Every Step Counts for Kent walkers
Every Step Counts for Kent walkers

A new FREE gentle, wellbeing walking group, “Every Step Counts” is getting people out and active across Kent.

The new group celebrated its 10th walk in Otford last week and has grand plans to bring the fantastic initiative to all parts of Kent.

Joined by Steve Wolfe of Kent Sports Trust, the group took its 30,000th step together on Otford’s recreation ground.

The new wellbeing walk which is completely free, aims to give anyone recovering from an illness or operation, trying to lose weight or just in need of company, an opportunity to get out in the fresh air once a week for a walk and a chat with friendly, qualified walk leaders.

It was the brainchild of Cllr Anna Firth and was launched at the end of September with the help of Peter Sissons, former BBC newsreader, three other volunteers, Irene Collins, Jo Kingston and Sue Whittaker, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the District and the support of Sevenoaks District Council and West Kent Mind.

The group has grown in number every week and now regularly draws 20 or more walkers from Borough Green to Bromley and is set to expand in the New Year with a new “Every Step Counts” walk starting in West Kingsdown at the West Kingsdown Pavilion on Wednesday, 24th January at 10.30 am.

All walkers having taken part in the 10th walk were presented with a certificate of achievement by the Chairman of the District, Cllr Larry Abrahams, together with a goodie bag containing a free pedometer, Every Step Counts key ring, fridge magnet, a custom wrist band and a homemade Every Step Counts cupcake!

Cllr Anna Firth puts the success of the new walking group down to the fact that it is totally unpressurised, fun and very simple.

Cllr Anna Firth said: “Every Step Counts is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity once a week to get out in the fresh air with friendly like-minded people supported by dedicated volunteers.”

“It is totally unpressurised. Nobody is forced to walk any further then they wish to and support is available every step of the way if needed.”

“Most importantly, we always end our walks with tea and more chat in the lovely Hospice for Hope Café in Otford who are wonderful and always give us a warm welcome.”

Steve Wolfe, Chief Executive of the Kent Sports Trust added: “I can’t congratulate the team from Every Step Counts enough for their magnificent initiative in getting communities active through walking.”

“Having experienced it for myself now, it’s great to see so many people of all ages and abilities, getting together for something that will undoubtedly improve their physical health, but also their mental health.”

“I’d love to see an Every Step Counts group in all parts of Kent and I’d urge anyone to get involved as the team at Kent Sports Trust certainly will be.”

Meanwhile, regular walker from Borough Green, Dr Margaret Garrett said: “Every Step Counts is a brilliant way to keep fit and make new friends. Each walk is carefully monitored so that we end up refreshed and happy.”

“Every Step Counts will improve your self-confidence and enable you to get fit without any pressure, make new friends and enjoy the rewards. Join us and you won’t look back!”

Last week’s celebration of achievement event was also supported by the Chairman of the District, Cllr Larry Abrahams, by the Vice Chairman of the District Cllr Pat Bosley and her husband, Cllr Ian Bosley, by the President of West Kent Mind, Pat Downing M.B.E, by the Chief Officer of Age Concern UK for Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, Gillian Shepherd Coates, by Walking for Health Delivery Manager, Leah Mynett and the Healthy Living Team at Sevenoaks District Council, all of whom were in attendance.