Stacey Sirrell, 24-year-old mother-of-two from Rigside, has enjoyed Healthy Valleys since childhood. As a child, her mother volunteered with the organisation regularly, with Stacey fast becoming a familiar face to those attending over the last 20 years. Growing up with Healthy Valleys offered Stacey the unique opportunity to take part in regular swimming, sports and cooking clubs delivered in the community.
Healthy Valleys is a community-led initiative supporting communities in rural South Lanarkshire, providing a wide range of opportunities and support for local people to lead healthy, active lifestyles, and improve their physical, mental and social and wellbeing. They deliver three successful resilience programmes for people and families to strengthen communities in areas of deprivation, reduce health inequalities and address service gaps.
On growing up with Healthy Valleys, Stacey says,
I’ve always been part of Healthy Valleys – I’ve always had a project worker to speak with me no matter where I’ve been. Healthy Valleys is like a family.
Paths for All support the delivery of over 670 Health Walks in communities across Scotland. Whilst weekly Health Walks are open to all ages and abilities, Buggy Walks provide safe, sociable spaces for parents, carers and guardians to share their experiences, make new friends and enjoy supportive social time.
Stacey is now a regular with Health Valleys, and attends several of the Health Walks delivered throughout the week. She has no qualms in admitting that because of a busy and hectic lifestyle of motherhood, she neglected her diet, opting for breakfasts consisting of cake and coca cola.
However, enjoying cooking and nutrition courses - delivered through the Healthy Valleys ‘Place to Be’ programme - has equipped Stacey with the knowledge and ideas to budget, eat healthy and control portions by creating varied, nutritional home-cooked dishes for herself and her children.
Over the course of her time with Healthy Valleys, Stacey was also introduced to Strength and Balance classes as part of their Health Walks programme and discovered an enjoyment for exercise.
Annette Hall McKay, Project Worker with Healthy Valleys says,
I’ve seen a big change in Stacey from since we started – the difference made is phenomenal. Stacey is a fine example of how small changes and positive goals can help.
Consistently taking part in weekly Health Walks and Buggy Walks delivered in Douglas and Rigside means Stacey has lost two stone in weight and lives an active, healthy lifestyle by walking, and doing regular evening home workouts when her children go to bed. During the weekends, Stacey enjoys taking her children and her mum out on walks into the local countryside.
Attending the Healthy Valleys Health Walks has boosted Stacey's confidence, and radically changed her lifestyle providing positive mental and physical health benefits which come with meeting new people, including several young mothers in the area.
At Paths for All, we work with a wide range of community groups and organisations to get people across Scotland walking everywhere and every day.
If you’d like to learn more about Health Walks, would like to contribute to the delivery of walks in your area, or join one local to you, visit www.pathsforall.org.uk/findahealthwalk.
Find out more about Healthy Valleys here.