Small children on scooters, older children on roller skates and an older resident on a mobility scooter user – the ‘walk on wheels’ attracted all ages and many sets of wheels to the seafront at Southwick.
“We want to make our walks accessible to everyone,” says Nick Slugg, who is a volunteer and now chairperson of the Eastbrook Explorers, a local community group at Eastbrook Manor Community Centre.
The group’s very first walk took them around Shoreham Port and, with the help of historic objects provided by the Port Authority, Nick also gave a short talk about its history. Since then there have been other walks including the ‘walk on wheels’ to make sure everyone feels welcome.
Keen to encourage more people to get involved
As part of the Growing Communities project run by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and supported by Adur and Worthing Councils, the group aims to encourage local people to enjoy the outdoors, socialise and get fit and healthy all at the same time. Alternative routes are found for those who don’t like slopes, and there’s a ‘slow lane’ at the back of each walk for those who may need it.
The walks have been very successful, sometimes attracting up to 25 people, but the group is keen to encourage more local people to get involved either as walkers or volunteers to help with future activities and events.
“Life can be very stressful these days and we can all feel a bit down and depressed at times, so joining a walk can be very relaxing and a chance to socialise with others. For those who volunteer, it also gives them something to look forward to and a sense of achievement,”
Beth Osmond, TCV Senior Project Manager, says Eastbrook Explorers is a perfect example of what they hope to achieve through the ‘Growing Communities’ project.
“Eastbrook Explorers are exceptionally good at organising themselves. They really stand out in terms of thinking carefully about what the community might need,” says Beth.
They are also an example of the longer term goal of the Growing Communities project, self-sufficiency. “It’s a group which has come from the local community, and with our support they now have a constitution and have held their first committee meeting,” says Beth.
“Our role is to give them all the skills they need to do that. And to link them with other groups in the community who can support them in the future.”
If you want to get involved with Gardening Tots or the Green Gym, you can contact Graeme on [email protected] or see Gwenn at the above drop-in sessions.
To find out how to get involved with Growing Communities, or to share your ideas for projects and activities, see Gwenn at the drop-in sessions every Wednesday, between 1pm – 3pm at the Meet In Place on Laylands Road, and Thursday at Eastbrook Manor Community Centre between 9.30am and 12 noon.