What is Lifewalks?
Lifewalks is Epping Forest District Council’s walking for health scheme. Our scheme is well run and genuinely improves people’s health and fitness.
Lifewalks follow good practice and are supported by various groups. Lifewalks is also highly rated so local GP’s, hospitals and dieticians often refer their patients to the scheme. Not all Lifewalkers have a medical problem though – most are already fit and healthy and simply want to stay that way.
There are 5 led Lifewalks every week throughout the year on Mondays Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am, Saturdays at 10am and Sundays at 10:00am The walks are all between 1-3 miles and are on paths with good surfaces. There are walks across the Epping Forest District mostly within the Lee Valley Park.
Everyone is encouraged to walk as though they are a bit late for an appointment – in other words, just a little bit faster than usual. As everyone’s normal walking speeds varies enormously - from 1mph to over 4mph - the group usually spreads out very quickly. But each person walks at a pace, which is right for them and is asked not to try and keep up with faster people in the group! You don’t need to be fit or able to walk fast to be a volunteer.
There are 6 permanent part time paid leaders supported by a team of volunteers. There will be at least one of the permanent leaders on every walk. They usually act as the front leader and rear escort, with the volunteer leaders walking more in the middle of the group (because this is usually well spread out) but we currently really need
Lifewalks volunteers can be a:
“Meeter and greeter”
- Middle leader
- Front leader
- Rear escort
What skills do I need?
Some new walkers may have had heart or other surgery, have Type 2 diabetes, cancer, asthma or another medical condition. Some will be worried that walking a little faster than usual may cause a problem for them when out on a Lifewalk. Some walkers will just be unfit. Others may have a weight problem. But most are perfectly fit and healthy and just want to stay that way!
The common bond they will share is that they have probably joined Lifewalks in a moment of enthusiasm! The Mentor’s task is to try and make sure a new walker becomes a regular walker and doesn’t drop out after just a few Lifewalks.
Mentors are friends – they “adopt” a new walker and just generally provide encouragement and support. For example, if a walker does not come along for a couple of weeks and has not said that they are going on holiday, their Mentor would give them a call just to check they are OK. If someone is taken ill and has to drop out of Lifewalks for a while, their Mentor would call them occasionally just to see how they are, to give them the latest news from Lifewalks and to encourage them to return to Lifewalks as soon as they can.
We also need people to walk at a steadier pace to guide slower walkers around the route and we especially need volunteers for walkers with specific needs such as the visually impaired or those that have Alzheimer’s. We have in the past had people on our waiting list who would love to be able to come to the walks just once a week or even every other week but they need the support of some one, who is willing to give up a couple of hours of their time every couple of weeks and either guide them along on a walk or if possible transport them to and from a walk as well.
- Data Protection policy
- DBS check required
- Equal opportunities policy
- Expenses reimbursed
- Health and Safety Policy
- Ongoing support
- Suitable for under 18s
- Training provided
- Volunteer induction
- Volunteer policy
- Volunteers covered by insurance
- Written role description
When can I volunteer?
Start Date: 26/05/2021
End Date: 28/07/2022
As a volunteer, you will be welcome however often you can come along to help. We do not ask that you come out on a set number of days, or on a particular day each week, but if you can commit to a regular day that is very helpful. We will simply be pleased to see you when you turn up!