image credit: Niamh

A grieving Monton widow says a Salford ‘walk and talk’ group has saved her from taking her own life.

Audrey Owen lost her husband, sister-in-law and younger brother in just 18 months and for a long time struggled to leave the house. At times she was suicidal.

But the wellbeing walks and the support from organisers have helped to restore her mental health.

She said: “My younger brother died last year, he committed suicide. He fought for this country so people could speak their mind and that’s what I’m doing today.”

She uses the time on the walks to talk about the family she lost which has helped her to recover.



image credit: Niamh mcdermott
Audrey and her pet dogs.

She joined ‘Walk and Talk’ a few weeks ago and says the people she’s met have given her a reason to get out of the house.

The walks are organised by Recreate U, a community interest group funded by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, which runs hour-long walks twice a week in different green spaces throughout Salford. It is free and everyone who joins the walks also has the option of six online one-to-one sessions with a qualified counsellor.

Group director Jennie Hughes set up the walks with her friend Claire after suffering herself from social anxiety, lack of self confidence and low mood in the winter.

She said: “Getting out and about in the fresh air, getting moving, and having a chat with people has definitely helped me feel a lot more calm and relaxed.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity to look after your health both mentally and physical and meet some lovely people.”

Jennie and Claire are both qualified primary school teachers who have worked in schools both in the UK and abroad. Jennie also has experience working as a volunteer and board member for youth exchanges.

The most important member of their team is their furry friend Betsy. She is their moral support dog who joins every walk to help people feel more comfortable and is a great ice-breaker for newcomers.

image credit: niamh mcdermott
Betsy in Monton

As a trained moral support dog, her role is to understand when humans are upset and she provides comfort to calm them down.

Selfie from ‘Walk and Talk’ group today in Monton.

To contact the team at Recreate-U click here.

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