Women's group walks into new possibilities



A group of women from different cultures and backgrounds have been brought together by a unique project, to enjoy the great outdoors on their doorstep – many for the first time.

The women are members of a group set up by Step Forward Tees Valley and Nur Fitness to provide friendship, exercise and other opportunities to those who may be isolated across Teesside.

Step Forward Tees Valley supports people facing complex barriers to move forward with their lives. It works with people with mental health issues; debt; convictions; addictions; low self-esteem and other issues. It is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund.

The Nur Fitness group meets weekly and gives the women, who are from various countries including Kurdistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Bangladesh, India and Afghanistan, the chance to make connections outside their home and in the towns where they now live.


The women have enjoyed a number of walks in the local area, with some never having seen the countryside around them before. Mental health link workers also join in the walks giving the women the chance to talk about any issues they are facing.

Zainab Nabeel, from Step Forward Tees Valley said: “Some of these ladies have never experienced this type of scenery. They have been busy with housework and children both in the UK and their home country and they barely get the time to themselves to explore.”

“We had one Yemenese lady who cried at seeing the views of Osmotherley in Northallerton, as it reminded her of her home country. It is only a 20 minutes’ drive from her home but she didn’t know that this type of scenery existed here.”

“It’s all about opening these women’s horizons and opportunities so they can get the most of out of life in the UK.”

Thanks to the walks and other courses such as creative crafts, some of the woman are now considering self-employment, studying and work.

Helen Collins, Step Forward Tees Valley programme manager, said: “I am delighted that the women are getting so much out of these walks and the other opportunities at Nur Fitness. We work with a diverse range of people in a whole host of ways. Our aim is to help people across the Tees Valley overcome their barriers – whether that is debt, mental health, language, skills or something else – so they can reach their potential.”

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