Celebration event to champion volunteers who are leading the way

A network of walkers who guide and inspire communities on the path to greater wellbeing have been celebrating their achievements.

There are more than 50 volunteer walk leaders who run Wellbeing Walks across Cheshire West and Chester every week, helping people to get together and improve their physical health and mental wellbeing.

Volunteers from the group came together for a day of networking, learning and celebration, held at Chester Zoo.

Will Heckford, from Ramblers Wellbeing Walks, said, “It’s fantastic to have been a part of this event and to see Cheshire West and Chester Council celebrating the time, effort, and dedication of volunteer walk leaders.

“Hearing the stories of how volunteers in Cheshire West and Chester have encouraged the community to take part in the walks and to keep coming back every week is inspiring. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

During the celebration event, volunteers from Cheshire West and Chester Wellbeing Walks learned about animal identification, mini nature meditations and sensory activities in a session at the zoo’s nature reserve.

They then enjoyed a ceremony at the zoo’s new event space, The Square, where awards were given out by Cllr Lisa Denson, the Council’s Cabinet Member for A Fairer Future (Poverty, Public Health and Mental Health), Will Heckford, from Ramblers Wellbeing Walks, Alex Holt, Public Health Programme Lead and the Health Ranger team from the Council.

Awards included ‘Inspiring Walk Leader’, ‘Dedicated Walk Leader’, ‘Unsung Walk Leader’, ‘Best Themed Walk’, ‘Most Memorable Moment on a Walk’ and ‘Making a difference to individuals’. The day also saw walk leaders exchanging ideas and learning from each other’s experiences.

Cllr Denson said, “It was great to hear what a difference Wellbeing Walks make to people’s lives. It’s something so simple but really improves people’s wellbeing.

“The volunteers who run these walks every week really deserve this celebration and I want to say a big thank you to them for everything that they do.”

The award individual and group winners were:

  • Malcolm Craig, Grosvenor Park Strollers – Inspiring Walk Leader
  • Pauline Price, Lache Wellbeing Walk – Inspiring Walk Leader
  • Lesley Mitchell, Frodsham Walking for Health group – Dedicated Walk Leader
  • Malpas Walking for Health group – Dedicated Walk Leader(S)
  • Dave Yarnton, Grosvenor Park Strollers – Unsung Walk Leader
  • John Dearden, Helsby Wellbeing Walk – Best Themed Walk
  • Sandra Tipton, Countess of Chester Country Park walk – Most Memorable Moment
  • Sue Norwood, Malpas Walking for Health group – Making a Difference to Individuals
  • Countess of Chester Country Park walking group – Making a Difference to Individuals

Cheshire West and Chester Wellbeing Walks is part of a wider network of Wellbeing Walks in the borough supported by partner organisations, forming the Cheshire West Wellbeing Walks Network. Coordinated by the Health Ranger team in Total Environment at Cheshire West and Chester Council and linking in with Ramblers Wellbeing Walks the networks enable volunteers to be supported with training, resources, systems and insurance.

There are more than 26 Wellbeing Walks taking place every week in the borough which are free and open to anyone wanting to join them.

To find a nearby walk or volunteer as a walk leader visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/walks  or contact the Health Ranger team by emailing: healthranger@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Image: The group at the Wellbeing Walks celebration event

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