Walking back to work
When Islington resident Lawrence Curtis was made redundant he experienced first-hand the difficulties of getting back in the job market. With a lack of routine and dwindling motivation, he admits it was hard to stay focused.
Now Lawrence is using his time to develop a healthy living programme – including weekly walks – which he hopes will help recently unemployed people with their search for a new job.
Once a week, in partnership with Highbury Grange Medical Practice, Lawrence holds an hour long walk around Clissold Park. Open to everyone, the walk has been going for eight weeks and has about six regulars as well as a member of the medical practice staff.
Jaimie Mounsmie, reception manager, said: “We really love the walk. We’ve a few regulars that come every Thursday. We think it’s a good thing for the community and for people’s physical and emotional health. Not only are people getting active but they are also socialising and meeting others.”
Eventually Lawrence wants to hold five walks across Islington; Clissold Park, Highbury Fields, Finsbury Park, Whittington Park and Kings Cross. And he is now doing a walk in Highbury Fields in partnership with Highbury Walkers.
“I’m trying to work with people out of work to get them up and out of the house. When you’re up and about you’re going to stay up and about,” says Lawrence. “I’m trying to encourage people and stop them sinking into bad habits.”
He is also currently in talks with Public Health England and the Department for Work and Pensions to secure funding for his wider project he is developing, called Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods.
This is a nine week programme for people recently out of work where they get information on health, fitness and nutrition, motivation and self-confidence, access to a personal trainer and group visits to the gym.
Lawrence explains: “We want people to have a growth mind-set not a fixed mind-set and that can be difficult when you are out of work. It is easy to slip into bad habits and you can quickly lose confidence.
“It’s all fair and well giving someone CV and interview techniques but if they haven’t the confidence in themselves they won’t get the job.
“My programme will help teach people it’s about making the right choices. Bad things happen but it’s how you react to it.”
Clissold Park Walk
When: Every Thursday, 11am
Where: Meet outside Highbury Grange Medical Practice
Find out more about the health benefits of walking and other Islington walking groups at One You Islington