Nestled in the heart of York, a city steeped in history and community spirit, a local charity is making a significant impact on the lives of its residents. Move Mates, an initiative by Move the Masses, is calling on the compassionate individuals of York to step forward and join a movement that has been transforming lives since its establishment in January 2019.
This York-based charity has become a source of support for those facing challenges in stepping outdoors and engaging in physical activity. Move Mates, through its Wellbeing Walks program, facilitates one-to-one walking partnerships, offering vital support and companionship to individuals grappling with isolation or struggling to find the motivation to step outside.
Over the past year, Move Mates has organized more than 1,500 walks, fostering 102 invaluable pairings between dedicated volunteers and participants in York. The impact of these walks extends beyond physical exercise, delving into the realms of mental health and community integration.
Volunteers, the backbone of this charitable endeavour, contribute an hour or two of their week to be a walking buddy. Their mission is not just about reducing isolation; it’s about enriching the lives of those they walk with, fostering a sense of community, and promoting both mental and physical wellness.
One volunteer, sharing her profound experience, stated, “The person I walk with is truly inspiring. When I first became a Move Mate over three years ago, it was only for a few months. It’s such a personally rewarding charity; I’m the real beneficiary.”
Participants, often choosing to remain anonymous, express gratitude and highlight positive changes. One participant shared, “Feeling lonely after losing my partner, the walks give me something to look forward to, and I feel healthier and happier afterward.”
The positive influence of Move Mates extends beyond individual walks, as the charity also organizes four slow-paced, accessible group walks each month. Details of these group activities can be found on their website, providing more opportunities for community engagement and social connections.
However, the success of Move Mates has led to a challenge – a shortage of volunteers. As the waiting list for participants grows, the charity is calling on the generous spirit of the people of York to step up and be part of this transformative journey.
Libby Crofts, the project manager, acknowledges the waiting list but encourages potential volunteers to join in, emphasizing the positive impact they can make. Crofts stated, “Move Mates has made a complete difference to many lives. It’s not just about physical activity; it’s about rekindling the joy of daily life, making individuals happier and more content within themselves.”
The testimonials from participants highlight the profound impact Move Mates has had on the community. Another participant shared, “After my hospital stay, I had become withdrawn and didn’t have the courage to walk on my own. Move Mates has changed that, getting me out and about. The walks have made a complete difference to my daily life – I am a lot happier and content in myself.”
In response to the growing demand for volunteers, Move Mates is appealing to the compassionate individuals of York to consider joining their ranks. The call is not just for walkers but for community builders, for those who wish to make a lasting impact on the lives of others.
York, with its picturesque streets and historic landmarks, has the potential to become a city united by compassion, where every step taken is a step towards strengthening the bonds that make a community resilient and vibrant. Move Mates invites you to be part of this movement, to be a companion and a catalyst for positive change in the lives of those who need it most.
As Move Mates looks ahead to a new year, the call for volunteers is not just a request; it’s an invitation to be part of a transformative journey that transcends the simple act of walking – it’s about walking together towards a brighter, healthier, and more connected community in York.