New Walking Programme

Facilitated outdoor sessions planned for autumn in Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny

Men’s Development Network has partnered with Get Ireland Walking to introduce a new programme designed to bring men together in the great outdoors, while encouraging a ‘step change’ towards their wellbeing.

It’s intended that ‘Walking the Talk’, supported by Sport Ireland and the Department of Health’s Healthy Ireland initiative, will initially run for six weeks in the autumn, COVID-19 permitting. The programme will offer weekly guided walks during which men can explore questions relevant to living more enjoyable, connected lives.

Participants will make new friendships, share in interesting conversations and gain a greater understanding of the activities and actions that are linked to their happiness. They will actively reflect on what positive contributions they make to their families and communities – all while benefitting from the calming effects of nature.

Seán Cooke, CEO of Men’s Development Network, said the “powerful combination of the outdoors and exercise will offer men the opportunity to enhance their lives and those of their peers.

“Creating safe, positive spaces for men to talk and connect is so important. Our facilitated walking sessions will support men in reflecting on their day-to-day lives, including what brings them happiness and how they positively contribute to their families and communities.”

The Great Outdoors

Seán stressed that “the walks will be informal and focus on conversation and making connections. We hope that men of all ages and from all backgrounds will engage with the programme to experience first-hand how something as simple as walking in the great outdoors together can be an excellent basis for personal development.

“As an organisation, Men’s Development Network has been actively involved in promoting health and wellbeing for men through a range of community-based programmes and training across Ireland. Our work continues to highlight how wellbeing requires supporting men to reflect on their lives and the positive contributions they make to their families, friends and communities.”

Jason King, National Programme Manager at Get Ireland Walking, said: “Adding healthy habits, such as walking, to our daily and weekly routines, can have a hugely positive impact on wellbeing. Our new ‘Walking the Talk’ programme with Men’s Development Network will give men the opportunity to do so, which promises to be a really positive contribution to communities across the country.

“The overall ‘Making the Connections’ theme of Men’s Health Week 2021 is particularly meaningful as we move out of lockdown and start to develop new routines. Walking is the most accessible form of physical activity, with no special equipment or locations required.

“The new ‘Walking the Talk’ programme enables men to connect with and learn from one another, while also supporting them to stay in good physical health, while enjoying outdoor spaces.”

The series of walks will be supplemented by optional online sessions promoting further exploration and celebration of the people, events, places and things that men truly appreciate.


Walking the Talk - collage

Creating safe, positive spaces for men to talk and connect is so important.

Sean Cooke, CEO of Men's Development Network

The programme is currently recruiting facilitators for the walking sessions in Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny. Details of dates and locations to follow in the autumn.