The Buddy Walking scheme in Ringwood and Fordingbridge is administered by Age Concern Hampshire from the Ringwood Day Care Centre. It is funded by New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council Older People's Wellbeing Team and the Ringwood Old People's Welfare Association.
The project aims to enable older people to remain active and connected to their community by encouraging them to go on regular short local walks, accompanied by a volunteer. Young People are linked to walk alongside the participants usually from their home to a community destination and back.
The scheme has enabled people, not already active, to take part in flower arranging, look around the shops, get safely to a weekly lunch club, take tea in a cafe, visit a husband in residential care and lay a poppy for a brother at the war memorial on Remembrance Day. Getting outside in the fresh air, stretching their legs and talking with their "buddy" has been an attraction in its own right.
All participants so far have been over 80 and the project has achieved good, trusting relationships between older and younger people.