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NEWS: Erdington Walking Group raises hundreds for Diabetes UK at Birmingham Wellness Walk

Words by Liam Smith / Pics by Erdington Walking Group

A local walking group has raised over £350 for Diabetes UK, after taking part in the 10k Birmingham Wellness Walk last month.

Erdington Walking Group (EWG), formed in 2019, gathered in vibrant Diabetes UK t-shirts and painted faces, after taking inspiration from their Diabetes community program run from the Erdington Seventh Day Adventist Church on Wood End Lane. Led by Selina Gooden, the EWG surpassed their fundraising goal and helped support vital research and care services provided by Diabetes UK.

According to the charity, over 4.3 million people in the UK live with diabetes, with almost 14 thousand diabetes related deaths reported in 2019 alone.

Diabetes UK research further states the number of people registering with diabetes from 2020-21 rose by 148,951 from the previous year, with ‘more than 2.4 million people are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the UK’ –  with the condition leading to ‘184 amputations, more than 770 strokes, 590 heart attacks and 2,300 cases of heart failure’ every week.

EWG Leader Selina Gooden told Erdington Local: “I’m thankful to all who helped me to achieve my personal fundraising goal of £100, and due to the funds raised by the other EWG team members we were able to surpass our £100 goal by collectively raising £355 for Diabetes UK.”

Among the cheering crowd, Diabetes UK marshals offered support and encouragement along the route – with live music also adding to the festive yet fundraising atmosphere.

EWG member Hermy Skew said: “I walk daily and have been doing so for years. It helps me process my thoughts and enables my emotions to settle safely. It has kept me physically fit and psychologically resilient.

“My father passed away recently. He had diabetes and all the complications that come with chronic illnesses. A lot of my family and extended family suffer with the condition and its complications.

“Participating in the Birmingham Wellness Walk was an ideal opportunity to support research, indulge in my favourite hobby, and remember my father.

“It was an enjoyable experience, and I was touched by the support of my sponsors and well-wishers who helped me raise £115.” 

Diabetes UK Fundraising Events Manager, Rachel Coombs, added: “My heartfelt thanks to each and every person who walked, supported and fundraised. So far, the event has raised £92,000 for vital funds for the charity.”

For more on EWG visit www.facebook.com/erdingtonwalking or call Selina on 07990 109 117

NEWS: Local GP surgery prescribes Erdington Walking Group for healthier mind and body

Words by Jobe Baker-Sullivan / Images supplied by Erdington Walking Group

A Stockland Green GP surgery is prescribing the Erdington Walking Group (EWG) to help improve local resident’s mental and physical health.

Healthcare officials at Tudor Practice, Reservoir Road, Stockland Green, have recognised the EWG as a vital resource for people who are feeling “isolated, lonely or inactive”, especially following the Covid pandemic and lockdowns

“I found out about EWG through Facebook and the ‘Next Door’ app,” explained Alex, a healthcare support worker at Tudor Practice. “I also had a patient who was part of the group mention it to me.

“Before Covid we used to have a different walking group that we would refer patients to which was beneficial, but due to Covid that stopped. Covid caused a lot of patients to feel isolated, lonely, and inactive. Coming out of lockdown, it was hard for them to get back into a routine they may have once had.

“I thought signposting them to Selina (EWG founder) would be a good idea. Not only does the walking group combat loneliness and isolation, the exercise is beneficial for health reasons.

“A lot more patients were getting diagnosed with pre-diabetes/diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity etc.”

EWG host free meet ups, which are ‘open to all age groups, abilities and doggies on leads’. The group meets every Monday and fortnightly on Thursday between 6:30pm and 7:30pm.

Due to “growing demand” the EWG have added another weekly group, meeting every Tuesday between 1pm and 2pm – said EWG founder Selina Gooden.

Harold MacDonald has been a regular walker with EWG for over two years. He told: “It was the perfect incentive to get off the settee and mentally de-stress while getting some fresh air and gentle exercise.

“There’s always a nice mix of people of all ages, ethnicity, and both sexes – even the odd dog walker and pram pusher too. People can walk as fast or slow as they like. I would recommend it to everybody.”

EWG founder Selina Gooden is planning more events as the weather improves. “The group is open to all ages; we’ve had people from the age of five to 84 walk with us.

“With the summer coming up I’ll be putting on a treasure hunt – there will be gifts, animal toys, and edible treats along the route for people to find along the walk,” added Selina.

For more information on Erdington Walking Group contact erdingtonwalkinggroup@hotmail.com – or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/erdingtonwalking