Northampton businesses set up fortnightly women's wellness walks in Abington Park
Granola business owner, Salma Shah, was inspired to launch this women's mental health initiative with Saints Coffee after the sudden death of her mum
Two Northampton businesses have launched a mental health initiative for women that involves getting together every two weeks to walk and talk.
The walks take place every two weeks at Abington Park, where women walk together, drink coffee and chat for one hour.
Local granola business owner, Salma Shah, was inspired to launch 'Wellness Walks for Women' after the sudden death of her mum in December 2020.
Salma said: "After losing my mum suddenly in December 2020, I wanted to commit a portion of my granola profits to support women's wellness and wellbeing. I looked up lots of charities and even offered myself to volunteer, however, I came to realise that - with a small business like mine - I might not have an impact.
"This is what spurred me on to create something locally. I thought something locally would have more of a direct impact on to peoples lives."
Salma then decided to reach out to new local social enterprise coffee shop, Saints Coffee, to see if the owners, Ben Francoise and his partner Nicola Butler, would be interested in launching this wellness initiative with her.
Ben said: "This is exactly the sort of thing we love being involved with as a social enterprise. So when Salma came to us with the idea, we jumped at the chance to support it.
"We'd welcome anyone with any initiatives like this to get in touch via Facebook (@saintscoffeeshop), which is what also happened with our Coffee in the Community initiative that launched in November last year when a gentleman on furlough wanted to use his time productively to help people who were lonely or isolated.
"We're always happy to be involved with these kinds of projects that are really helping people on an individual level."
Co-owner of Saints Coffee, Nicola Butler, has been joining in with the women's wellness walks as well, providing coffee to attendees from their business. She said: "These walks have been a great way for women from a wide range of backgrounds to connect, meet new people and have personal time apart from the daily grind.
"Our walks have been very positive and uplifting and it's been great to meet such new and interesting people. We've discussed loads of ideas and it's a very collaborative environment. Sometimes we chat about mundane everyday things and sometimes we talk about more profound issues but it's really just about sharing.
"From a personal perspective, being new to Northampton this has been a great way to meet new people outside of existing social circles, especially come out of lockdowns!
"I can't wait to have more and more people join and it's open to all women!"
Salma also reached out to local blogger, Sonja Goff, as she has an interest in health and wellbeing and walks a lot and she thought it was a "good idea." The three then got to work on the exciting new initiative.
While Nicola provides the coffee, Salma provides her granola pots and, occasionally, other local businesses participating in the walks also come bearing gifts for fellow ramblers. Last week's walk saw Siobhan handing out bath salts from her business, Best of You.
Salma said: "Getting out and about is so important for the mind. Getting out in nature and talking to others can help you refocus.
"The mind can become a deep, dark place and we’ve all spent a lot of time in it during the last year.
"Getting out and talking to others, sharing ideas and learning can help create a more positive you."
The next women's wellness walk will take place at the Abington Park bandstand on Sunday, June 20 at 11am.