Willow Learning for Life, Rambling for adults with learning disabilities
In 2020, Willow Learning for Life was awarded £10,000 over three years. The project runs rambling sessions for adults in Croydon with learning disabilities and additional physical and mental health needs to help them live more independently following the impact of COVID-19. The walks enabled a vulnerable group of participants to safely take part in a range of socially distanced walks, suitable for their additional needs and to places they wanted to go.
Croydon contains many wonderful places to explore and this project enables participants to feel comfortable exploring them, building their understanding of nature and the local area, growing their confidence to get out again and improving their fitness. Crucially the group develops the social relationships.
Weekly walks take place in green spaces in Croydon and there are two groups to accommodate different walking abilities. 40 walks were held this year and the project was able to support 33 participants, exceeding their target. A key achievement was the participants forming their own support networks and building the confidence and skills to organise and attend activities themselves outside of the project.
“My mental health is really low and I struggle a lot. I've met friends on the walking group that I know will look out for me. They listen to me and I know they will have my back if I need them.” Participant