Streets Apart – run by the charity Living Streets – arranges weekly walks for the over-65s. Project coordinator Tricia Edeam introduces the tri-borough initiative and urges Wanstead residents to get involved
We are Living Streets, a charity for everyday walking, and we are working with older adults around the UK to reconnect them with their communities and improve their streets. Our work aims to support those with accessibility needs, providing safe, friendly spaces for organised group walks.
Building on the successful two-year Streets Apart project in Redbridge, the City Bridge Trust has once more invested in walking as a solution to loneliness and inactivity. But this time, extending across three London boroughs: Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham.
The focus of the Streets Apart programme is to reconnect older people with their community; reducing isolation, improving physical fitness and mental well-being. Walking and talking is easy and free with huge all-round benefits.
Our new three-year project involves led walks with older adults, training walk leaders to leave a walking legacy in the boroughs, street route audits to assess the walking environment and audit reports to suggest improvements to local councils.
Our walks are designed to help older adults stay independent. Rebuilding confidence in the simple act of walking can give the confidence to go out to the shops, attend a doctor’s appointments, attend local events, or visit friends or family. At present, our walks are in Barkingside, Clayhall and Ilford, but we are looking to introduce new walks in other parts of the borough. We are particularly interested in Wanstead and Woodford and are looking for participants to take advantage of this service. To be able to attend, you must be over 65 and be able to walk a short distance. Living Streets staff will discuss your needs with you and match you with a group close to your home. At the end of the walks, the groups visit cafés to allow for the opportunity to sit together and have a tea or coffee and a chat. For many attendees, this is the highlight of the walk as they get to spend time socialising and getting to know each other.
“I feel better, and it was nice to have someone to talk to. I enjoyed both the walk and walk leader, who has given me new information about where I live,” said one participant.
The led walks are set at a slow pace, designed to cater for all abilities and all are welcome to join. Walk leaders are all fully trained, DBS checked and live within the local community themselves.
To join a Streets Apart walking group, refer a friend or volunteer with Living Streets, call 07714 616 599 or email Patricia.Edeam@livingstreets.org.uk
For more information on Living Streets, visit wnstd.com/livingstreets