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Wellbeing walking scheme has been chosen for Co-op Local Community FundWellbeing-focused Walk & Tal

Wellbeing-focused Walk & Talks, organised by the Eastleigh Borough Council’s Country Parks team, are receiving a funding boost through the Co-op Community Fund.

Any Co-op customers wishing to support the scheme can access their Co-op member account (or create a new one) and select to support the Eastleigh Walk and Talk scheme. Every time they then use their Co-op card alongside a purchase of Co-op branded items instore, every pound spent creates a one pence contribution to the cause.

The Walk and Talks under this scheme take place at Lakeside and Itchen Valley Country Parks and are led by Country Park staff. The funding will pay for the walk leader's time, publicity, parking permits, and for the refreshments after the walk.

The sessions improve mental wellbeing by getting people together on a regular basis for a 'walk and talk' in the countryside. There are 16 places on each walk, keeping the groups small and sociable. They were started as a response to the isolation caused by the pandemic and have been a continued success as walkers continue to create friendships and develop confidence to go on their own walks.

The Co-op Local Community Fund links their customers to local Co-op establishments to support good causes. The Walk and Talk cause will receive a minimum of £1,000 for being accepted under the fund. Co-op Funeralcare (Bitterne Park) and the Co-op store on Bassett Green Road are the local establishments linked to this cause.

A Walk-and-Talk participant recently said: “I decided to come along to these sessions to get some fresh air and exercise. I’ve learnt lots of names of flowers, plants, fungi, new routes around Itchen Valley Country Park as well as different birdsongs. I look forward to these walks and enjoy the company, some of the veteran walkers keep in touch outside of the walks and that’s nice”.

The Chair of Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee, Cynthia Garton, said: “The Walk and Talks are fantastic for local residents to meetup, make new connections, as well as learn about and interact with nature. We’re very grateful for any support that local Co-op customers can give to enable these life-enhancing wellbeing walks to take place.”

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