During the lockdown in early 2020, the voluntary and community sector in Calderdale saw a 73% decrease in the number of volunteers engaging. This resulted in less income generation, which had an impact on those who rely on the sector for essential support such as food, medicine deliveries, and social interaction.
As we moved out of the initial lockdown, Active Calderdale worked with Voluntary Action Calderdale to create an exciting opportunity to help support the sector to sustain itself during the pandemic and to get the voluntary and community sector moving. Introducing Move the Calderdale Way!
Voluntary and community organisations across Calderdale were given the opportunity to enter a team into the challenge. The goal was to move (i.e., walk, run, or cycle) the distance of the Calderdale Way (50 miles) in September 2020. In return, Active Calderdale pledged to invest £20 into each organisation for each participant that took part in the challenge. And wow, Calderdale did you show up!
In total, 80 organisations took part, with over 1900 individuals making up the teams! On average, 54.1% of participants increased their physical active levels to 5+ days a week (an increase from 37.2%) and those who were active for 0-1 days reduced from 12% to just 5.8% by the end of the challenge. Apart from increases in activity levels, a huge number of participants who told us about the positive benefits to their mental wellbeing, particularly life satisfaction and happiness. It also helped bring team members closer together, which was especially important after lockdown.
Here are some of our favourite Tweets from the challenge…
We even had members of one team who took on the whole Calderdale Way in one day!
We also had a great response from those who gave us their views on the challenge:
"Made me try new walking routes and got me to explore new parts of the area we live in. I set the goal of 50 miles of walking in the month and absolutely smashed it. As a full-time carer for my 93 year old mother the scheme helped me become more balanced and improved my patience and ability to cope. I also feel a lot fitter and healthier." – Challenge participant
The Challenge has ensured that I get out into the beautiful parks and surroundings again. It's so easy to feel like not bothering but having a group to go with and setting a target for each walk helps to motivate us all. We are a closer group now too as walking together gave us time to chat and I know that helped me. I look forward each week to meeting up with people I can call friends." - Challenge participant
"Being part of the Move the Calderdale Way team has given me a purpose to keep moving. Walking has numerous health benefits, it's free and it's been easy to do. Walking regularly throughout September meant that my stamina has improved, I can now walk for longer periods of time and even tackle hills with no fear. Walking in itself is something that I can do all on my own. I'm not using the car as much, so my once sedentary lifestyle is disappearing quickly. Walking is fun, it's natural, and at the end of the day, it makes you feel happy, as though you have achieved something in your life." - Challenge participant
Well done to all those who took part, we’re very proud of you all! Watch this space for more exciting opportunities from Active Calderdale!