Our Volunteer Leaders ....



Joy
In 2003 I completed a sessions on the GP Referral scheme, after which I was asked if I would like to train as a volunteer walk leader and put together a few local walks aimed at people who were not very active.
I said yes because I felt it would be one way of saying thank you for all the help I had received. I attend most of the walks; I take names for the register and collect forms completed by new walkers.

I keep Ali (at Tone) informed of any problems and I make sure there are enough walk leaders available for each walk. I inform various coffee venues in advance of us going there after a walk and I obtain permission for the use of private car parks.

Our health walks are beneficial to a host of people. For example those recovering from surgery, heart, replacement knees and hips, those with respiratory problems. Also to people who have recently been bereaved or those who are just lonely and want company.



I first got involved with the Walk Well scheme after a recommendation by a physiotherapist following a spell in the Cardiac Unit, Musgrove Park Hospital. I was discharged at the end of April 2011 and joined the scheme in June of the same year.

I completed the volunteer walk leader course and I act as an occasional leader on the ‘A’ routes and the longer ‘extended’ walks. I carry a First Aid Pack after recently doing the First Aid Course. I attempt to attend as many walks as circumstance will allow. I try to encourage and instil confidence in fellow walkers who have had similar experiences to my own. In co-operation with others, I organise, lead, plan and prove additional ‘Sunday’ walks.

Anybody would enjoy the health walks – all age groups, ethnic origins, gender or state of physical fitness. Some of the walks, but not all, are wheelchair or buggy-friendly.



Roger




Shirley
I first joined the scheme when I lived in Harpenden. I assisted our leader on my first walk as his assistant had not turned up. Afterwards I was invited to become a walk leader and eventually did the training.

When we came to Taunton it was one of the first things I did and it helped me to get to know people in the area. I also learnt some of the alleys and pleasant green places around the town. It has been an enjoyable way of finding my way around.

Well Walks are good for all sorts of people. It’s a way of getting to know people, taking exercise in company, recovering after illness or operations and having fun.

Leading can help to build people’s self-confidence.



I started walking in 2007 after retirement, operation and bereavement. The aim was to get more active and mix with other people, after working alone in an office, and living alone in the country.

As a volunteer leader, I have planned and checked new walks for suitability, as well as leading the walks and supporting others.

The walks are for those who are interested in getting more active and willing to mix with others, even if only for an hour.



Nova




Alan G
After we moved into Taunton, it was evident that I would not get the exercise which I got at our previous home where I had a large garden.

My sister is a walk leader in Broadway/ Horton and suggested I join my local group. I went along in September 2011, enjoyed the walk and company and was hooked.

Within a few weeks, I was asked if I was interested in becoming a Leader. Agreeing to do so, I attended the Leaders and First Aid courses. I now lead some of the walks and help with any others that I attend.

The walks are for anyone to join in simply to maintain a certain fitness but are especially of value to those persons who are recovering from illness, even major problems. These are walks for fitness, not races, and if people start with the shorter walks and later progress to the longer walks, it can boost self-confidence and stamina and give them a fitness they thought had been lost to them. The walks are for all to enjoy and benefit from.



I joined the Well Walk scheme having spotted a leaflet in the library shortly after retiring and, having determined to do no less exercise each week than I did when cycling to work, decided to give it a go. With a wide variety of walks each week and a choice of shorter or longer walks, it has proved a good way of keeping physical fitness ticking over without being too time consuming.

Well Walking has provided the opportunity to meet many new friends and relax together over a coffee as well as the chance to discover many parts of Taunton of which I was not previously aware. Of course the additional plus is that it is absolutely free and is something you can do as much of or as little of as you like.

As a leader I hope to help others appreciate the walks as much as I do by making sure nobody is worried about getting lost and by pointing out things of interest along the way.



Rosemary




Pat
Through my links with Tone Leisure I did the training early in 2008 and it inspired me to set up my own Village Health Walking Scheme in Ruishton, which began in May 2008.

I help with the training scheme locally and last year I helped to set up a twice weekly scheme in Wellington. In my village, I make sure the advertising of the walks is promoted. I walk each walk twice before the day to clear any undergrowth and nettles. I invite the walkers back to my garden at home for coffee after the walks.

New people to the village find it helps to make friends and get to know the area. People on their own like to join the walks to enjoy the company; it helps to increase their activity as some don't like walking on their own. These walks can be done at THEIR pace.



