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 The Fed in Prestwich, Bury. Here we look at what they did and how they got on.
What is The Fed?
The Fed is the leading social care charity for the Greater Manchester Jewish community, supporting one in eight Jewish homes across the city region. They offer a diverse range of life-enhancing – and often life-saving – services to thousands of people each year, such as residential care home facilities, community advice and support, and communal activities such as a mental health drop-in and a community café.
What was the project?
The Fed used its grant to set up a weekly Walk and Talk group in Heaton Park, Manchester. The aim of the group was to promote physical health and mental wellbeing for socially isolated, vulnerable adults.
Who took part?
All the people who attended the walking group were members of the Jewish community; the majority of which were attendees of the various mental health support groups run by The Fed. Most of the group were dealing with stressors such as unemployment, mental ill health other health related problems, or were carers for a family member. Going hand in hand with this, many group members also reported feelings of isolation and loneliness which they hoped to alleviate by taking part in the walks.
How did it go?
The walking group was a huge success and was consistently very well-attended, even during the cold, wet winter months!
Most walkers said the group has made a significant difference to their lives, and that they wouldn’t usually leave the house if it wasn’t for the group. They also said they wouldn’t feel confident or motivated to walk alone but being a member of the Walk and Talk group had provided motivation to get some exercise and chat to people, reducing feelings of isolation in the process.
Strong friendships between group members developed, with people connecting on the phone in between sessions to plan to meet up for coffee and a chat. These peer networks will be crucial in helping people maintain their mental health and resilience going forward.
Feedback from the group members was wonderful to hear, with all those who attended saying that the group offered much-needed company, friendship, and the chance to see new faces, particularly following the Covid pandemic restrictions:
“It gave me a purpose to get up and out back to the human race – thank you”
“Just seeing smiley faces helps me feel better”
“Lovely to get out and see people”
“Missed the Wednesday café during Covid so it’s lovely to get out and be with people again”
“Really appreciate you organising this”
“Looking forward to joining you again”
For more information
To find out more about The Fed, the activities on offer and how you can get involved, please see their website.