Walking helped Gill find the confidence to make new friends after her husband died.
“When my husband died two years ago I felt isolated and, at times, really lonely. Most of our friends live out of town so I needed to create a whole new circle of friends, and be brave enough to do this on my own.
“A member of my book club mentioned the Amesbury Walking for Health scheme and said they were a lovely, friendly group so I decided to go along in March 2016.
“Now I walk every week. I’ve met a lot of people, some of whom have become real friends. I’ve met people from all walks of life and I get to hear different points of view, which is sometimes challenging, often interesting and usually fun.
“With so many different people in the group, there’s a sort of mutual support where people have shared experiences. I’m especially friendly with an 85 year old lady whose husband died around the same time as mine. We talk about how we felt at the time and how we feel now, which has helped us both.
“Because everyone is local, I often bump into them when I’m out and about, and it’s nice just to stop and chat. That kind of social interaction is great for alleviating loneliness.
“Becoming part of the group has increased my confidence in meeting and talking to strangers, and as a result I’ve signed up to become a walk leader.
“I’ve seen parts of Amesbury and Salisbury that I’d never seen before. I’ve learnt bits of history, heard about other places to visit and even explored some of these areas with my new friends. The fresh air and exercise has undoubtedly improved my fitness.
“I especially like the drop-in structure of Walking for Health. I can turn up if I like, but there’s no obligation. It’s interesting because it’s more or less a random group of people, but everyone gets on well and most people come along for an hour or so afterwards for coffee.
“The biggest thing I’ve gained from walking is the confidence to do more things on my own, and not be fearful of meeting new people.
"It’s made a huge difference to my life – I no longer feel lonely.”
Find your local group walk here.