Retired bank officer Denise McKenzie loves getting out into the fresh air and walking.
Her enjoyment of staying healthy and active coupled with a desire to help others led Mrs McKenzie to start as a Walk’n’Talk volunteer 11 years ago.
She’s been based in Fendalton for the past nine years where every Wednesday and Thursday at 10am she heads off from the library with a group of walkers to explore the neighbourhood, chat and share news and views.
“I get so much pleasure out of helping other people, seeing them enjoying walking and talking amongst each other and pointing out sites of interest in the community,” says the 73-year-old.
“Every week is interesting - and you never know what could occur!”
The walks take about 40 minutes, “until we get to a café for a hot drink." All up she gives around three hours a week to the programme.
Mrs McKenzie’s duties include ensuring that other walkers are kept safe from trip hazards, helping to cross roads safely and “generally watching out for everyone” so they can relax and enjoy themselves.
“If you enjoy helping people and want to be involved in the community,” being a Walk’n’Talk guide is very rewarding, she says.
Vivien Price is also a volunteer guide. She started as a walker about 20 years ago to meet people after her children started high school.
“I helped out a little bit when one of the volunteers was away and then they left so I just stepped in. They are a very friendly group of people, always welcoming to any new walkers. We have a wonderful leader Nicky who organises the route and makes sure everyone has a great walk and we as volunteers assist her in any way we can, making sure everyone is okay and has someone to walk and talk with."
She says volunteering with Walk’n’Talk is a great way to meet people.
"You make new friends and get to know more about the area. It’s surprising how things change over the seasons and with new developments going on all the time."
20 to 26 June is National Volunteer Week. Find out how you can make a difference in your community by volunteering.