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Walking for Wellbeing Whitstable

It seems every issue of your CommunityAd magazine we dedicate column inches to sing the praises of the Revival Café, and rightly so as it’s an asset the town simply wouldn’t be the same without.

 

In this issue CommunityAd had the pleasure of speaking to Tara who has worked for the community asset “nearly 4 years and during that time I have retrained and now also work part-time as East Kent Mind’s Breathing Space Community Engagement Facilitator”, and Amber who has worked for Revival for “just over 3 years as a senior Kitchen Assistant and deputy chef, as well as training with East Kent Mind as a Mentor so that I can be part of the peer mentoring programme”. The pair note that “one of the great things about working at Revival is there is always loads of opportunities for professional development”. As well as getting their careers up and going Amber and Tara have also been getting locals up and moving, with their walking groups, Walk for Wellbeing.

 

If you’re going to have a stroll anywhere Whitstable is a mighty fine choice, isn’t it?

Whitstable has a wealth of natural beauty spots and is surrounded by a wonderful diverse environment. You are never stuck for somewhere to walk locally or are just a short drive away from outstanding woodland or places of historical interest. The seascape provides a different view week on week and the gentle ripple of the waves is one of the most relaxing sounds on earth. We are lucky enough to have both the sea and the woods on our doorstep and we have enjoyed researching and experiencing different parts that many of our walkers have discovered for the first time.

 

What is it about walking and talking that is so beneficial to one’s well-being? It sounds so simple but it is massively effective, isn’t it?

The benefits are enormous, so much research has been carried out that demonstrates the link with physical activity and mental wellbeing. Walking improves mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover. It is not just about physical activity though, walking and talking come very naturally together and walking in a group can make us feel more connected to each other, reducing loneliness and isolation and help us feel part of the community.

By listening and empathising with others our ‘peer support’ participants experience the mutually benefits of this approach. Peer support brings people with shared experiences together, providing a respectful space where they feel accepted and understood and where everyone is treated equally and there is no judgement. This form of support also improves confidence and self-esteem and positive feelings about doing something worthwhile.

There are of course also the additional benefits of being in the natural environment, being in nature or in green spaces is shown to have a positive impact on mental health, which is why we are also really excited by the possibility of working with the wonderful folks at the Whitstable Stream Walk Community Garden to facilitate our Men’s and Women’s peer support groups.

 

Why and when should readers consider joining a Walking for Wellbeing session?

We always welcome new members, we are free, informal and very welcoming, we also encourage members to lead walks if they would like, if they have local or nature knowledge they would like to share, or you can just come along and walk and talk or simply walk by yourself knowing that you are not alone. We walk every Sunday at 10am (rain or shine) and you can find details on our Facebook page: Walking for Wellbeing Revival East Kent Mind.

 

Don’t just take Tara and Amber’s word for it hear what some of the walking community had to say;

Pat: “A lovely walk, it was so lovely to get out and meet new people and discover new places to walk.”

Sarah: “I really enjoy the wellbeing walks.  It has been a chance to meet people (new and old) and I have been to lots of different places.  I love discovering new walks and new things, whether its sculptures hidden in the woods or a rare orchid or listing to the birdsong. There is the opportunity to talk and walk or just enjoy the scenery. I’ve also enjoyed meeting all the dogs that come along too with all their different personalities. We’ve had all the weathers from rain and glorious sunshine but Tara is always welcoming.  If you are free on a Sunday morning, I would definitely recommend it.”

Anonymous: “The wellbeing walks have been a lifeline for so many during lockdown, I know they have made a huge difference to me.”

One lady who is going through chemotherapy: “The Wellbeing walks have been a life saver for me through very challenging times, giving me something to look forward to each week, its a wonderful way to enjoy nature and being outside whilst connecting with friends and new people, every week it lifts my heart and raises my spirits and gives my energy and wellbeing a huge boost. It’s allowed me to air and dissolve my stresses through walking and rediscovering a deeper connection with nature and friends, highly recommended.”

Rachel: “I think for me it’s the company and inclusion with no judgement and the fact that its relaxed and there is no pressure on anyone.”

 

You heard it here first folks! Check out the Walking for Wellbeing group on their Facebook page and head into the great local outdoors for some mood-boosting, health-improving walks!

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