The 62,000 Carer Challenge

The 62,000 Carer Challenge

Posted: Thu, 15 Oct 2020 19:44

The 62,000 Carer Challenge

My name's Matt Carter and I am a Project Coordinator at Action for Carers Oxfordshire. We provide free practical advice and information to family carers in Oxfordshire. As many in our team are carers ourselves, we know it can get tough at times and 2020 has been an incredibly challenging time for families and carers across the UK. Throughout the pandemic, our team have been working hard to ensure family carers in Oxfordshire are able to access information and advice and can speak to a member of the team who understands the issues that they are facing.

If you had asked me on January 1st what I had planned for 2020, spending most of the spring and summer indoors would not have been on my list. Like millions of others, I found myself spending much of the day on the sofa working from home. As someone who uses physical exercise to boost both my physical and mental health this prolonged period of inactivity really worried me.

In early June, a conversation about physical exercise in a team meeting swiftly developed into a full-blown walking challenge. Our idea was simple: as a team we would walk a minimum of 62,000 steps a week from 15th June until Carers Rights Day on 26th November 2020, to raise awareness for the 62,000 unpaid carers in Oxfordshire. The challenge provided the team with an opportunity to take some time off during their working day to boost their own mental and physical health.

In the first few weeks of the challenge our team enjoyed the first real warm weather of the summer and started exploring their local surroundings. As restrictions began to ease the team started racking up hundreds of thousands of steps across the UK. We were able to enjoy peaceful walks through the countryside, taking in some amazing sunrises!

The steps have not been without challenges. I experienced cellulitis from a horsefly bite and another member sprained their ankle. But by the end of August, as a team we noticed the positive impact daily exercise was having on our mental and physical wellbeing. Personally, I set aside one hour a day to walk, jog or run which has helped to stabilise my mental health, and I have lost 12lb.

As we enter Autumn/Winter we have settled into our own walking routines. Some of the team head out before work, whilst others enjoy evening strolls along the river. The weather has become a little more unpredictable and the days seem to be a lot shorter, but at the time of writing this blog our current total stands at a staggering 5.1 MILLION steps with 7 weeks left to complete the challenge!

If you are a family carer and would like to speak to us call our carersline: 01235 424715 or email carersreferrals@carersoxfordshire.org.uk

Tags: Active, Active Body