Staff and volunteers walk HWLincs to the Active Lincolnshire final

HWLincs’ activity challenges that got staff and volunteers moving during lockdown and beyond continue to grow have earned the charity a finalist position in the Active Lincolnshire Sport & Physical Activity Awards 2022

A recent progress update

HWLincs, which runs the Healthwatch Lincolnshire contract among others, started its first activity challenge during lockdown as a fun way to encourage remote-working staff and volunteers to remain active.

It became clear that this was not only a way to remain active but to feel connected and to share some of the conversations that might have been missed now the UK workforce is more remote.

These challenges have earned HWLincs a finalist place in the Workplace Wellbeing Award.

Tom Cassidy, HWLincs contract and project officer, collates the miles each week. “It’s been a joy hearing from trustees, staff and volunteers on a regular basis as they log their distances,” he said. “From regular updates about weekend walks to health updates and general check-ins, the sense of connection I feel with the team is a great way to offset the isolation of remote working.”

The first challenge took HWLincs staff 5,241km across the Atlantic Ocean, from the charity’s base in Boston, Lincolnshire to Boston, Massachusetts in the USA. During the challenge, the team walked, ran, cycled and swam from the edge of The Fens to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

HWLincs staff and volunteers contributed steps, miles or kilometres weekly and regular updates were produced. These shows the route progress and where they were on their travels, with a photo and short write-up. Early stops included Corville in Ireland, but once the team hit the Atlantic, landmarks along the way included the likes of notable shipwrecks until the team hit land again at New Brunswick, Canada.

Tom said: “It’s a pleasure creating the updates, too, knowing well the people I’ll be sharing them with. Charting the course on the map and checking for local landmarks adds an exotic twist to the home office experience, a window to the world.

“It’s fun to be creative with the updates where possible. When we reached Fenway Park for the Boston to Boston challenge, I found on YouTube an amateur-made walking tour of that area of Boston and shared that so we could all get better experience of our goal. It made my day to receive a long, heartfelt email from a team member who’d visited Boston, MA on holiday a few years ago and wrote lovingly about their experiences there. I’d never have known had we not come up with this idea of this challenge.”

Once the 16 participants hit Fenway Park, it was time for a bigger challenge.

In November 2021, the Queen’s Baton Relay began in Birmingham, England for the Commonwealth Games. The torch travelled the world, zigzagging 140,000km across oceans and continents. HWLincs decided to follow it – and continues to do so today as part of its Commonwealth Challenge. The 18 participating team members have, up to October, covered more than 42,000km and hit 22 torch stops around the world.

Participation in the challenge is open to all but is not mandatory. For regular updates, see the HWLincs social media accounts and website.

HWLincs also holds a monthly Mindfulness Walk, that offers staff the chance to get away from their desks and out into their environment.

The Active Lincolnshire Sport & Physical Activity Awards 2022 take place on November 3rd at The Engine Shed in Lincoln.