I first got involved in the Walk Well scheme after I retired in 2007. I was attending the Cardiac Gym at the local hospital; I was introduced to Walk Well by Sylv. I am now a Volunteer Walk Leader and help out when I can.

As a Volunteer Leader I lead some of the walks and help when needed to check out new walks. The group meets for coffee after the walks; this is a good opportunity to meet new friends.

The Walk Well Scheme will suit all sorts of people, those who wish to keep fit. People who are recovering from an illness and those who want to meet new friends.



Steve




Jenny
In May 2010 my husband had a triple bypass and was advised to walk for exercise. I was at Blackbrook gym when I saw the brochures for Walk Well in Taunton and we decided to go along and join the walks.

After training as a walk leader and helping with the B walks, Tone asked for volunteers to help start some health walks in Wellington and I thought

I could be of some help. I now walk twice a week with the Wellington group as they only have a few leaders as yet. We are trying to expand the programme and are trying out some new routes.

I think the walks are suitable for people with health problems that need gentle exercise, and also people on their own who benefit from the company, giving them the chance to make new friends. Also, people new to the area who not only meet other people but find out all about the town.



I first started walking several years ago shortly after the walk scheme started in Taunton. I had a heart operation and needed to do exercise after using the gym for a while.

I became a leader a couple of years ago. I’m not a fast walker so I am usually at the back.

The walks would suit most people who would like a bit of gentle exercise and the social introduction that goes with it. Most of the walkers tend to be older and so the two walks, the short and the longer one are very suitable.



Bev




Jen
About 3 years ago I got involved with the Walk Well scheme because my husband walked with the scheme and I needed some exercise following retirement from work. My first involvement was as a walker, but I became a volunteer leader after about a year.

Occasionally I lead a walk but lately I have been “tail-end Charlie”! 

I do make a special effort to be friendly and welcoming to new people and always emphasise to folks to walk at the speed they are comfortable with. I try to make sure all new folks know where we go for coffee and extend a welcome for them to join us.

The walks will be enjoyed by anyone who wants / needs to do some gentle walking; those who would like company and would enjoy coffee afterwards and those who have been poorly- there are short, gentle ½ hour walks and the volunteer leaders are understanding of people’s personal limitations.



I like walking and also enjoy encouraging others to take exercise, particularly with others, as it really adds to a person’s sense of wellbeing.

I was therefore pleased to undertake the leadership training in Wellington in Autumn 2011.

As a volunteer I attend weekly walks in Wellington and ensure that everyone feels part of the group and able to safely gain maximum benefit from the exercise. I have also devised new walks to add to the variety on offer.

Health walks are appropriate for all age groups and provide opportunities to take regular exercise and enjoy the company of other walkers. They are a stepping stone for many to move on more confidently into further physical activities.



Jackie




Tricia
I first got involved with health walks back in 2006, when I was made redundant from my job and was looking for voluntary work to get involved in. I have always loved walking, planning routes on the map, being out in the fresh air and enjoying nature. I thought the health walks were a brilliant idea, so I trained to be a walk leader. I have less spare time now than I used to, so probably don’t get as involved as others do, but I still lead walks and back-mark others’ walks, plan routes and get together with other walk leaders to plan the programme of walks in the Frome area.

The brilliant thing about walking is that it is the most natural form of exercise for human beings, most people can do it, it needs no special equipment, it costs nothing, and it is always good for you – physically and mentally. I would encourage anyone who might be feeling low for whatever reason, to make the effort to turn up for a walk (sometimes it does require a little effort) and you will be welcomed, encouraged and will undoubtedly feel better afterwards.



I first got involved in the Mendip Health Walks a year ago when I was approaching retirement. Having spent much of my working life in front of a computer I was keen to spend more of my retirement out of doors and being more physically active. My first walk was an evening walk when I was still working, and found the group so friendly that I had no worries about going along regularly as soon as I could.

I became a walk leader this year, because I had enjoyed the walks so much, and felt it would keep me even more active if I had to lead. I have led a couple of walks to date and am planning more for the next season. I enjoy the challenge of planning the walks and discovering more about my local area. Even though I have lived here for 30 years, I am still finding new paths and routes.

Anyone would enjoy the walks! The group is very friendly so it is easy to come along by yourself. We provide a variety of lengths of walk so everyone would be able to find something to suit them.



Sue





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