A network of health walks in Lincolnshire, which includes the Sleaford area, is striding ahead after a county business stepped in with fresh support.
The network comprises more than 60 regular, volunteer-run sessions across Lincolnshire’s seven districts.
They come under the national Walking for Health scheme, which is run in partnership by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Funding from Lincolnshire County Council was due to run out, but now Lincolnshire Co-op has come forward to help sure up the scheme’s future.
The business will manage the walks in Lincoln, East Lindsey, and South Kesteven, for which it has employed its own dedicated community and health walks co-ordinator who will also provide time, expertise and other resources.
Existing health walk co-ordinators are continuing their work in South Holland and North Kesteven, where the sessions have been and continue to be managed by lifestyle and leisure management company 1Life.
In Boston, members of the community, supported by Boston Borough Council, have formed a group to run health walks, while in West Lindsey there is a volunteer walks co-ordinator.
Lincolnshire Co-op says it will work alongside these co-ordinators to join up the scheme across the county.
Lincolnshire Co-op community and health walks co-ordinator Carly Togher said: “Helping people stay healthy is really important to us. We give advice through our 49 pharmacies and our pop-up health pod and promote healthy living wherever we can, so stepping in to support the walks felt natural.
“It’s important that the opportunity for free, regular exercise is available for everybody. Walking helps people’s physical activity levels and their mental health, because it improves overall healthiness and can reduce loneliness.
“We’ll be working hard to support both the walkers and health walk volunteers, and we’re looking to expand and grow the network with new volunteers.”
Walking for Health development manager Charlene Simon said: “We are delighted that Lincolnshire Co-op, in partnership with all Walking for Health schemes across the county, will be working to ensure that everyone can access a free and friendly short group walk.”
He added: “We look forward to seeing health walks continue to prosper and make a difference to the lives of many across the county.”
Health walks in the Sleaford-area include sessions in Sleaford, Ruskington, Leasingham, and Heckington.
To find a walk near to you, visit www.walkingforhealth.org.uk