Walk with Braveheart through lockdown

We asked Walking for Health project - Walk with Braveheart to share their experience of the past year of lockdown, detailing how their project has adapted, faced up to new challenges and strived to keep going through the pandemic, including how they have supported people with dementia.

Walk with Braveheart

The last year has brought many challenges to all aspects of life and here at Walk with Braveheart, we aimed to support our walkers and service users as best we could.

We firstly kept in contact with our walkers via telephone, email, and online to keep them up to date with restrictions and highlight the support we could provide from our end. This was done with the help of our wonderful Walk Leaders. 

It’s very kind of Braveheart to call and stay in touch

We also changed our quarterly newsletters to monthly ones to specifically reach those with no internet access. Furthermore, we increased our website and social media presence by sharing activity ideas, motivational messages and signposted to online activities provided by our partners.

Our weekly online Walk Leaders meetings were a great way to gather thoughts on ways to support our walkers and of course, have a catch-up. We are now also providing monthly online Tea and Chat sessions and Strength and Balance sessions, for anyone to join.  

As restrictions eased, along with encouraging walkers to meet a fellow walker or friend, we were able to provide one-to-one Buddy Walks for those who needed it most. We supported around 22 people through our Buddy Walks and received positive feedback and praise from many:

The Buddy Walks have been great to enable us to walk with someone else. It’s really helped and gave me something to look forward to.

It was through our Buddy Walks where we welcomed William to Braveheart. His daughter, who lives in Aberdeen, contacted us asking if we could support him through our Buddy Walks. He had retired from The Ramblers many years ago, lived alone and his daughter was keen for him to meet others. William has early-stage dementia and sometimes needs a little push to try something new. Our Walk Leader, Ian who lives close by to William was happy to support him each week. William thoroughly enjoyed walking in the local area with Ian, chatting away and sharing stories. His daughter couldn’t thank us enough and hoped this would be a new hobby for William. 

In September, we were able to finally start our group walks back. Walk Leader, Ian leads our Wednesday Dawson walk and was encouraging William to come along. It took a few weeks for William to join the group but when he did he attended each week thereafter.

He gets a lot out of talking to different people, sharing stories and having a laugh.

If it wasn’t for the support of our Buddy Walks William perhaps wouldn’t have had the confidence to join a group walk. We hope to continue Buddy Walk support, even when group walks are back in full swing, to welcome more people like William.  

Thank you to Walk with Braveheart project coordinator Eva Finlayson, for reflecting on Health Walks during the current pandemic. 

Find out more about Walk with Braveheart