I’m getting more and more opportunities to share what I know and think through public speaking, to groups, large and small and it’s something that I really enjoy … after the nerves have settled of course! Last week was no exception and I was thrilled to have been asked by Katie Harper from Cumbrian Girls Can to talk at an evening they were hosting in Workington in West Cumbria. I love West Cumbria, I worked at the West Cumberland Hospital for 18 months as a Junior Doctor, met my husband and got married there too so it’s a special place for me. How fantastic to go back many years later to speak.

23.1% of people in Cumbria are classed as inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of exercise that makes them feel out of breath per week. Cumbrian Girls Can, a local partnership to the This Girl Can campaign from Sport England, is taking on the challenge of helping women in the region to have a go and find the activity they love. One of the ways they are doing this is to bring people together. To join up the conversations that are going on at different levels. And most importantly, to talk to the women of Cumbria and find out what they want and need to help them lead active lives.
This event was all about celebrating #ThisSummer and the progress that had been made but also about networking and sharing the enthusiasm to move forwards. It was great to have Active Cumbria present and hear about some of the work they are doing locally and to support Cumbrian Girls Can too.
The evening began with a workshop on emotional resilience, using mindfulness techniques to alleviate stress. I couldn’t be there for that but I can tell you the women coming out of the workshop looked extremely calm and serene!
Next, Katie Harper gave an introduction to the work and aims of Cumbrian Girls Can. This was followed by a brilliant chair-based exercise workout by Together We. Together We is a community interest company providing a range of services to women in Allerdale and Copeland in Cumbria to support their mental and physical wellbeing . Those of you who are chair-based at work and think you can’t sweat and raise your pulse rate from your desk should certainly try this! It was a lot of fun and I kind of wish I hadn’t been quite so enthusiastic as I had to start my talk being breathless!
I shared my personal journey but focused on some of the things I’d learnt about exercise during my ten year journey from a tired, flabby mum of three to marathon running, health expert. I wanted everyone to go away having learnt something new and to feel positive and motivated to make a change for themselves for the future.
We were also given an introduction to the teenager who has set up the Red Box Project locally to increase access to sanitary products for girls in local schools. No girl should have to miss out on her education or miss out on fun and exercise because of her period.
Feedback was given at the end on card which went into a prize draw to win a copy of my book Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health. I was delighted to sell and sign some copies too.
What a great evening. It was lovely to be in a room full of people interested in improving their health and that of the women in their lives and communities. Working together is the best way to bring about change. I’ll most definitely be doing what I can to support Cumbrian Girls Can in the future. Do look out for more events and if you’re living in Cumbria then GET INVOLVED!

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