Purpose of the project

January- August 2023

The ‘Action Together: Walking for Families’ project was developed in 2022 to help improve people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. The aim of this project was to encourage exercise, keeping fit and positive mental health and wellbeing.

This project was organised by a team of ten and throughout the planning process – travel, fuel costs, parking areas and costs and meeting points were all considered. The walks were planned and arranged weekly every Sunday morning, different locations were chosen in an effort to keep the walks interesting and fun. Through a broadcast group on WhatsApp, participants were notified of the time and location of the walks and were able to send a response if they were intending to attend and participate. A meet up point was arranged so that volunteers were able to take the opportunity prior to the walk to take note of those attending in case there was an unfortunate event of someone becoming lost or injured. Through being proactive and gathering this information, volunteers could be assured that everything could be managed and resolved in the case of a lost or injured person. Prior to the walks beginning , people were also able to take the opportunity to group with friends or family who were also present, walks then commenced and were completed.

Families with children of all ages were warmly welcomed to the weekly walking as it provided many families with a rare opportunity of family bonding time, ensuring the walks were inclusive also consequently meant that any parents or guardians who were unable to arrange childcare were still able to attend the walks by bringing their children alongside them. Many asylum seekers were also part of the 27 participants, this was proven to be extremely beneficial to them as this represented a community they were welcomed into during a time when they may have felt alone and unsupported.

As the walks were quickly shown to be a success through participant feedback, we were able to continue planning them till date. A variety of places have been great locations for this project such as: Peel Tower, Entwhistle Reservoir, Green Booth Reservoir, Elton Reservoir, Heaton Park, Darwen Tower, Dove Stone and Bolton Abbey.

This project has been evidently successful in its aims to improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those participating, many have reported less physical joint and body pains and an improvement in their mental health alongside a reduction in experiencing anxiety, depression and stress. Furthermore, through these weekly walks, many individuals were able to form new friendships that they could also upkeep and socialise with outside of this project, this also meant that many were able to find easier modes of transportation as they were now able to carpool with their new acquaintances. Although funding has finished, through donations we aim to continue this project as community interest and involvement remains high and consequently we are provided with the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of many people.