The Active Ageing project in Rochdale has successfully brought people together in becoming active and socially engaged thanks to funding from Sport England and GreaterSport.
The story so far
In summer 2018, Link4Life delivered 13 weekly nature walks for Over 50’s at Hollingworth Lake Country Park through the Active Ageing/Fit4Life project.
The walks were split into three types to cater for all; mindfulness, easy and moderate. 65 people have been engaged in social and physical activity, most of whoms have either been sedentary or only exercising 1-2 times per week.
Each walk has two walk leaders at each to ensure people are engaged in conversation and looked after. The ‘Walk and Talk’ aspect has been an excellent tool enabling new friendships to be made. Two new participants who had never met were talking for the whole walk and even walked home together.
Refreshments are provided after the walks which offer further opportunity for social interaction. One lady used to be quite withdrawn but has really come out of her shell. During this time, another lady enquired about volunteering and soon, the others wanted to volunteer and have done so together. Some participants have even gone for lunch together so it has been a full day out for them.
Local champions have taken part in walks, creating a ‘chain of exercise’; where one active lady brought her inactive friend, who then brought her inactive husband, who then brought his inactive friend.
The walks are focused on people with caring responsibilities and it has really helped them to take their mind off things, relax and de-stress.
In November 2018, at a celebration event for the Rochdale-based Activ8teMe programme, a number of walking group members attended in their newly formed friendship groups.
On lady has even joined a gym over the Winter months!
The walks have been very well received with positive feedback as people are impressed with the scenic, unknown walks on their doorstep.
The walks have been such a success both physically, mentally and socially for people. They’re continuing on a monthly basis over the Winter period and hope to continue them more regularly from the Spring onwards.
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