Guideposts Community Succeeds in Global Challenge

This Monday the Guideposts community completed their Global Challenge, with 69 participants and a dog contributing steps, stomps, wheel rotations, and trots to a grand total of 21,989.5 miles, the equivalent of travelling all the way around the world. Started last March, the challenge has taken just under a year to complete, giving the community motivation to keep active and healthy while raising awareness and money for the charity.

The participants included individuals and groups; members of Guideposts services, staff and volunteers; local businesses, and others who wanted to join the community team with a shared goal. They took the activity in the way that suited them best, whether walking, running, cycling, in a wheelchair, by foot or by paw!

Involvement in the Global Challenge

Group walking with wheelchair

The members of Guideposts Learning and Activity Services (GLADS) in Witney have gone out on a walk almost every day over the year. The group of people with learning disabilities, mobility impairments and other conditions walked consistently, a mile or 2 each day, making activity an essential part of their lifestyle.

GLADS Team leader Dawn told us that walking has always been a key activity of GLADS, as many of the members don’t have the opportunity to go out regularly, as they need to be accompanied. The Global Challenge gave them extra motivation to keep up the regular walks and go that extra mile.

GLADS member Mary said “After a walk I feel chilled out, but I’m also awake and with more energy.”

Dawn told us about one member of the service: “She hadn’t been out at all over the lockdowns of 2020 and had put on significant weight and her energy levels were low. On coming back to GLADS we walked just a little every day and after all the months we’ve seen a great improvement in both her weight and energy. She even now takes 2 walks a day.”

New Guideposts members, Jane and her mother had been through a lot with health difficulties as well as the pandemic, and they joined Guideposts CONNECT friendship and support group in Gloucester last year. They decided to take part in the challenge and Jane pushed her mother in her wheelchair up and down their lane to add miles to the total, as well as running twice a week to keep herself well. Jane says she was inspired to fundraise for Guideposts because it “supports us and others in our community to feel cherished and cared for during this pandemic”.

Howard, support worker at Guideposts’ mental health support hub in Hertfordshire, has been walking regularly to contribute to the challenge.  He commented “It’s been an extraordinary team effort to circle the globe. I’m very pleased to have played my part with some cycling and walking miles. The challenge has been a good focus for me. I’ve certainly walked more regularly and further as a consequence of participating, often eschewing a bus ride in favour of a ‘just a few more steps’.

“It has been an activity shared with colleagues and very importantly with members of our hub. The challenge has been a valuable stepping stone particularly for Jenny. Speaking with her recently she tells of difficulties overcome, of weight-loss and now regular keep fit/gym activities with fellow group members.”

Local business Oxford Vapours joined in by organising a sponsored walk one day in the cold of November. Ten of the shop’s team (and Lottie the dog) completed a 7.5 mile walk, showing their support for Guideposts as well as reinforcing their message about improving health and wellbeing.

Bringing people together

Better Connected Members meeting on Guideposts Global Challenge

The challenge has even been bringing people together, despite being a virtual challenge. Julian and Dawn met through Guideposts’ online social platform Better Connected during 2020 and began to become friends. As they got to know each other better, Julian asked Dawn to join him on the Global Challenge and they started adding miles together. The shared mission has added to their developing friendship over the last year.

Julian contributed hugely to the challenge, walking to and from his work as well as during the day working at a garden centre. His enthusiasm and appreciation of Guideposts received great support from his colleagues and customers. On completing the challenge he said “We did it – we showed the world that people with a disability can do whatever they want!” 

Where did we visit (virtually)?

Along the route, the team virtually visited organisations that had an affinity with Guideposts’ work including the Iran Dementia and Alzheimers Association, the Amrita Foundation for Mental Health in Kathmandu, Nepal, the National Center for Learning Disabilities in Washington DC, USA, and European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education in Brussels, Belgium. Sharing information about them with the community  aimed to share the team’s achievements, and to show that we aren’t alone in our mission, or in our situation in the UK.

A Huge Success

Guideposts’ senior fundraiser Tania Kirby said “Bringing members, staff and supporters together as one big team working together to better health and fitness has been a huge success.  So many Guideposts members have told me that they have really benefited both mentally and physically from taking part, and the whole team are delighted to have raised over £5000 which will help with our continued work.”

Anyone who would like to support the challenge can still donate at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/guideposts-trust

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One Response to “Guideposts Community Succeeds in Global Challenge

  • Julian
    4 months ago

    Well done to us all for completing the challenge we are the best team in the whole wide world from Julian guidepost ambassador