Walking group looks to expand horizons

Adur Healthy Walkers outside Shoreham Library on Monday, before their weekly walk  D14472465a

Adur Healthy Walkers outside Shoreham Library on Monday, before their weekly walk D14472465a

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A WALKING group based in Shoreham is expanding its horizons.

Adur Healthy Walkers started about seven years ago as a Government initiative with a leader funded by Adur District Council.

SH 171114 Adur Healthy Walkers. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141117-114111001

SH 171114 Adur Healthy Walkers. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141117-114111001

When funding ceased four years ago, volunteers formed a committee to run the group and continue the free walks programme.

Secretary Ann Geal explained: “Funds are raised by various events to cover the cost of printing our programmes, training leaders, first aid equipment and courses for the leaders, etc.

“Most of our funds come from the coffee morning held once a year, this year being our most successful, raising over £400. We now have about 200 members, of which about 75 are active walkers.

“There has been a change to our committee this year, our chairman Alan Swayne and secretary Libby Pitcher both standing down after some years of hard work, which was really appreciated by the group.”

Adur Healthy Walkers is based in Shoreham but walks cover Shoreham, Southwick, Lancing, Worthing, Upper Beeding, Bramber, Steyning, Mile Oak Farm and Devil’s Dyke.

The aim now is to expand to Fishersgate and a new circular walk around Fishersgate and Southwick was held on November 4 to attract new members from the area.

Mrs Geal said it had been a great success, with 38 members attending, but it was still hoped more people from Fishersgate would be encouraged to take part.

Further developments this year have seen Adur Healthy Walkers invited to join the four Worthing groups for walks, followed by lunch, and Horsham Walkers visited the group in October.

The shorter walks are part of the Walking for Health Scheme, ranging from 30 to 90 minutes.

Mrs Geal said: “Our most popular is the Monday morning walk from Shoreham Library. Walking for Health is supported by The Ramblers and MacMillan Cancer Support, offering short, free health walks in local communities across England, supporting people to get active and stay active.

“We have just recently been awarded our Certificate of Accreditation to be recognised as an accredited Walking for Health Scheme.”

Separate, longer walks are also offered, from 90 minutes to three hours, and one of the leaders arranges days out, to include a walk, several times a year.

Mrs Geal said the days out, including Chichester, Lewes, London, Portsmouth, Rottingdean and Brighton, had been well supported.

The walkers’ busy year has also included taking part in a Health Awareness Day at the Shoreham Centre in June, displaying pictures of the walks, giving out programmes and generally talking to people and giving them information.

Mrs Geal said: “This was very successful and several new people joined the group as a result.

“We have also been able to have our display board with pictures and information in a couple of libraries in the Adur area a few times to help promote our group.”

The annual Christmas lunch, at the Crown and Anchor in Shoreham, will include a raffle to raise funds for the group.

Mrs Geal added: “This is a friendly group run purely by volunteer leaders. We would be pleased to welcome any new people and if anyone is interested in becoming a leader, which is not a difficult job.”

Contact Jean Marsh 01273 465669 or Ann Geal 01903 266373. Visit www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/sport-and-leisure/play-a-sport/walking for more information and the programme.