Community Group of the Year/Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year nominee – Walk Talk Action CIC/Teri Elder
Former Army combat medic Teri Elder found that being outdoors helped with her anxiety, PTSD and postnatal depression – so she set up a community group to help other people too.
The mum-of-three, who has also experienced homelessness, gave up her job as an ambulance driver in 2019 to work full-time on Walk Talk Action CIC.
The group, based at Fenpark, has helped hundreds of Stoke-on-Trent residents including people with depression, postnatal depression, anxiety, midlife crisis, PTSD, isolation and loneliness as well as veterans and those needing support with their general health and wellbeing.
The group gets people outdoors to walk, talk and learn coping techniques to work through their problems one step at a time.
Teri secured a National Lottery grant for the group, was gifted a plot of land by the owners of Fenpark Fields and secured the donation of a portable cabin by Churnet Valley Railway.
Now Walk Talk Action CIC has been nominated as a Community Group of the Year in the Your Heroes Awards by volunteer Laura Eyre and Teri has been nominated as a Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year.
Laura said: “The effort that Teri puts in to help local people in their local community is limitless. Teri is Walk Talk Action and Walk Talk Action is Teri.
“I feel that all the hard work that Teri does throughout the year definitely deserves recognition and I feel that Walk Talk Action is a worthy nominee for Community Group of the Year.”
Teri organises weekly community walks in and around Stoke-on-Trent, volunteer action days, 10 step programmes to help people discover what they really want out of life, weekly community coffee mornings at Meir Park and much more.
Walk Talk Action has enabled a veteran to write and publish their own book, supported adults back into education, helped people overcome their fears and given people the tools, knowledge and confidence to set up their own CICs.
The group worked with the New Vic Theatre, New Vic Borderlines and The National Lottery on a jubilee event including a free hot meal for attendees and the chance to try willow weaving and bird food making workshops.
Teri, from Meir Heath, said: “I’ve had a breakdown, I’ve had lived experience of being homeless, had PTSC, postnatal depression and chronic anxiety. I had a little girl in 2016 and at the time my partner had cancer. I didn’t want to be here.
“Then I started walking. By getting out of my four walls I was free. I started organising walks for other people and organising coffee mornings using my maternity money and any spare change I had.
“I listened to people’s problems to see if I could help them. It helped people to feel better about themselves and in an indirect way it was making me feel better too.”
What started as a personal crusade turned into Walk Talk Action CIC. Thanks to National Lottery funding Teri was able to give up her job as an ambulance driver in 2019 dedicate herself to her newfound mission.
“I’ve found my purpose in life,” she said. “We’ve helped hundreds of people back into education or employment. Once people are under the Walk Talk Action umbrella we’re there to help them through everything.”