Walsall Walk On

walk on logo2

Walsall residents who are battling cancer or are in remission are being offered the chance to go on free health walks that will improve their mood and reduce their stress thanks to a partnership between the local council, NHS and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Walsall Walk On is a weekly programme of free health walks held in parks and countryside spaces across the borough. Each of the health walks is led by a nationally qualified Walk Leader assisted by a qualified Back Marker to ensure the walks are tailored to suit everyone’s speed and ability.

Community activity co-ordinator Stuart Terry said: “Working alongside Macmillan Cancer Support has shown that being active is safe and has lots of benefits to help manage some of the side effects of cancer treatment. As well as meeting people in similar circumstances it also reduces cancer related fatigue, stress and anxiety and improves low mood or depression. For some cancer types physical activity can also lower your risk of the cancer coming back.”

The first walks will take place on Tuesday mornings, in Walsall Arboretum, meeting at the visitors centre at 9:45am for a 10am start.

For more infomation visit the Walking for Health website here

And the winner is…

The County-wide sports awards is a resounding success as Get Berkshire Active honour the county’s sporting heroes

Inspiration & Participation Awards honour Berkshire Sporting heroes

Inspiration & Participation Awards honour Berkshire Sporting heroes

Berkshire’s sporting heroes were honoured at Get Berkshire Active’s annual Inspiration & Participation Awards ceremony held on Friday 6th February at the Blue Mountain Golf & Conference Centre, Binfield. The awards ceremony, which was hosted by BBC Radio Berkshire’s Tim Dellor, recognised the contribution local people have made to inspiring others to take up physical activity, as well as individual and team excellence in sport.

Over 250 people including 30 nominees and winners were joined by a host of Special Guests, including Katherine Copeland GB Olympic Gold Medallist (rowing), Sophie Christiansen GB Paralympic Gold Medallist (equestrian), Jack Rutter Captain of England’s Cerebral Palsy Football Team and Lesley Owusu former GB 200m/400m runner. The Mayors of Bracknell Forest, RBWM, Slough and Wokingham were also on hand to present the awards to the winners.

Speaking at the awards, Olympic Gold medallist Katherine Copeland said:

“I am honoured to be at the Berkshire Inspiration & Participation Awards. It’s a real privilege to be part of something that rewards those who dedicate their time to getting others active. It was also a pleasure sharing my own sporting story with all the guests and nominees.”

We would like to congratulate Sandhurst Health Walks whos aim to help people improve their fitness has won them the health project of the year category at the Get Berkshire Active Awards. They have only been going for a year, but now have more than 100 registered walkers, with a core of around 40 striding out every week. The walks are led and organised by a group of dedicated volunteers.

The morning weekday walks, ‘Take it to the Bridge’, start at 09:30 at Sandhurst Community Centre and a shorter walk called ‘Steps to Fitness’ is suitable for those who haven’t partaken in exercise for a long while, have a long-standing health condition, or recovering from treatment. After the walk the group head to Pistachios in the Park for a coffee/tea and a chat.

Co-ordinator Kat Bradshaw says the benefits are enormous with walkers noticing that they feel better; less depressed and have lost weight, while it is also a great way to make new friends.

For further info on the walks please click on the following link http://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/south-east/sandhurst-health-walks

Guest piece: Ian’s story

IanRigbyHomeI was diagnosed with a rectal cancer in 2003 when I was 52 years old, unfortunately the cancer was well advanced and had spread to other parts of my body including the liver. After over a year of treatment including operations, chemo and radiotherapy I returned to my job as a Head teacher. The treatment left me with a colostomy and in a poor physical condition.Before the illness I was very fit, my main teaching subjects were P.E. and science, I ran and played volleyball regularly.Whilst recovering I joined a walking group called “Action for Life” located in the Tandridge area of Surrey. At first I could barely walk a few hundred metres but the leaders were helpful and encouraging and I slowly improved. When I retired from teaching in 2006  I trained as a leader and the group became “Walking for Health”, all the leaders are trained and have first aid knowledge,we are now linked to the Ramblers, YMCA and Macmillan. I lead two walks a week although the programme we offer has a walk nearly every day. All the walks are carefully planned and risk assessed and can be up to 3 miles in length. Walking on a regular basis both prevents and aids recovery from illness but one of the greatest benefits is the social side; several walkers with mental health issues often comment on how it has helped them.We regularly have between twenty and thirty walkers and they all agree it has helped them health wise, socially and in reducing stress. I have always felt that if you think you can do something you probably can! By the way I am back playing volleyball.

