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Wellness Walk in Dovedale for Changing Lives staff

Published on: June 24, 2024

Compass Changing Lives staff went for their first Wellness Walk over the hills of Derbyshire earlier this month.

Friends and family were invited to join Changing Lives colleagues for a ramble in the pristine countryside near Ashbourne. Their route started near Dovedale and followed the River Dove past stunning Peak District landmarks like the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones, the dramatic Thorpe Cloud, and the historic Reynards’ Cave, before finishing at Polly’s Cottage in Milldale for an ice cream.

The location will be familiar to Changing Lives colleagues, as their Team Away Day this year was just up the road at Ilam Manor.

Inspired by the dramatic landscapes of the Peak District National Park that make up so much of Derbyshire, the home of Changing Lives, the Wellbeing Walk was conceived as a way to boost staff wellbeing through movement and connection to nature, while also bringing the team closer together.

This was one of a series of initiatives Changing Lives has launched to support staff wellbeing. Earlier this year saw the launch of the Wellbeing Focus Group, tasked with identifying the issues of wellbeing that were important to staff and working on developing solutions.

The walk followed May’s #maywemovetogether campaign, and Mental Health Week’s “Moving More For Our Mental Health” theme, which both highlighted the benefits of movement for mental health and wellbeing.

Sophie Davies and Martin Spencer, EMHP and tEMHP respectively, organised the walk together. Sophie handled the logistics and communications, while Martin was the lead guide and kept the group on track.
Sophie had this to say about the experience:

“Thank you everyone who joined us on our first Wellness Walk. It was such a lovely day with everyone…great company & great weather! The kids and adults really enjoyed listening to ‘tour guide Martin’ sharing his knowledge on caves and all things nature. A tip for anyone taking a visit themselves….only get 1 scoop of ice-cream as the scoops are as big as your head. Keep your eyes peeled for the next Compass Adventure Activity!”

Martin shared his thoughts as well:

“The comedian, Vic Reeves, when on a country walk said, “they should do a GCSE in looking at things” and it was great to be outside, doing just that with a great bunch of people. Well, not exactly, we didn’t do an exam at the end!

There are loads of interesting things to look at in Dovedale, which helps start those great conversations you have on a walk with new and old friends. Thank you to Sophie for brilliantly organising this trip. I hope that we will soon be able to explore more of the special places in the Peak District that are on our doorsteps. Keep an eye out for details of the next trip.”

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