From little acorns grow ....

A resume of when Walk Well with Tone started.

It was in 2003 that Tone asked Joy Boaden to become a Volunteer Walk Leader through what was then the "Walking the Way to Health" initiative and to put together a programme of short walks aimed at people who were not very active.

In Autumn 2005, a programme of just 12 walks over 6 weeks was introduced which attracted an average of 10 people per walk.

After a break over the winter, the programme started again in March 2006, and over the course of the year, 3 programmes of 8 weeks were provided. As more people started walking, more Volunteer leaders were recruited and more walks were found. By December 2006, there was enough to run a programme twice a week for 13 weeks, and this is now repeated each season throughout the year.

So "Walk Well in Taunton" as it was then known, had arrived.

In 2007, the number of people taking part shot up - by the end of the autumn 2007, each walk was seeing an average of 35 people. So did the number of people coming forward to volunteer.

The walkers became much fitter, the pace increased, it was decided to introduce longer walks once a month to stretch those who were always at the front and wanting to do more!

Where did all this leave the "not so fit" walkers? Those that were referred by their GP, or those that just wanted to walk a little slower? Shorter walks that lasted 30 minutes at a slower pace were introduced and they are now an integrated part of our Taunton programme.

The numbers were growing steadily year on year - by autumn 2010, an average of 43 people were taking part per walk and by the autumn 2011, it had crept up to an average of 50 per walk. Thank goodness there were still people coming forward, offering to volunteer and join the team of leaders!

In July 2011, walks were set up in Wellington and volunteers came forward to train as leaders and take the programme forward.

Also in July, Tone was chosen by NHS Somerset as the preferred bidder to support and co-ordinate Walking for Health in Mendip and this contract has been extended until March 2013.

The need for weekend walks in Taunton was realised, for people who wanted to join but weren't able to make the weekday walks, and volunteers came forward to help start Sunday morning walks in Taunton.

Tone’s Walking for Health schemes have been recognised as one of the best schemes in the region - it can only get better.

So "from little acorns grow" .... we have a decent size "oak tree" and still growing.

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