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Sine Delahunt on setting up a Health Walk

Paths for All Development Officer Sine Delahunt tells us about her previous role setting up health walks, and how she and a colleague established a walk for themselves in their local community.

Published: 29/05/2023

A person is walking away towards some trees and bushes and is wearing a backpack and an orange walk leader armband

Supporting a health walk project and a team of volunteers had its challenges, but the majority of the time it was a joy with an enthusiastic, motivated, caring bunch of incredible people. I enjoyed discussing and debating suitable health routes, risk assessing, how to ensure walks were welcoming and, importantly, how to get the message into communities that we want everyone to join us.

With a colleague, we discussed finding time for our own mental health, ensuring we can be physically active and cope with conflicting pressures from family and work which can leave things unbalanced. My colleague bemoaned the fact she had attended walk leader training but had never found time to set up a health walk for herself and staff due to demands on diaries. I wouldn’t say it was a light bulb moment, but we did think we should start our own walk at a time to suit us.

We set up a walk within our local community and began advertising and promoting. Over time we have changed meeting points and coffee destinations with a bank of fantastic routes based on all of our knowledge of the area and have developed a firm group of walking buddies. My colleague moved on to a new life in France, but the enthusiasm to support the group ensured a walking member took part in Volunteer Walk Leader Training. 

Volunteering provided an opportunity to walk locally within a group, meet new people, connect with my community, enjoy lots of laughter and provide “me time.” Since joining Paths for All, the timings no longer suit, but I remain in contact with everyone. It’s been so enjoyable that I have recently started up a another new walk with a fellow volunteer.

It’s exciting researching new routes and waiting to see who will come and join our ‘Barrhead Banter’ and while it’s early days, I’m sure we will find a new group name soon!

Find out more about health walks and find your local group here