Welcome to my first blog for Lifted. Hopefully you all enjoy the read.
I’m Kate, the new admin volunteer. I will be updating the social media sites to keep you all updated on the latest news and events that are taking place across Lifted.
I was tasked this month with highlighting the walks that take place within Lifted. I thought to myself, I can’t really promote something I’ve not been a part of, so just under two weeks ago I challenged myself to go on the weekly carers walk.
Here is my experience, from the walk;
I contacted Lifted via phone, to say I would be coming. They do this so they ensure they don’t start the walk without you. That wouldn’t have been a good start for me on my first walk. I was told to meet the group at the cafe in wythenshawe park on Wednesday at 11am.
I have to admit I was nervous, one I struggled with bad anxiety and two I didn’t know anyone there, this was my first time attending. I should never have been worried, the moment I walked into the courtyard I was greeted by a group of happy and bubbly people, who came up to me and said ‘you must be Kate?’ I didn’t have to go up to anyone and introduce myself, the group did it all on their own and it really did relax me and make me feel comfortable.
Sue, one of the leaders at Lifted, came up to me and asked ‘which walk I wanted to be on?’
They do two walks at the same time. They are set out as a group together and when they reach a small bridge they part ways into the two groups, one being a one mile walk at a comfortable walk with plenty of rest stops, the other depending on how the group feels can be a two or three mile walk (again with breaks when needed).
Both groups have walking leads on them, so I thought I would pick when I got the bridge.
As we set off I walked and chatted with Sue and Miss H (and her amazing tinseled up walking sticks) to get an insight on why they do these walks each week. Miss H told me that she is a carer for a family member as well as also needing support herself. Miss H said that this was one of the few times within the week where she could go out and not be a carer and it gave Miss H her own independence, something that she really valued. Miss H said when she first started the walks she joined with her walking frame and since doing the walks weekly she is now only supported by her walking sticks. How fantastic is that! Not only that Miss H also boosted that she has lost over a stone in the last month just from these walks.
Sue started the group because she attended a couple of walks with the Manchester Carers forum and the Ramblers association during Carers Week. This inspired Sue to create a walking group for Lifted Carers. The Ramblers association were very supportive of this and even paid for Sue to do the walk leader training course. Margaret from the Ramblers Association joined us on a walk a couple of weeks ago she quoted ” Thanks for a good walk today. I am very impressed with your weekly walks and committed walkers, whatever the weather.”
Sue also said you can pick to do any of the walks at any point during the walk, as they cross paths throughout the walk. If you fancy changing the pace just swap over when they cross over.
When we got to the bridge I chose to go on the one mile walk, so off I went with Mr C, Ms F and Mr M.
I chatted with Mr M for a while, he told me he has been a carer for 47 years to a family member and still is their carer. Mr M said something that really hit home to me, as I used to be a child carer. ‘Without the group and going out for a walk once a week, his day to day life was the same as routine was what is needed at home.’ These walk’s were a time for him to be just Mr M and enjoy the company and not have to worry and just got to be there in the moment.
And that’s when it hit me. These walks were not only great for hitting your daily steps but it was providing time to be yourself, with other people who had/have similar experiences to you so they also understood how precious these walks were for your own well being.
After a while I switched my conversation over to Ms F, I think I’ve met my equal for talking with Ms F, we chatted the rest of the walk about all sorts of stuff. Ms F was telling me before she became ill. She would go on walks for miles with her family member who she looks after. Ms F said she loved being active but with her current illness she is unable to go on her long walks. Not to be defeated Ms F has joined the walking group and attends the one mile group, knowing that anypoint a rest is needed, she just need to speak up and the group rest and chat and carry on when Ms F is ready to go again, there is no pressure from anyone to force you to hurry up, they are all just enjoying the company and conversations taking place.
Once we completed the walk and were back at the cafe, where we waited for the other group while we enjoyed our hot drinks, A must in the current weather situation.
The main thing I took away from this walk was the fire and soul that everyone has within themselves. They don’t talk about the challenges they can face being a carer, they are just there as a group of friends who are catching up on the past week, while enjoying their walk. It is definitely something I would highly recommend for everyone to try just even once. I felt calm while I was on the walk with the group. Something I’ve not felt in a long time due to the anxiety that I struggle with. Just that moment of calm is something I will be truly grateful for.
Thank you to all the walkers who were there and made my first walk an amazing day. I loved talking with you all. Hope to see you all soon on my next walk with the group
Lifted walking group – Every Wednesday at 11am – 1pm. Make sure to drop us a text or email to let us know you are coming.
Call/text us on:07385568990 Or 07384784262
Or email us: email@example.com