New mums and older people urged to sign up for free healthy walks scheme

Active Norfolk walking group members Laurie Rainger, left, and Barry Tapp.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Active Norfolk walking group members Laurie Rainger, left, and Barry Tapp.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk health group will look to get inactive people back on their feet, targeting the disadvantaged, elderly and new mums to join in a new walking initiative.

Since 2008 Active Norfolk has run the 'fit together' programme, an initiative that organises walks across the county.

Under planned changes set to come into effect from April this year, a new programme will be launched as they attempt to add to the thousands of locals who have benefiied from walking.

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Paul Smyth, chairman of Norfolk County Council's communities committee said: 'Walking is a great way to improve fitness that can take place almost everywhere in Norfolk, so I hope that communities will use this new programme to set up local charities to help and encourage those who would really benefit from this simple exercise.'

Changes to the programme will see charities formed to help provide walks of up to four miles for beginners.

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Ben Jones, director at Active Norfolk said: 'Work is already under way on setting up an exciting new walking charity for Norwich, which will be the first of a number to be set up across the county.

'These will be community- led and will work with key health and physical activity stakeholders in the city.'

Laurie Rainger, a walk leader in the 'fit together' programme, said it was crucial for the future of the programme to get support from the local community.

'A lot of the people on the walks will be very sad if the walks can't continue, because a lot of them are people who used to do a lot of walking, but are now unable to do the distances that the ramblers and those groups do,' he said.

'Our walks encourage a lot of social interaction, we go for a coffee afterwards and it helps people to get out and meet new people.

'It's great for their confidence.'

To get involved in a local walking group log on to where there is more information and the opportunity to register an interest.

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