Walking back to happiness: Nordic walkers are saved from axe

Sue Williams, front, is delighted that the Active Sunderland Nordic Walking Group which meets at Herrington Country Park on Saturday mornings will continue thanks to help from Sunderland City Council.
Sue Williams, front, is delighted that the Active Sunderland Nordic Walking Group which meets at Herrington Country Park on Saturday mornings will continue thanks to help from Sunderland City Council.
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A NORDIC walking group is going forward with a spring in its step.

The future of the Sunderland group had been uncertain after the funding it received was due to come to an end.

However, the council’s sport and physical activity team will continue to deliver the programme.

The group was run as part of the Active Sunderland Project, a three-year externally-funded initiative, which was due to end this year.

Sue Williams has been a member of the club since it started.

Sue, 52, from Washington, was initially worried to hear the Active Sunderland scheme was coming to an end and was concerned about how it would impact on her walking group.

She said: “We knew the funding was due to come to an end, but we were shocked to hear how soon.

“We had got wind of it and we were worried.”

However, Sunderland City Council has now stepped in to keep the group going, much to the relief of Sue.

Sue said: “It’s great fun and it’s really good exercise and it’s reasonably sustainable.

“You don’t have to be that fit when you start and you get great results. You walk and talk and it’s a great group of people.

“We are going to lose our walk leader so it’s not going to be quite the same.”

To keep the group going the council is training 12 people to be level two Nordic instructors.

Some of those will be existing sport and leisure staff, the remainder will be offered to members of the group who want to volunteer to get more involved in the activity.

Victoria French, assistant head of the authority’s Community Services, Sport, Leisure and Community Development, said: “We are committed to the ongoing delivery of all activities and initiatives which are successful and enjoyed by residents of the city.

“We do regard Nordic walking as a successful initiative, and have no plans to cease delivery.”

The group meets at Herrington Country Park on Saturdays for its walks, which uses specially-designed walking poles to work the upper-body muscles as well.

Twitter: @sunechohannah