Cumbria Crack

Walking For Health Scheme needs new Walk Leaders

[A]ctive Cumbria, part of Cumbria County Council is seeking new volunteer Walk Leaders to widen the roll out of the ‘Walking for Health’ scheme to communities across Cumbria.

This week (1st – 7th June) is Volunteers Week, Active Cumbria wish to use this opportunity to not only recruit new volunteers, but to celebrate and highlight volunteers in the sport and physical activity sector recognising that without them, most activity simply wouldn’t happen.

Bruce Lawson, Senior Manager at Active Cumbria said: “As part of our focus on tackling inactivity, we are extending the Walking for Health programme across the county. This programme like many others relies on volunteers. Volunteers are vital to helping people access sport and physical activity. Hundreds of people across Cumbria provide time, effort and skills to help others and they deserve to feel encouraged and valued. As a volunteer walk leader, you will help people in your community to get active and healthy, providing vital support that they otherwise might not get.”

In Cumbria, almost 100,000 adults aged 16+ are deemed inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. This figure changes dramatically in some districts such as Copeland, where 27.4% of the population are inactive and Barrow where 28% of the population are inactive. This means that they are at risk of developing serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Nationally, walking is the most popular activity and is a great way to turn the tide on inactivity making it a near perfect activity for those looking to become more active.

Walking makes people happy, gets them out and about and helps people stay healthy. The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough physical activity and research from Sport England found that four out of 10 (40%) adults in England walk less than ten minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace. Yet just a brisk 10 minute walk every day can make a real difference to your health.

Walking for Health is England’s largest network of free group health walk schemes, run by the Ramblers and supported through funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Macmillan. The programme exists already in a number of areas including Carlisle, Grange, Cartmel and Cockermouth, these groups are thriving with up to 60 participants on a walk. Active Cumbria are now seeking to roll the programme out further and need walk leaders from all walks of life.

During a walk, walk leaders are at the front, middle or back of a group – making sure everyone is safe and happy. They plan routes, support walkers and act as ambassadors for walking – showing people that walking really can make a big difference to their lives.

Who can be a walk leader?

All you need is a passion for walking, to be a ‘people’ person i.e. good communication skills, friendly and welcoming and keen to lead and support others to discover the wonders of walking.

No previous experience is needed as full training and ongoing support will be provided. So whether you’re an existing volunteer looking to develop new skills, work with a community group or organisation or simply love walking, Active Cumbria want to hear from you!

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