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Sport England team visits Milton Keynes

Published on 15 October 2019 09:49 AM

Tim Hollingsworth with Sue Graham, the Mayor of Milton Keynes and Janet Doran

We were delighted to welcome Sport England to The Peartree Centre on Tuesday 1st October.

Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth OBE and his team chose International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) to visit Age UK Milton Keynes’ Walking Befriending Service, which is one of 23 innovative community projects to receive National Lottery funding from Sport England as part of the Active Ageing fund.  We were also pleased to be joined by the Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr Sam Crooks.

Our Walking Befriending Service supports older people in Milton Keynes who have experienced a significant life event, such as bereavement or illness, which has put them at risk of isolation or loneliness. The service trains volunteer befrienders to accompany an older person on a short walk near their home. By providing encouragement and friendly support the walking befriender will help people overcome barriers which might be preventing them from being active in later life.

Tim Hollingsworth said: “Often it can feel like the barriers to getting active grow as we age – but physical activity is not only for the young. Keeping active in our later years delivers huge benefits not only to our physical health but also our mental wellbeing, improving our independence and increasing our connections with friends and communities.

“I’m delighted to have visited Age UK Milton Keynes’ Walking Befriending Service and to be supporting this inspiring project with National Lottery funding. By supporting older adults to take short walks we hope everyone taking part will be able to access the wealth of benefits that regular physical activity can bring – whilst making important social connections and new friends along the way.”

Tim and Age UK Milton Keynes were accompanied on a short walk around Peartree Bridge and along the Grand Union Canal by guests from Milton Keynes Council Council Sports Development, LEAP, Milton Keynes Council Reablement team, Community Action MK and The Open University CABS resource.  We were also thrilled that some of our Walking Befriending Service clients and their volunteer befrienders also came along on the day.  They were able to vividly describe how the service has helped them and made a positive difference to their lives.

Invited guests and walkers avoided the rain!

Janet Doran, Chief Executive of Age UK Milton Keynes, said: “We are grateful to Sport England and the National Lottery for enabling us to help older people in Milton Keynes stay active. We at Age UK Milton Keynes are delighted to be able to play a role in making the town a healthier place to live. We see at firsthand the enormous benefit people get from physical exercise. We are listening to what local older people tell us they need and working with them to make Milton Keynes a great place to live in later life.”

Dallas, Vera and Tim take it carefully on the bridge over the canal

Find out more about the Walking Befriending Service, if you're interested in becoming more active or if perhaps you'd like to volunteer.  We'd love to hear from you.