A team of volunteers to help keep Halton residents healthy and happy by leading regular health walks have received a thank you from Halton Borough Council.

The Volunteer Walk Leaders recently won Volunteering Team of the Year award at Halton & St Helens Voluntary and Community Action annual awards ceremony, and to celebrate they were invited to afternoon tea with Halton’s Mayor and Consort, Cllrs Val and Stan Hill, who presented them with certificates and goodie bags.

Paula Parle, the Council’s Sport and Physical Activity Officer, says: “We have a team of amazing people, doing amazing things in Halton – our volunteers play an important role in supporting people to lead more active lifestyles, thereby improving physical, mental and social health.

“Walking is such an easy activity to support good health, and it is free due to the commitment of volunteers who lead a selection of weekly health walks across Halton.”

The walk leaders plan routes, risk assess routes, and complete the necessary admin but, most of all they provide a safe and friendly environment for our walkers, they ensure walks are open and accessible to people of all abilities.

The volunteers, some of whom have volunteered for 15 years, are dedicated and committed to promoting and supporting healthy and active lifestyles within the community and inspire others to look after their own health. They provide a service that helps keep people out of costly/intensive services including GP appointments, hospital, and social services.

The walk leaders are small teams often just two people per walk and will provide a front marker and back marker on each walk keeping everybody safe at their own pace. All the leaders are happy to work as a larger team supporting each other by sign-posting individuals to the most appropriate walks and working together on larger campaigns such as National Walking Week.

Volunteers often share their skills with each other and new walk leaders, as well as supporting people through their health problems and other difficult times, such as bereavement.

Paula added: “Our health walks could not operate without these amazing volunteers! Some weeks around 100 people attend a health walk across Widnes and Runcorn and reap the benefits. They leave smiling thanks to our wonderful volunteers who use the ‘wonder drug’ walking to support healthier happier lifestyles.”