Church walking for health in Sevenoaks

A church in Sevenoaks has launched a health walk as part of an NHS social prescribing initiative.

"We were inspired by an encouragement from Bishop Simon to engage with health" says Revd Lorraine Turner, Vicar of St. Mary's Platt.

Walkers set out on Mondays at 10am for a 90 minute health walk.

Two of the walkers - Jan Bryce from the Church of the Good Shepherd Borough Green and St. Mary’s vicar, Revd Lorraine Turner -  have just completed walk leader training.

It has brought the church into partnership with the Borough Green Surgery social prescriber and the OneYou project (Tonbridge and Malling Council,) which seeks to make health walks accessible to everybody.

Health Walks offer the opportunity for better mental and physical health through exercise; sunshine; connecting with others and more.

Revd Lorraine said:

“It’s an excellent partnership. The Health Walk is a healthy extension of our community cafe. Our walk leader Dave Allum came through OneYou so churches don’t need to resource their Health Walk alone. It’s reassuring to know OneYou cover Health and safety aspects as well as training and publicity.”

Natalie Blakely from OneYou said,

“The spectacular views in the area, coupled with the hospitality and friendliness of the local volunteers has produced a fun, friendly, inclusive walk. It has been refreshing to meet so many people and have so much support from the church to help us promote One You; helping people lose weight, get active, give up smoking and reduce their alcohol intake.”

Jan Bryce said, “I enjoy walking in the country and these health walks have let me meet new people.”

St. Mary’s supports the health walk by: providing access to toilets; promotion through the parish magazine; hosting refreshments at the end of the walk. Lorraine would encourage other churches to explore it: 

"Parish churches are well placed to support this initiative to increase well-being as part of a ministry of care and hospitality."

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