact Laura Hutchinson on 01482 392527 or email laura.hutchinson@eastriding.gov.uk

Photo caption: A group of walkers, including Sylvia Walden (9th from the left) who are part of the Walking for Health scheme.