GM Walking has given grants to local voluntary and community groups with the aim of getting Greater Manchester walking. We offered the grants to support a huge range of activities that encourage people who are usually less active to start or to increase the amount they walk regularly.
One of the groups benefitting from this was Bolton Lads and Girls Club. Here we look at what they did and how they got on.
Who is Bolton Lads and Girls Club?
Bolton Lads and Girls Club (BLGC) is a dynamic youth charity that works hard to transform the lives and opportunities of children and young people in Bolton. Their aim is to empower young people and help them to enjoy happy and safe lives. They offer a range of fun and social activities, including sports, arts, multimedia, and social action. BLGC also has a Targeted Youth Service which provides critical support to vulnerable young people including care-experienced children, young carers, young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) and those experiencing mental health issues.
Who took part in the project?
The Let’s Walk project involved 20 children and young people aged 8-12 who are members of BLGC’s Junior Youth Club. However, many more were inspired to walk as a result of the wide variety of activities delivered as part of the project.
What did they aim to do?
To encourage the children to take ownership of the activities on offer, prior to the launch of the walking project, BLGC invited groups of children and young people to participate in a survey and focus group exercise. They were asked about how much walking they already did, what they liked and disliked about walking and what would encourage them to walk more. This work highlighted that most young people considered walking to be an appealing activity because “it’s free”, “it’s accessible” and “it can be used as a way into higher impact exercise like running”. Based on this, the group then came together to create some walking activities which everyone could take part in and enjoy.
How did it go?
BLGC was really pleased with how imaginative the members were by coming up with so many creative ideas for this project.
A selection of activities that worked particularly well include:
Having a Let’s Walk Discussion Hour to give members the chance to share their favourite local walks
Walking around the sports hall completing a target number of laps until they had collectively walked the length of Britain
Holding walking competitions
Holding workshops around healthy eating and walking as exercise
Compiling a book of Bolton walks to inspire others by showcasing the routes and providing pictures of the walks
Using creative art sessions to create a walking route map from the Club to their homes and turning it into an artwork.
Overall, following the pandemic which saw everyone spending a lot of time indoors, it has been really inspiring to see children and young people in Bolton getting back on their feet, getting creative, getting back outdoors and enjoying nature, inspiring others, and ultimately – walking!
The project took place just after the first national lockdown and a young person gave the following feedback about what walking meant to them during a time of great uncertainty:
“I don’t feel in the present with COVID but when I look into the sky, it takes you away from life”.
For more information
To find out more about Bolton Lads and Girls Club, the activities on offer and how you can get involved, please see their Facebook, Twitter or website.