New innovative ‘social walking’ project planned in York to be led by local students

Olympian Homes is supporting a local charity which helps to create healthy communities through physical activity.

The partnership will enable York-based Move the Masses to develop a new innovative programme which will help people from across different generations and ages to take part in regular group walks led by local students, boosting both the mental and physical health of isolated and vulnerable people.

The aim of the project is to work with a student intern to develop a new ‘Walk Leader’ training programme and recruit ten new walk leaders to lead a regular series of group walks across the City.  The target is to recruit volunteers from younger age groups to improve intergenerational relationships, and to create a legacy project which will continue to provide group walks across the whole city, ensuring as many people as possible can access a group walk that is local to them.

Funding has been provided by the property company for the charity to recruit an intern from the University of York, who will create the materials and develop the programme, along with recruiting other students as volunteers.

Egg Cameron, CEO of Move the Masses commented: “The support of Olympian Homes is really appreciated and will allow us to deliver this programme and encourage as many people as possible to take part.  The mental and physical benefits of regular social walking are enormous and the initiative will also foster better relations between different generations.  We want to tap into the enthusiasm of students to make this a big success”.

George Downes from Olympian Homes commented: “Since we started to develop our plans for the former Mecca site, we have been keen to get involved with the local community and supporting this programme is a great way to enable this really positive project that will have major health and social benefits to many people in York”.

A planning application has been submitted by Olympian Homes to transform the former Mecca Bingo Hall, which shut down earlier this year, into a new, high-quality student community which includes a variety of rooms, social space and landscaped grounds.

Move the Masses was founded in 2018 and has been helping people in York to improve their wellbeing through movement for over three years.  Their walking buddy project, ‘Move Mates’ has provided one-to-one walking support for over 190 people.

The partnership has been facilitated by local social enterprise Social Vision.