Do you want to know how a stroll through Ironbridge can turn into a hike up Snowdon? Read on to find out more about how Peoples Services in Telford & Wrekin Council have been keeping active together and the benefits they have noticed.
When a friend and colleague left the Council, Peoples Services employees Sue, Cath and Andy wanted to keep in touch so they suggested meeting up for a walk every now and then. Little did they know, their walks would eventually turn into a trek up Snowdon – with a number of their colleagues with them!
Peoples Services are a varied bunch of people of different ages and fitness levels, and none of them felt that they had the time in their busy working days to be more active. As a team, they wanted to try doing something ‘a bit different’ and thought a few group walks might be a good way to get some exercise and get to know their colleagues better along the way. What followed was a lovely afternoon spent walking in Ironbridge- people brought their partners, children and dogs and found that they didn’t spend much of their time talking about work! Being able to bring their families made it easier to fit walking into their weekend, they explained.
When another member of the team jokingly suggested that they try Snowdon next, they laughed. But after a few days to mull it over, the team decided to give it a go! “It is a bit of a leap, to go from Ironbridge to Snowdon” joked Sue “we were going to try the Wrekin in between but the day we were going to it was really rainy, so we’re just going to go for it”.
Everyone’s motivations for taking part in the walks have been different – some wanted to improve their fitness, others just wanted to see their friends outside of work or get to know their colleagues better. Since preparing for Snowdon, some colleagues plan walks on their lunch breaks. Sue showed me her pedometer and explains that she is counting her steps and aiming for 10 000 every day, and getting others in the office interested too. Rebecca has had a recent walking one-to-one, and Andy tells me he has even held an appraisal at the top of the Wrekin!
Andy explained that the benefits of walking together have been so much more than just the exercise. The team have the opportunity to get to know each other better and to mix with members of the team that they might not otherwise get to work with that often. The benefits of becoming closer as friends as well as colleagues have transferred to the office too- they are more likely now, the three explain, to bring people into projects that they wouldn’t have known could help before. If they need to use someone else’s skills in the workplace, they now know who that person is and will get up and speak to them in the office instead of sending an email. Overall, they feel that they support each other better as a team since starting to walk together outside of work.
The team plan to continue their walks while making sure that they are suitable for all fitness levels, so that everyone in their team and elsewhere within the Council can be involved if they want to. All agree that with their regular walking, shared goal of climbing Snowdon and getting to know each other better, morale in the office has never been better.
Andy was kind enough to let us know later how they got on…
“Our team hike up Snowdon proved to be more of a challenge than any of us anticipated! Having met up in Oswestry at 7.30 am, despite a relatively positive weather report, the reality when we arrived at the start of the Ranger Path up Snowdon at Llyn Cwellyn was rather different. We arrived to steady drizzle which was to set the pattern for the walk!
As we climbed higher, we climbed through the cloud base and visibility dropped to approximately 30 metres and the winds gusted to 65mph.In fact the winds were so bad, that the train wasn’t running and the cafe at the summit was closed, much to our disappointment.
Despite the conditions, we hung together as a group and encouraged each other to keep going, and it was with some relief that we finally made the summit, although sadly the wind and cloud meant that we didn’t hang around long. We took the decision to come down the Llanberis Path which we felt was the safer route down, given the high winds. Even so, a number of the party were blown over in the gusts, but only sustained a bit of bruising and thankfully everyone got down safely.
We all agreed it was certainly an experience, and it gave everyone a huge sense of achievement, even if we weren’t able to take advantage of the tremendous views that we could have seen if the weather had been better……..perhaps next time!!”
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