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Jacob* – aged 61 – from in Stoke-on-Trent, suffered a serious back injury after an industrial accident at work and was experiencing many health problems as a result.

Over time his physical injury effected his mental health and at times he experienced some ‘dark moments’. His condition also meant he lost some social connections as he was no longer working, and at times felt isolated.

Jacob started attending the mid-week Walking Connects walks at Hanley Park and some walks to Central Forest Park, back to the Dudson Museum.

man walks along the road holding living streets bag and umbrella

"Walking in a group gives me something to look forward to. My mental health has really improved since joining the walks each week. I look forward to leading walks now I have received the Walk Leader training." - Jacob

After attending the walks regularly, he decided to step forward to be trained as a Walk Leader and has since started leading his own walks in the Stoke area.

Jacob has reported an increase in social connections and an overall improvement in his physical and mental health. He feels more positive, hopeful and looks forward to leading walks to do the same for others.

He hopes this project continues to help other people in the area in the same way it has helped him.

At the time of writing, Jacob had attended 14 walks and met between 15-25 new people each week, some of whom have become good friends. He has expressed an improvement in his social connectedness, a profound improvement in his mental health and feels physically better.

*Jacob’s name has been changed as he wished to remain anonymous