Our Manchester Pennine & Potteries Waterway team have been given the go ahead to work together with Sport England to help understand and reduce the number of inactive people over the age of 55 living in Cheshire.
As our news story explains, we’ve been given funding to use our extensive waterway network to find new ways to encourage older people to get active on and alongside water.
This fantastic opportunity will allow us to explore and understand how key points in life may alter people’s attitude and access to physical activity. Combined with the inimitable opportunities our canals bring, we’ll apply the knowledge gained throughout this project to shape the physical environment, such as towpaths and access to the water. And importantly, create outdoor activities linked to existing skills and interests for people aged 55+ across Cheshire.
The project is in partnership with Active Cheshire, who said: ‘Active Cheshire is delighted to be involved in this innovative project as a research partner. This project will help us to better understand the target audience and how we can make the most of existing blue infrastructure to encourage and embed regular physical activity amongst our ageing population.’
The funding means we can train 12 Active Waterway Volunteers, creating support networks across six key areas along our waterways. Activities will appeal to anyone aged 55+, with a specific focus on existing canal users such as boaters, anglers, community groups in the area and our own volunteers.
The Manchester Potteries & Pennine team spoke to three of our local volunteers about the scheme:
"I’m John Sedley, I’m a volunteer at Red Bull, in 2014 my life shattered with the death of my wife…I heard on the local radio that they needed volunteers on the canal and river trust so I volunteered and that’s when I started my life on the canals…I came down as a greeter originally and I was asked to be a lock keeper. Now I’m a lock keeper, greeter and I go out an assist on the reservoirs.”
John Parry, greeter on the Trent & Mersey Canal: "It’s my third year of volunteering and I just love the outdoor life. I find now that I am a qualified lock keeper it’s fantastic…you can come any day of the week…it’s good exercise, you get plenty of fresh air, you walk, you talk, it’s a really fantastic opportunity I think.”
Janice Gledhill, based at Red Bull: “This volunteer position came just at the right time. About five years ago I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and I had to give up my regular employment. For me [the activity] is everything, it’s fulfilling, it’s empowering, it’s great for the mind, you meet people, you have a really good time. I would recommend it to anybody who’s looking to get out when they’re having life changes because it really has been for me just an amazing adventure.”
If you're just looking for a little fresh air, Cheshire already has several routes and places to visit for a Sunday afternoon stroll or simply somewhere to walk your dog:
Last date edited: 15 January 2018