Three Valleys Nordic Walking – Walking Back to Happiness

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The grant offered was to support transport and equipment costs for this group to visit 12 towns and villages and promote the benefits of Nordic walking groups, recruit new members and facilitate new group set ups ‘Walking Back to Happiness’.

“The aim was to promote a healthy and achievable programme of exercise for members of the community who for whatever reason felt lonely and perhaps socially excluded. The project also delivered companionship for these people as well as the well documented health benefits of Nordic Walking

Our oldest new member is 86 years old, lives alone, what a difference we have made to his life – we have 3 members in their eighties all living alone. It gives every member of the group a feeling of pride and satisfaction that we can offer so many positive effects to their emotional health as well as their physical well-being. We were unexpectedly asked to contribute to a cross party Parliamentary debate on Loneliness and we also contributed to a similar consultation organised by the Welsh Assembly Government. Some of our findings are contained in the report, findings which were based on the experiences of our project funded by Pen y Cymoedd.

The project was targeted at people who felt isolated, lonely, socially excluded due to loss of a partner, recovering from debilitating health conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s etc. We have members who joined our project after losing partners as recently as 6 weeks previous – one of our findings – people in this position do not want to walk with people they know or knew their partner! When they are walking with us, they forget their sorrow.

Perhaps in retrospect one aspect of the project that became apparent during the year was the need for ‘one-to-one’ assistance/ learning. Some people are reluctant to learn in a group for fear of embarrassment and at this stage we have quite a number who we should take out individually.

The activity would not have been possible without the assistance and support of Vattenfall, which enabled us to engage and assist vulnerable people within the communities targeted to enable their participation” – Frank Long Three Valleys Nordic Walking

I now look forward to my Friday walks with my new friends, it makes such a difference to my physical and emotional wellbeing as I live alone” – Ashley
How this project met the fund’s priorities:
Communities that are healthier and more active / Support community spirit / More outdoor living / Low level health and social issues can be dealt with locally – preventative support or rapid intervention contributing to resilient communities