Walk and Talk started during the height of Covid-19 as a response to members who were isolated and wanted to meet in person but weren’t ready to meet inside. This service was initially piloted exclusively with our befriending members and is now open to all members. You can sign up as a member here
What is Walk and Talk?
Walk and Talk is a weekly service set up around Bristol. This offers an opportunity for people to meet in a group, take a leisurely stroll around a local park and connect with others.
We hold two 1 hour circular walks every Wednesday from 10am – 11am and 11.30am – 12.30pm around Bristol with the exception of the Christmas Holidays. Walks are accessible to all mobility levels and there are staff and volunteers available to walk at different paces. Locations are chosen where we know there are open public facilities, nearby parking and that are accessible by public transport such as St George Park, Brandon Hill Park, Snuff Mills and Windmill Hill City Farm.
We are also adding Friday morning walks in parks across parts of South Gloucestershire, running throughout Autumn and Winter with the exception of the Christmas Holidays. These parks will be on rotation and include Kingswood Park, Grimsbury Farm and Warmley Forest.
Once you sign up to Walk and Talk, details of the location, date and time of walks will be emailed in advance. If you are not able to access emails, please let us know and we would be able to arrange a weekly telephone call with an update.
Everything spoken about during your walk is non-judgemental and confidential, unless there are significant concerns about your safety (or someone else’s) – click here for exceptions to this rule
Benefits of joining Walk and Talk
Joining our walking service can be beneficial in many ways:
- Our walks offer a weekly routine which can be really helpful to people especially in times of unpredictability, uncertainty and stress
- Many members attend the walks on a weekly basis, allowing you to build a new community
- Spending time outside can give a sense of feeling grounded, present and in the moment
- With activity buzzing around you, there’s lots of talking points and this may help to take your mind off of any negative thoughts, worries or anxieties
- Regular walking has huge physical health benefits, such as improved respiratory as well as better management of joint and muscular pain / stiffness
- Our walks are held in various parks across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. This offers the opportunity for members to discover new places as well as spending time in more familiar locations
What can I talk about?
You can talk about whatever is on your mind. There are no rules and no problem is too big or small for them to listen to.
It is an informal service though. Our volunteers are volunteers, they are not trained counsellors, so while many of them will have lived experience of their own mental health struggles, they are not “mental health professionals”. They are peers, and although they may be able to tell you what things have helped them in the past, but they’re not a crisis service. If you are in crisis, this page may help you find more immediate and specialised support.
What if I run out of things to say?
That’s absolutely fine! We have staff and volunteers who will walk with you and help to facilitate the conversations. You also don’t need to speak at all during the walk if you don’t want to.
Coming for the first time?
When coming for the first time we understand that people are nervous, this is perfectly normal. We want you to feel as safe and as comfortable as possible so that you can get the most out of our walking service. The following list applies to all our Walk and Talk groups:
No referral or formal diagnosis required
Adults only – you need to be over 18 to attend
Advance booking needed – details of the walk location and meeting point will be emailed in advance
Free to attend you don’t need to pay anything
We’re sorry but currently we can’t allow dogs on the walks
You can attend as many walks as you wish. Some members choose to join us on both sets of walks in one day
Walk and Talk Guidelines
Our walks will go ahead whatever the weather so dress appropriately!
Things to be mindful of when joining our walks:
- Consider inclusive, non-discriminatory language when talking to staff and other members
- Be considerate when smoking around others
- Give space to others and distance if they request it
- Please do not take photographs of participants or members of the public
- Refrain from attending walks under the influence of alcohol and other substances
- Please keep information shared within the group confidential
- Be patient with others
How do I become a Walk and Talk volunteer?
If you’d like to be a befriender to someone else, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and Alessandra or another member of the team will get back to you about upcoming training.
Barton Hill Settlement
41-43 Ducie Road