The Ageing Well Project run by Edinburgh Leisure in partnership with NHS Lothian delivers a range of city-wide activities which support people to become, and remain, active in later life. The emphasis is on meeting new people and making physical activity accessible and enjoyable. Now they are recruiting some new volunteers to lead their walking programme.
Jerry Gregson from Morningside has been involved with the project for 15 years, giving up two or three hours of his time each week to lead one of the many popular Ageing Walks across the city.
“I got involved after retiring from a career in IT. And with a music degree, I also used to be involved with another Ageing Well project, a singing group, but this is currently on hold due to Covid-19. My wife and I are also volunteers with Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, which involves fund-raising by opening private gardens to the public.
“Being retired, I love having the regular social contact that being a walk-leader brings, as well as the satisfaction of knowing I am doing something that is useful to others in our age-group.
“While there aren’t specific skills that are required, you should enjoy walking and have a certain level of fitness. It helps to be organised and enthusiastic and can get on well with people from differing backgrounds and ages. Being patient and tolerant also helps.
“There is an initial training course for Walk Leading and Edinburgh Leisure is good at supporting and treating their volunteers well, which isn’t always the case with other volunteering initiatives. Occasionally supplementary courses are offered such as First Aid training, but this is not compulsory.
Jerry said: “Being a walk leader not only benefits others, but I get a lot of satisfaction from being involved. It’s also a great excuse to explore the many highways and byways across the city. We take walkers to places they didn’t know about and wouldn’t go themselves, certainly not alone. Even after 15 years, I get a kick from someone saying, ‘I’ve never been this way before’.”
Anyone interested in volunteering as a walk leader, email: email@example.com
For more information: Be Active – Ageing Well – Edinburgh Leisure