Walking Group Taking A Step In The Right Direction (06/07/22)
Volunteer Walk Leader Jeff Graham, on the right of the photo, with some members of our Community Walking Group
IT’S almost four months since we relaunched our Community Walking Group at Itter Park, Peterborough. We were literally stepping into a post-Covid world and not really knowing how it was going to turn out.
Our walks were initially launched back in the summer of 2021, with the help of funding from Living Sport, but a combination of the global pandemic and the weather getting cooler meant that things stalled after just a few weeks.
Thankfully, since March 15 when our volunteer walk leader Jeff Graham and I first stood outside The Kiosk, fingers crossed that someone would turn up, we have been blessed with many sunny days and people being more willing to leave their homes and meet up with others since restrictions have been lifted. We needn’t have worried as we were joined by eight beneficiaries and supporters on that first occasion.
As we enter our fifth month, we have a few walkers who come along every week and are still welcoming new people. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without Jeff, who has been giving up his time since the beginning of the project. We can’t thank him enough for his dedication.
We welcome people of all abilities on our walks. We have been joined by those with mobility problems and we’ve seen them gain confidence and improve. The walks really seem to benefit those who struggle with their mental health too. Natalie Johnson (38), joined the group at the end of March and has already felt the benefit. She does the short walk from her home in Fulbridge Road most weeks to join us.
“The Walking Group helps me to take a break from a difficult home situation and from being socially isolated,” Natalie said.
“This also helps my mental health by allowing me to spend time with people who are healthier for me, allowing me to feel included, and to enjoy conversation. It’s nice to be in green spaces and to see the squirrels.”
Members of our Community Walking Group near to The Kiosk in Itter Park. Natalie Johnson is second from the left.
One of the best things about our walks is that new friendships have been formed. It has been lovely to see people chatting away, sharing parts of their lives and their interests as they stroll around Itter Park. It’s a friendly group and new people are given a warm reception. Itter Park is a beautiful green space and walking around it gives you the feeling of being out in nature and of passing through the seasons. During our strolls around the park, we have experienced tree branches weighed down with blossoms and flowers in full bloom. A ginger tom has been seen lying in the sunshine having sneaked out from a nearby house.
Itter Park is a beautiful green space and walking around it gives you the feeling of being out in nature, watching the seasons change.
Itter Park was given a Green Flag award for 2021-22, has a sensory garden, wildlife ponds, a play area and a bowling green, not to mention The Kiosk in the centre, where we start our walks. When we arrive back there we usually chat some more and have a cuppa and, since the weather has started to get warmer, we often treat ourselves to ice cream.
If you fancy joining us, whatever your age or ability, we meet at The Kiosk at Itter Park every Tuesday at 11am. We also offer one-to-one walks, if people would rather not join a group. For more details, email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beneficiaries and supporters who joined us on our first Community Walking Group meeting in March.