An East Lothian charity that helps people address health issues by getting out and walking has just secured £3,000 of funding. The money is coming from Corra Foundation and will be used by CHANGES Community Health Project to help pay the costs of running wellbeing walks, outdoor activities and healthy living projects for local people with mental health issues.
Carol Murray, one of the charity’s Board Members, said: “Everyone knows getting out and walking is good for you, but if you are struggling with health issues such as depression or panic attacks it can be daunting to even get out of the house. Many people find it easier to get out walking as part of a group, especially when the other people they are with are addressing similar challenges. For some people this is still too big a leap and so we also have a buddying system which can help people get out and about before introducing them to one of our walking groups. Like most charities we struggle to raise enough money to cover our basic costs, so having some funding in place to help pay our administration costs is great news for us.”
Every year CHANGES Community Health Project runs 11 walking programmes that each last for 10 weeks, meaning it is easy for people across East Lothian to get involved. Volunteer walk leaders support the participants on each walk, and there is also additional support available through CHANGES to help people with issues including stress, anxiety and depression. CHANGES has always been keen to work closely with other health care providers and was delighted to receive a request from the GP practice in Prestonpans to set up a local walking group and these walks started in August 2012. CHANGES now offers group walks in Musselburgh, Haddington and Prestonpans and has plans to start a walking group in Dunbar in the near future.
In addition to the group and buddy walks, CHANGES now also runs an Eat Well-Keep Active course, Gentle Exercise Sessions and is starting a Cycling Project in Musselburgh this year.
Mary Craig OBE, Chief Executive of Corra Foundation, said: “The beauty of these wellbeing walks is that they make something that could seem very difficult extremely accessible. It’s all very well knowing that getting fresh air and exercise is good for you, but when life is feeling a real struggle actually doing that takes an enormous amount of effort and willpower. The CHANGES Community Health Project helps people in really practical ways that they can keep doing themselves.”
This is the Foundation’s fourth award for CHANGES Community Health Project’s work since 2000, bringing the total support to £58,850. Two other East Lothian charities also received awards, with the Hollies Day Centre getting £5,000 to help pay the salary of the Co-Worker in the Dementia Unit, and Stepping Out getting £3,000 towards the Project Worker in the Healing Garden Project.
The next deadline for other charities applying for funding is 17th March 2014.