Carry a basic first aid kit, which should include:
Ready-made first aid kits for walkers are available from outdoor shops. St John Ambulance Supplies do a kit especially for walkers, as do the British Red Cross.
General safety rules
Walking in most of Britain should present no serious problems provided:
All walkers must be aware that they walk at their own risk. (Note: some groups have a disclaimer form which all walkers are requested to sign.)
Walks organised by U3A Groups automatically have Public Liability insurance cover, provided the leaders are U3A members, through the Third Age Trust. This is designed to protect leaders against claims for damage to property and for injury or death which might have been occasioned on the walk. Contact Lin Jonas for full details.
FAQ - U3A Liability Insurance.
Does Public Liability cover the Local U3A against accidents whilst out walking or any other type of strenuous activity?
So long as it is remembered that the Public Liability policy is an insurance against legal liability, the answer question about accidents happening whilst out walking etc., is in the affirmative. The Policy is not an automatic Personal Accident insurance. It would have to be shown that U3A, its agents or members had in some negligent in causing injury to the victim.
Note: This answer was confirmed by Lin Jonas U3A National Office in April 2005.
Are all U3A Walking Groups covered for public liability insurance?
All Local U3As who have paid their annual membership subs to the Third Age Trust are covered for Public
Liability Insurance underwritten by Ecclesiastical and ACE Europe.
These notes are to help U3A members who wish to start a Walking Group and gives some advice about leading walks.
Consider you are taking a group of your friends for a walk around an area you know well and have enjoyed in the past. Make each walk or ramble on a regular date and time. Begin with some very modest ambles of not more than say 2 or 3 miles. If possible finish where the members can have some refreshments, a pub or a tearoom. Ambling and walking should be a sociable activity enjoyed in some attractive surroundings. The pub or café stop has become a tradition of U3A walks and enables the Leaders to get to know their members. Arrange the type of walk or ramble requested by your membership – ask for suggestions.
If possible share the Leadership of your Group with another member – one person may choose to lead walks while the other may be an organiser (and perhaps the backmarker).
Walking is currently the 2nd most favourite activity in the U3A whose members not only find interest in the countryside but also enjoy the companionship of a ramble.
Many Leaders of other U3A Walking Groups may offer their advice on starting a group and organising walks and can be contacted via the U3A Walking Network Co-Ordinator Neil Meek.
Before your initial walk prepare an ‘Information Leaflet’ for potential members. This could be your ‘mission statement’ for the group. Include some of the following:-
a) Describe the programme of walks or ambles.
c) Walking Gear
Suggest good walking shoes are worn or boots if preferred.
State your policy for wet weather and if you choose always to walk in the wet then suggest waterproof clothing.
d) Joining the walk/amble.
Ask your members to register their desire to join a walk by adding their name and telephone number to a list at your monthly U3A meeting (if you have one) or by telephoning the walk Leader.
Suggest members make their own travel arrangements to get to the start of the walk. Car sharing is popular although some walking groups only use public transport.
Make it clear that members must inform the Leader if they are unable to join a walk
Give your phone number and mobile number if you have one.
Ask for other members who would be willing to lead walks.
Please ensure the U3A members are aware that they walk at their own risk by including a note in your Walks Programme. U3A members cannot be accompanied by children or dogs on U3A walks owing to the possible risk of accidents to other walkers.
Give notice if the Leaders have no specific medical expertise.
Boots the Chemist sell a good First Aid Kit for about £5 which Leaders may wish to have with them on the walks in case of minor injuries or blisters.
g) Lunch Stop
It is essential to have a good stop for lunch on an all day walk. Pubs are most popular with U3A members. Leaders should ensure the pub is notified of the visit by the group and often they will reserve tables, which can be very agreeable. A small pub may have problems if there large numbers of walkers. In the summer a picnic is a good alternative.
Prepare a Walks Programme which should be given to all members.
Start with a Provisional Programme, say for about the first 6 months.
Give Dates, Day of the week, Time of the start, Brief description, distance and the name of the Leader. List the telephone number of all the Leaders. Make a note that this provisional programme maybe subject to alteration.
Suggest you may consider a programme of walks with a particular theme in mind such as local parks, walks by water or with local interest or flora i.e. daffodils/bluebell walks are popular.
Complete details of the proposed walk should be made available to those members who are going to join the walk sometime before the date of the walk. Its is important to detail where and when the walk starts, give OS references if necessary. Choose a well known place, a station car park for example, preferably with toilets available. The Leader house is also a good venue for car sharing. Describe your walk with the places you will visit and state where you will stop for refreshments. Don’t forget to state the time of the start and the approximate time of the finish. Warn the members if the walk could be muddy. Give the phone number and mobile of the walks Leader.
Compile a List of your Members with their names, addresses, emails and phone numbers.
Buy a simple compass (SILVA type is a good one) and learn how to use it. Collect maps of your area and local walks.
Refer to the U3A Walking Group Leaders Checklist.
A SUGGESTED CHECKLIST FOR U3A WALKING GROUP LEADERS
BEFORE YOUR WALK
Choose the Route
Carry out a Recce (take a friend)
THE DAY BEFORE YOUR WALK
ON THE DAY – AT THE START
ON THE DAY – THE WALK
AT THE END OF THE WALK
AFTER THE WALK
Finally, good luck with your group and enjoy your walks.
This information is provided by Neil Meek. U3A Walking Network Co-Ordinator.
Tel. 01784 251590 Email email@example.com