Hartlepool park walk aims to lift lockdown blues as restrictions begin to ease
A Hartlepool park is to host a new socially distanced walk to help lift people’s lockdown blues.
Visitors to Ward Jackson Park are invited to join in the new event launching next Monday (March 8) in line with the first stage of the lifting of restrictions.
From that day, people can meet up and socialise with one other person from outside their household.
Maria Seymour, who runs the Place In The Park cafe, came up with the idea of inviting people to walk around the beautiful park following Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown.
It is intended to help visitors meet new people and make friends after hearing how many people have suffered loneliness during the restrictions.
Maria said: “Although people are coming out the house for a walk they’re incredibly lonely. It has broken my heart.
"People have been crying telling me how lonely they are. I thought ‘is there anything I could possibly do?’
"There’s so many people who are all in the same boat that they can’t go and visit people and congregate.
"The idea of the walk is it is for anyone who is bored or just wants the opportunity to talk to somebody new.”
A 20-minute stroll will start at 11am followed by another at 2pm.
Participants will walk around in pairs and social distancing will be maintained.
Maria added: “They could talk about anything from the weather to how lockdown has affected them and what they are most looking forward to once people can fully meet up.
“If they enjoy it, it is up to them if they want to meet up again.
“Hopefully, people might make new friends through it.”
Depending on how successful it is, it may become a regular event.
From Monday, care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.
The ‘stay at home’ message is due to end on Monday, March 29, when outdoor gatherings, including in private gardens, of either six people or two households will be allowed.
Outdoor sports facilities will also be allowed to reopen from that day along with the return of formally organised outdoor sports.
There is no charge for the walks in Ward Jackson Park and everyone interested should meet at The Place In The Park cafe.