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Breath Of Fresh Air For Carers

Stepping Out with Carers co-organiser, Sue Mott, tells us about a pilot project we're funding that's helping carers – and the people they care for – experience the joy of walking.

It was a curious thing. The organisers of the White Cliffs Walking FestivalOpen in a new window in Kent were baffled that for the third year running their walk for disabled people had produced no takers.

The venue: scenic. The weather: fine. The volunteers: ready to go. The customers: none. It was a great disappointment, and maybe the walk should be withdrawn forever, they concluded. Obviously, there was no demand.

This seemed odd, though. Why would people, no matter what their disability, not enjoy a stroll – or a wheel – in the great outdoors? The baffling continued.

Joy of Walking

Then a chance encounter with someone from a Carers’ Support organisation offered a glimpse into the truth.

Disabled people and those who cared for them would absolutely love the exercise and sociability that walking entails, but they frequently suffered a perfect storm of hindrance.

Health issues and financial problems, chief among them. Isolation, loss of confidence, a lack of feeling connected to the outside world. Depression, loneliness and a sense that the four walls within which they inhabited had become some kind of prison. It was hard to spring open the door and take that first step.

That’s when Stepping Out with Carers was born.

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