The Happy Wanderers – Foundry Wharf, St. Helens

Foundry Wharf is a residential block for ages 55+ located in St. Helens, and is home to the members of one of our Healthy Walk groups. Healthy Walks are a way to get people of all ages and abilities more active and connected with nature.

Chris, who runs the group, encourages members to take photos when walking, specifically focusing on colours and textures that can visually demonstrate how that person may feel in the space. This allows participants to be creative and mindful if they wish to be, or they may just want to take a nice photo of their surroundings. The images within this blog were all taken by this group on their local walks.

As Foundry Wharf was a new development complete during the pandemic, many residents joined the group to meet people. Some lived alone, whilst others were carers and hoped to find a place where they could be themselves.

“This group has given me back my identity and it has made me much more active. I wouldn’t go out for walks before alone, but now I have people to go with.”

“We’d never met as a group before but after starting the walks we have the confidence to approach others”

“I first started a bit apprehensive but now I have great friends.”

“I used to be very shy but now I’m much more relaxed, feel chilled out and share connections with others.”

The group became so close over time, that they gave themselves the name “the happy wanderers”.

“We have a community room we meet in after the walks. We’re all on the same level despite being a mixed group.”

As well as making friends, some group members also learned new skills, whilst others re-engaged with them.

“I used to enjoy photography but lost my passion, but these groups have helped me get back into it. I love taking pictures and being creative now.”

Participants also expressed how they feel closer to nature now as well as other people.

“Nature has been a huge part of making this enjoyable. I notice things a lot more now, I’m much more aware of my surroundings.”

“It’s a brilliant group, we’re still going to be friends in the future with more talking and walking!”

Healthy Walks are a great way to reduce isolation as they bring people together. Walking is also one of the best forms of exercise and is known to benefit both the mind and body. However, if walking doesn’t appeal to you but you’d like to connect with people and nature a different way, the Natural Health Service has many other activities that you can get involved with for free. For more information on this, check out our activities section here!

All quotations used are from “The Happy Wanderers”, Dec 2021.

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