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Men’s walk and talk group first to feature on new GOGA podcast 

On Time to Talk day, the nation’s biggest conversation about mental health, Norman Shaw and Simon Booth share the benefits of a men’s walk and talk group that they lead. 

Volunteers Norman and Simon stood posing for a picture during a mens walk and talk session.

Two activity leaders in Nottinghamshire have described how a walk and talk group is invaluable in helping to support men’s mental health. Norman Shaw and Simon Booth both lead walking groups in Bassetlaw that encourages men to join a group and share conversations as they do. 

Now part of the national charity MenWalkTalk the sessions were initially supported by Bassetlaw Action Centre thanks to Get Out Get Active funding. 

Speaking on a new podcast series, Active Together, both share how leading regular walks have provided a crucial service to support men’s mental health across their area.  

Watch a short clip below:

Listen to the Active Together podcasts wherever you get your podcasts, (Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify etc.) Or find it on YouTube here.

Norman, who talks candidly about how the group has supported his mental health, speaks alongside Simon to podcast host Sam Bell. 

In the 30-minute episode he shares how varied each walk can be:

"It’s about a group of men being able to find a place to go out, be active together and if they want, to speak to each other about how they are feeling within themselves." 

Simon, who moved to the area from Surrey, had worked at a university, mentoring students and staff. After retiring he has found himself with more time to give something back.  

He explains:

"I would run the group if it was one person or ten, because that one person may need your assistance that day. And if I can save one person’s life, it is so rewarding. Knowing that they go away and feel better."

Norman led his first walk back in 2020. The project got off the ground after a Get Out Get Active (GOGA) local officer approached him with the idea of a local walking group. GOGA funding was then given to Bassetlaw Action Centre to help with initial costs and support. Since then, the group has become part of a larger network as part of the charity MenWalkTalk. 

Both Norman and Simon acknowledge that it can be daunting to join a session for the first time, but stress anyone is welcome, and will be met by a friendly face and someone willing and able to listen. 

Norman says the key is taking the first step: 

"Make that step, it’s a hard step I know that from my own problems. I’ve been a lot more open with colleagues and friends than I ever was [since joining]. It is a big step, but try and take that it, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can come with a friend of family member, then when comfortable come alone if you would like."

Simon adds:

"What we’re trying to do is be active, not individually but together. That means both people that can help and people that need help. Because collectively when we do come together means we all help each other."

A brand-new podcast series, Active Together, will showcase some of those who have been at the heart of GOGA. New episodes will be released every two weeks and include moving conversations with participants, leaders and coaches.  

About Get Out Get Active 

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Activity Alliance is the creator and lead partner. The programme is funded by Spirit of 2012, Sport England and London Marathon Foundation.  

Find out more about Get Out Get Active here