Volunteers come top at Trafford Awards

14 September 2017

A team of dedicated volunteers from the ‘Walk Trafford’ project bagged the prestigious Volunteer Year of the Award 2017 at the Trafford Sports Awards.

The awards took place on Friday 8th September at Hotel Football and celebrated the achievements and dedication of local athletes, coaches, volunteers, schools, sports clubs and unsung heroes.

Volunteers Ann Von Essen, Barbara Riley, Jim Mullen, John Stretton and Anne Shepard from Boundary House Medical Centre in Sale Moor were nominated for their hard work organising urban health walks from the surgery, engaging hundreds of people over the last few months.

The GP walking group is part of a wider project called ‘Walk Trafford’ led by charity City of Trees which as well as planting 3 million trees across the region, and bringing woods back into use for the community, aims to connect people to the nature on their doorstep.

As part of the initiative City of Trees trained Walk Leaders who organise their own walks. The five enthusiastic Boundary House volunteers lead a walk every Tuesday starting from the surgery at 1.30pm exploring the local area and enabling them to not only keep active but make new friends and get to know the local area better.

Dr Yvonne Burke from Boundary House Medical Centre said “The physical health, mental health and social benefits of walking are really clear. We wanted our community to have the opportunity of joining a local easy access walking group and for it to become one of the options open to improve health.

“City of Trees led the first 6 walks and trained our walk leaders which has enabled the group to be self-sustaining and continue into the future. We are working on plans to expand this project across GP practices in Trafford. New members are always welcome!”

Volunteer Jim Mullen says; “We were five complete strangers in January and now we've become good friends and a great team of walk leaders. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the group enjoying walking and talking their way around the routes that we devise for them. And of course we are all getting fitter week by week.”

Jessica Thompson, City of Trees adds; “At City of Trees we are not only passionate about creating green spaces, planting trees and establishing new woodlands, but also connecting people to the nature on their doorstep. Walking isn’t just about being in the outdoors, but it brings people together and offers amazing community benefits”.

In addition to training Walk Leaders, the Walk Trafford project engaged people across the borough by running numerous walks across the Trafford countryside including Sale Water Park and Urmston Meadows, as well as creating downloadable walking guides.

‘Walk Trafford’ was a partnership between Trafford Sports & Physical Activity Partnership, Transport for Greater Manchester and City of Trees.

Photo: From L – R; Joanne Hyde, Kelly Sotherton (Olympian), Dr. Yvonne Burke, Volunteers Jim Mullen, Barbara Riley, Ann Von Essen and Councillor Sean Anstee (Leader Trafford Council.