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Speakup Self Advocacy’s Tackling Inequalities Fund Project

Speakup Self Advocacy is one of our Tackling Inequalities Fund (TIF) partners who successfully secured their award to set up a series of walking bubbles to help their users combat inactivity caused by the pandemic. Speakup is a user-led charity and is run by and for people with learning disabilities and autism. Speakup gives people with learning disabilities and autistic people a voice, employment opportunities and ensures that they are valued and included in society.

Inclusion worker lead Annie tells us more about how their (TIF) project has been going: “The walking bubbles project is going really well. It’s working slightly differently than what was at first planned. The original plan was for a group of six people to meet up and do some walking. But it has worked better in smaller groups due to Covid restrictions, and people feel safer doing this. We have been using local walks so keeping transport to a minimum. Checking out the familiar routes and then enjoying the experience. Three of us also have watches that track how much we have walked. This has helped to elevate moods and give people some much-needed exercise. It’s fantastic, and we plan on continuing this when the funding ends as we all enjoy it!” Here is what some of their users have to say about their project

“The walk feels refreshing, and I feel relaxed afterwards. My friend Graeme also comes on the walk with me, and we have a nice time talking about things, and he enjoys it because it gets him out of the house because he lives alone and he feels calmer. After the walk, I sit and wait with him for the bus back home. We have also managed to get my daughter Jessica to come out with us sometimes. It has helped her confidence walking near roads as she got knocked down last year”. – Vicky

“On Fridays, I love going for a walk with my dog Bella, and I love watching her running in the field. I walk with my colleague Robert. He phones me to ask if we’re going on the walk to Valley Park, and he is partially sighted. It gives Robert a chance to talk to someone as he lives alone and stops him from being lonely. It also gives us plenty of exercise. I make sure that Robert is safe crossing the road back to his home. I feel on top of the world when I’ve walked”. – Alison

“I walk around Thrybergh Country Park with Hayley and her dog Violet. I sometimes walk with my friend Andrew from Shared Lives around the park and Wath Woods. We enjoy chatting and nattering to each other too, and it keeps our friendship strong as he is my buddy”. – Antony

“I started going on a walk around three times a week as it gets me out of the flat and not going to drive me crazy staring at four walls. I love going for walks as it makes me feel chilled out and refreshed with the fresh air and mindfulness by listening to the birds singing and smelling nature. I go on walks with Vicky and Graeme on Tuesday and Wednesdays at Rosehill Park and sometimes with Hayley on Fridays at Clifton Park. I record my distance with my Fitbit, and I can look back and say wow, how far have you done? I am also on a mission to do 5 miles in June and receive a medal and certificate”. Jodie

“On a Friday, I have been working with a small group going out walking in our local area. The group had a look at where they wanted to go and put together a timetable of when and where we would be walking. We have noticed a big change in people’s mood, and the group has been laughing together and looking at the scenery. One person, in particular, is very quiet and doesn’t speak much, but he has had a massive smile on his face and reacts to people’s conversations showing his interest in the walking activities we have been doing. So far we have been to Ulley Country Park, Clifton Park, Thrybergh Country Park and this week we are going walking around Yorkshire Wildlife Park”. Hayley (inclusion worker) 

“I have been meeting up with a friend for lovely walks as he suffers from anxiety. It has really helped him as he was feeling really low and didn’t want to go out. With my encouragement, he started coming for lots of different walks. I have noticed a big change in his mood. He isn’t feeling so stressed, he has opened up to me about his feelings, and he is now ringing me to go out for a walk rather than me encouraging him to go out.” Charlie