Ian Rigby

Worlds BIGGEST coffee morning

Coffee morning may be over for another year but we wanted to share with you some of the exciting ways Macmillan’s physical activity team joined in with the fun…
This year the physical activity team was out in force attending coffee mornings. Rhian, Jenna and Risqat travelled to Maidenhead to take part in a physical activity themed coffee morning hosted by the Sport England and Macmillan funded Berkshire Well-Being Programme.
Fuelled by cake, the Walking for Health group launched the event with a led walk around the town centre followed by Walking Football tasters on the pitch. Other activities on offer throughout the day included a Boot camp and a Nordic Walking taster!
The Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Councillor James Evans, was among the special guests who took part alongside people of all ages and activity levels. After (and before!) working up an appetite, members of the public were invited to buy hot drinks and cake within the club lounge. The day was a fantastic example of bringing people together to enjoy physical activity.
Although this year’s official date was the 26th September, you can host a coffee morning, afternoon or tea all year round and raise money for a worthy cause whilst having fun visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffeemorning to find out more.

Walking for Health


Enjoying a scenic walk

Enjoying a scenic walk

Walking for Health

Together the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support run Walking for Health, helping people get and stay active. By sharing our walking and health expertise, we support 600 local schemes across England to offer short, free walks. Our aim is to help more people – including those affected by cancer – to discover the joys and health benefits of walking.

The walks are easily accessible, low impact, easy, of short duration and free and you can be confident when recommending your service users to our walks as they are all led by trained volunteers and risk assessed to ensure safety.

Sarah regularly walks with Walking for Health and had this to say, “It has been one of the best things I have ever done, I feel like I have found the real me again. I am healthier, fitter, happier and more confident.”

Many of the physical activity projects we support have already linked in with their local Walking for Health scheme to offer walks as part of your programme.  If you are yet to link up with your local scheme, simply visit walkingforhealth.org.uk and use the postcode finder at the top for details of your local walks and their coordinators. Individuals can turn up to their local walk, or you could discuss the possibility of developing new walks from your project sites with the coordinators.

Outside of England there are similar health walk programmes across the UK: Paths for All in Scotland, Walking for Health in Northern Ireland and Let’s Walk Cymru in Wales. You can find out more by visiting macmillan.org.uk/walkingforhealth.

Remember we’re here to help, so please feel free to contact us on physicalactivity@macmillan.org.uk for more information.

Stepping out against cancer

I love my pedometer. At bedtime, it tells me if I’ve had a good day. So my morning always starts by clipping on my trusty little step counter as I strike out to Macmillan’s UK office in Vauxhall.

I’m lucky. My commute involves a walk, brisk of course, by the majestic River Thames. Lambeth Council has ensured there’s a traffic-free path beside the river. No roaring traffic and fumes for me – just seagulls diving and squawking. It makes my commute to work something to look forward to.

I’m passionate about walking. It is free, you can do it anywhere, you don’t need any special equipment, and the evidence is unequivocal: walking saves lives. That’s why Macmillan works with all the health walk programmes in the UK, and we run Walking for Health in England with our partners the Ramblers.

The first meeting of the day is up the stairs to the 12th floor with my colleague Rhian, who supports Macmillan’s physical activity projects around the country. They are doing fantastic work to help people living with and beyond cancer to overcome the challenges they face getting active. Walking plays a big part in that because it’s popular with so many people.

Next, it’s up to the 14th floor to see Elinor in the marketing department. Elinor has come up with the idea of writing to people with cancer to tell them about their local health walks. Thanks to Macmillan’s wonderful nurses and the respect they inspire, people listen to Macmillan’s advice. So it’s no surprise that the focus groups Elinor has organized with Make Sport Fun tell us a letter from Macmillan about walking will have an impact. Today, we’re working on the guidance leaflet for the pack, incorporating the words and images our groups told us would build their confidence and motivation.

Then we’re off to the Houses of Parliament. It’s only a 15 minute walk. Macmillan is part of the Richmond Group of health charities and together we have launched a new report. The rise in potentially preventable conditions is costing the NHS around £5 billion every year in treatment and management. Wouldn’t it be better to prevent them in the first place by getting the nation active and eating more healthily? Of course! We spoke to MPs, and Dr Lou Atkins outlined the fascinating science of behaviour change. Best of all was the health walk at the end. As we explored the streets and parks around parliament, Macmillan volunteer, Ian Rigby told us his inspiring story. Walking for Health had thrown him a lifeline after his cancer diagnosis. Walkers from Lewisham Health Walks enthusiastically agreed and told us one story after another of how walking had got them back on their feet, out and about, and having a laugh.

Another brilliant day working for Macmillan. And as it clicks over 16,000 steps, the pedometer agrees.

For more info on health walks visit www.macmillan.org.uk/walkingforhealth