In December, we launched our Big Winter Walk to encourage people to safely enjoy exercising in the great outdoors while fundraising for us at the same time. The pandemic has had a huge impact on our fundraising activities but The Big Winter Walk offers a way for people to support us safely as we now move into another lockdown.

One person who has embraced The Big Winter Walk is Andrew. We spoke to him about his Big Winter Walk experience so far and what inspired him to take part:

How did you hear about The Benjamin Foundation’s Big Winter Walk? “I heard about The Benjamin Foundation from a dear friend at work whose daughter supports the Foundation, I had just completed an autumn step challenge as part of a team and she thought I might like to continue with my walking and support The Benjamin Foundation; she knows me well so I embraced the challenge.”

Why did you want to take part? “I discovered that through walking I am feeling healthier both physically and mentally but to give myself the incentive to walk I needed a target to aim for, hence the challenge. As I said before I had already taken part in a work based “get out from behind the desk scheme” and that was a great success of which we raised money for two other local charities, therefore I used the winter walk as an incentive to carry on walking and also to raise some money to help others.”

Are you using FitBit, Strava or RunKeeper to track your progress?  “I use Runkeeper as a measure and I also have a my fit watch, which acts as a backup, as sometimes I loose the signal. I work night shift so can walk in the mornings or afternoons, I try to achieve between 4 and 8 miles a day on 5 days of the week. The winter walk challenge leader board is a good incentive, I believe I am on the top of that at the moment.”

How many miles/steps have you completed so far?  “On this challenge so far I have walked since December 1st 179 miles. I prefer to count the miles rather than steps as it is directly linked to run-keeper and specific to walks helping me to challenge myself.”

How much money have you raised and how do you feel knowing that this is helping local vulnerable young people? “I have raised £240.00 since December 1st, this is the hard bit. I know if I can help just one person in need then I have achieved something worthwhile.”

Where are you walking and how often? “I am fortunate to live in a village in Norfolk. I walk cross country around my local area, through woods and field tracks and along the river Nar. I try to speed walk 5 days a week, for between 1 and 3 hours a day, dependent on my shift pattern. When restrictions are lifted I like to walk on the beach and discover new places, it is amazing what is outside.”

What would you say to others who might be thinking about taking part in the Big Winter Walk?  “Through walking, I have lost one stone in weight and my health is greatly improved. The time I am walking is a distraction from work and other issues and it frees the mind and helps me achieve more. I am more focused and feel calmer and happy. I have discovered places and sights that have always been there but I had not seen before, raising the funds for the foundation ensures that I embrace the challenge as people have donated in faith that I will do what I say I will. As it is a winter challenge it is a bit harder but walking through mud and rain and the cold just makes you more determined.”

A huge thank you to Andrew and everyone taking part in our Big Winter Walk.

If Andrew has inspired you to take part in The Big Winter Walk this lockdown, please register here and let your steps help a local, vulnerable young person to take their next steps to independence: 

People are very generous in what they donate and the quality is amazing.

Norwich Furniture Store staff member

The challenge of a summertime! Sign up for Sit Up 67 here