This post has been written by Right Here volunteer Emily about her experience during our Walk and Talk counselling activity (for ages 18-25).

Two weeks ago I volunteered on the Right Here Walk and Talk activity in Stanmer Park. It’s a free walking activity with a therapy dog designed for a small group of young people who experience social anxiety and isolation, or feel challenged by being in groups or meeting new people.

I’ve suffered from anxiety, including social anxiety, for a long time. The thought of large groups, or meeting new people, terrifies me – often I worry so much about what I am going to say and how I am going to act that I end up avoiding social situations altogether, or become quiet and withdrawn if I do attend.  But on the other hand, I absolutely love people, and experience loneliness and boredom if I spend too much time by myself. So I’m always looking for ways I can meet and spend time with people in a supportive and understanding environment, and ways that I can help provide that support to others who have similar experiences. That’s why, when I heard about the Walk and Talk activity, I was so excited and eager to join.

On the day of the walk, I was nervous to begin with about meeting new people, but after the introductions and playing some games, I felt much more at ease and started to really enjoy myself. It was lovely to meet and get to know other young people, and we had some interesting conversations – from wood-carving, to cycling, TV shows, and makeup!

It was really great to have Geoffrey the pug with us, as it meant we could always talk about him and interact with him, and I felt that put less pressure on us. It was also nice to be outside and active; often in social gatherings that are indoors and where everyone is sat down, I can feel enclosed in that space, and almost trapped – but walking in the lovely surroundings of Stanmer Park felt a lot more freeing. We got to explore parts of Stanmer Park, like the Earthship, that I never even knew existed, despite having living close-by for 4 years!

Overall, I had a lovely time meeting new people and felt the activity helped boost my confidence. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxed and supportive environment where you can meet new people. The activity also includes 1-to-1 meetings with a counsellor before and after the walk to discuss any concerns and reflect on personal experiences.

The next Walk and Talk activities are on the ………. , if you’d like to book a place or ask any questions, please text or email your name, date of birth and contact number to 07850500420 or email rh.activities@ymcadlg.org.

You can find more information about Walk and Talk, and Right Here’s other free activities for young people, here

Jasmine Hetherington-Wilkes

Jasmine Hetherington-Wilkes has blogged 50 posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *