We feel lucky to live in a world where people are being more proactive when it comes to taking care of their mental health as well as looking after others, so when we came across a Greater Manchesterwalking group doing just that, we couldn’t help but spotlight them.
Set up by Bradley Robinson in the hope of helping people suffering from mental health and addiction issues, as well as those who simply struggle to socialise, the group has taken off and has gone on to become a real community in a relatively short space of time.
Working with volunteers at the local church, Macedonia URC, and setting up walks all around Failsworth, Oldham, Greater Manchester and nearby ramblers routes, the group isn’t just giving its members an enjoyable outlet through which they can spend time with others, it’s proving to be a real lifeline.
Going from strength to strength with each venture out — ranging from strolls around local parks to walks and hikes around Saddleworth‘s Dovestone Reservoir, Todmorden’s Gaddings Dam, days out in Blackpool and more — the group has evolved into something much more than just Brad’s baby: it’s now everyone’s, just as it was intended to be.
In fact, even whilst their inspirational founder was out of action with a broken ankle in recent weeks, their dedicated volunteers took it upon themselves to arrange various walks for nearly 700 Failsworth and Oldham Walking and Unity Group members and made sure to bring Brad along in his wheelchair too.
Since part of the goal from that beginning has been to give back, the group has now become a proper brand with clothing and merchandise funded through donations, as well as further spreading the word through leaflets and their social media pages. Better still, all the money raised goes straight back into the community.
People from all ages and backgrounds come together for what is not only just a highlight in their week but a regular bit of exercise they can rely on for both their mental and physical health. We can’t think of many better causes to get behind.
Reflecting on the huge impact the group has had on their life, one member said that after going through “the toughest few months” of their life, the walking group helped show them who their ‘real friends’ were.
“Failsworth and Oldham Walking and Unity Group has helped me so much I’ve met so many new friends/family and I couldn’t imagine my life without any of you. This group needs to be recognised more because the unity it is bringing is beautiful.
“It’s kept me happy and clean and the feeling I get after checking on the group each day and connecting with people who understand — nothing comes close”.
Genuinely, even in reading just some of the stories people have shared in this active and crucially open forum, we’ve been full of emotion and welled up on more than one occasion — especially watching Brad reflect on how far it’s come. Be it a problem with alcohol, depression, grief or otherwise, this group is playing a key role in people’s recovery and rebuilding confidence.
It always fills our hearts and brings us joy to see people banding together and helping one another during their most difficult times, and to provide such a worthwhile service in a group setting like this doesn’t just happen like that, it takes graft.
Bradley and every single person involved in the Failsworth and Oldham Walking and Unity Group should be immensely proud of what they’ve already built and we have every faith it will continue to get bigger and better in the years to come.
The group has also set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for more club trips, activities and outreach which you can donate to HERE.
With the ongoing cost of living crisis compounding obstacles for people all across the country, highlighting the importance of mental health is more crucial than ever, with the UK government also outlining new steps to prevent what remains one of Britain’s biggest problems.
Featured Image — Failsworth and Oldham Walking and Unity Group
Manchester United issue response after banning Manchester Evening News and select journalists from press conference
The Manchester Evening News (MEN) along with a number of sports journalists have reportedly been banned from attending a Manchester United press conference after publishing a story on an apparent rift at the club, claiming that manager Erik ten Hag has ‘lost the dressing room’.
Citing the reason behind the ban as being due to Chief Man United Writer and well-known sports reporter, Samuel Luckhurst’s recent story, which claimed that ten Hag is “losing the confidence” of his players, he and at least three other journalists won’t be in attendance after Sky Sports went so far as to suggest as much as “50%” of the dressing room.
It is thought that Sky‘s chief reporter Kaveh Solekhol, David McDonnell of The Mirror and ESPN‘s Rob Dawson are among the other individuals to have been barred from joining this afternoon’s presser as per instruction from United‘s Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs, Andrew Ward.
Issuing a statement to The Manc and journalists across the country, the club said: “We’re taking action against a number of news organisations today, not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise.
“We believe this is an important principle to defend and we hope it can lead to a re-set in the way we work together.” It is unclear how long the suspension is set to be upheld but it is likely they will only serve a one-match ban — pardon the pun.
The MEN reiterated that the initial story was “multiply-sourced”, adding that they had not been banned as a result of previous stories that were largely seen as critical of the Man United head coach and/or his squad, including prior claims players were starting to “doubt” his tactics and managerial style.
Furthermore, the outlet goes on to state that several other journalists have claimed they were prevented from asking questions in press conferences by Ward in the past “over perceived negative coverage”, adding that the club have expressed their “regret” over having to issue the ban. The move has been welcomed by many fans, with several saying it is reminiscent of Sir Alex Ferguson’s hardline approach to the media.
Man United have made one of their worst starts to a campaign in decades and, despite winning their first trophy in six years under the Dutchman with an EFL Cup win last season, have unfortunately been breaking all manner of unwanted records of late.
ten Hag’s team suffered another disappointing loss against Newcastle at the end of November and now face another tricky task as they prepare to face a Chelsea side who are starting to gather some semblance of form.
Countless Reds and neutrals alike will no doubt now be tuning in for his pre-match press conference at 1:30pm ahead of the mid-week Premier League fixture against the West Londoners on Wednesday night (8:15pm kick-off).
The former Ajax manager has made no secret of the troubles he faced when he first arrived at Old Trafford but is clearly keen to avoid others from airing any of their rumoured dirty laundry.
Featured Images — The Manc Group/Manchester United
Adult film star and LGBTQ+ icon Sophie Anderson dies aged 36
Adult film star and much-loved LGBTQ+ icon Sophie Anderson has sadly died aged just 36, as confirmed by colleague, influencer and friend Rebecca More.
The recognisable UK porn star and internet personality, best known for being one-half of the viral online duo ‘C*ck Destroyers’ alongside More, was announced dead on Tuesday, 5 December following reports from numerous media outlets before being confirmed by her former co-star.
Sharing the news on social media, Rebecca wrote: “I’m devastated hearing the awful news of Sophie’s passing. We shared some amazing times together and that’s how I’m going to remember her.
She signed off by adding, “This is so tragic but I know you are now at peace. I will always, always love you and hold a special place in my heart”.
Her heartfelt sentiment was echoed online as countless people on social media have paid tribute to the viral sensation who was an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and all things queer culture, as well as sex positivity in general.
As mentioned, it was only on 17 November that her ex-partner Spedding himself passed away, but the former footballer was also disturbingly found to be the one behind previous claims she had died that turned out to be a hoax earlier this year.
Regardless, the news unfortunately appears to be genuine this time and it’s clear from the reaction online how saddened so many people from all walks of life are to learn of her passing.