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The Next Steps...

Published on 23 May 2024 03:52 PM

In the final week of National Walking Month and with National Volunteering week, beginning next week, we hear from Bob and Lucy Lloyd who volunteer with Worcestershire Health Walks and run two walks a week in Worcester.

“We have always enjoyed walking having both grown up in the countryside.  

When we retired in 2016 we were keen to find things to occupy our time and looked at various options, one of which was volunteering.  

Initially we helped out at a retirement home for over 55s and joined the Worcestershire Walking for Health group from The Commandery.  

Later we saw there was a Worcestershire Health Walks group running from The Hive in Worcester City, so decided to join that group.  

We enjoyed our weekly walks and soon made new friends.  The walk was led by one person and as the group numbers increased, she asked if we would like to help out by "back marking" the group. “No problem” we said but were told we needed to attend a training course for Walk Leaders at The Countryside Centre.  This we duly did in April 2017 and, as they say, the rest is history.  

The course was enjoyable and our Walks Co-ordinator is always on hand to provide support, advice, etc., when needed.  Our walk leader friend eventually decided to "retire" due to health and personal issues, so we agreed to take over the group.  

We now run a lovely, ever expanding, group of walkers, or should we say friends who walk, split into two groups, both for an hour, but one for those who want an easier walk.  At the end of the walks, we return to the City centre for coffee, and maybe cake too! This results in even more socialising and making friends.

Over the years we have seen people come and go but have some who have been attending for more years than us.  We have found it is very rewarding especially when you see people who attend on their own and soon make good friends, as have we.  For some they describe it as the highlight of their week. 

It can be challenging at times and is a commitment.  However, when we need a break we have a group of walk leaders we can turn to, to cover our walk.  This works both ways as we regularly help out leading walks from The Commandery or Lyppard Grange on a Tuesday and Woodgreen Church in Warndon Villages on a Friday.

We are lucky to have such a lovely City to explore although we are, of course, restricted by duration of the walk and this year by the all too frequent floods!

Some of our walks are by the river or around the racecourse, no good when they are flooded! 

We firmly believe in the benefits of the Health Walks, no cost, no planning, no need to book, just turn up and enjoy the company of like minded people.  

We feel the social and mental benefits are just as important as those of walking, if not more.

Several of our walkers, for various reasons are not able to walk from time to time and just join us for coffee and a chat which is great as this enables them to keep in touch.”

Volunteering helps to keep you mentally stimulated, improves your self-confidence and provides you with a sense of purpose. Together with the health benefits of walking, that adds up to an enjoyable and healthy lifestyle. 

To find out more about Worcestershire Health Walks and information about becoming a leader go to: