Walk and Talk around Wat Tyler Park
Basildon Mind have combined their walking experience with counselling expertise to offer Basildon residents weekly ‘walk and talk’ sessions which is followed by socialising and refreshments. The project provides a safe space for residents to be able to leave their homes and increase their daily movement which is also a free activity.
Basildon Mind have existed locally for over 50 years and understand the importance of using physical activity to engage with residents who may be struggling with their mental health as well as social isolation. Basildon Mind have experience with running these ‘walk and talk’ groups which are led by qualified leaders and accompanied by a trained counsellor.
Basildon Mind understood that many of their clients were affected by the Covid 19 pandemic as well as the cost of living crisis which consequently meant that residents were spending more time at home and less time outside which was negatively affecting their physical and mental wellbeing.
The project offers a 2 mile walk which lasts around 75 minutes which is followed by social interaction at park facilities. The aim was to engage with less-active people to show them the benefits of movements such as walking as well as how it can promote positive mental wellbeing. Enjoying the benefits of activity was important for the project as it was the aim that the participants would continue to leave their homes and move daily because they enjoyed it.
With the cost of living crisis, it was also important for the leaders to encourage participants to leave their homes so that they didn’t have to spend additional costs on central heating, if they had been at home. The leaders also ensured that the participants were bought refreshments after the walk so they could enjoy this activity without spending any money.
The success of the ‘Walk and Talk’ sessions have meant that the participants have continued to show an interest in walking away from the group and increase their daily movement through this activity. Also, the walkers have formed a close-knit group and formed new connections, they communicate via an online social media group and allows them to grow this support network.