I have recently joined the Portsmouth Council Healthy Walks programme and once a week, sometimes more often, I join a lively group for an hour or so wandering briskly around the city and its surroundings. Run by the Independent and Wellbeing Team at the City Council, led by an able lady known as Paula Day, These free, sociable, safe walks are individually led by trained volunteers. The walks themselves are suitable for all ages and abilities but tend to be mostly slightly older folks who regularly walk for exercise but see the group as friends and share many discussions whilst walking.
I joined as a complete beginner and without any of the medical conditions that bring some folks to start the programme, but was astounded to find how welcoming the group was and amazed that not only was I clearly remembered three weeks later, but more so, people were obviously delighted to see me again.
The scheme is accredited by Walking for Health and the Ramblers and is supported by McMillan Cancer Support.The leaflet illustrated can be obtained from: Portsmouth Healthy Walks and further information is available by phoning 023 9284 1762. Similar Walking for Health schemes run all over the country and further information on these scheme can be obtained from: www.walkingforhealth.org.uk