“Coming on these weekly walks means so much more to me than just feeling the health benefits.”

Iqra chooses to walk every Friday with a walking group in Harehills. Years ago she was in a car accident and lost her husband. Through the weekly walks, she has grown in confidence and has been able to work her way through the difficult process of grief. Her favourite parts of the walks are the fresh air, meeting nice people from different cultures and their shared experiences of joy and sorrow.


My family members and my auntie told me to come out to the Give a Gift charity in Harehills, where they provide social needs, especially for women and young people who can be more isolated. So I tried the weekly walking group near where I live in Harehills, and I thought ‘Okay, I’ll join, and if I like it, I can keep going.”

This was a real turning point for me, because years ago I was in a car accident. My son, who was at home at the time, was only 14 months old. My husband died on impact, and I had serious multiple injuries such as a bone fracture in my arm, (where I now have a metal rod inside) and my lungs, kidneys and ribs were crushed. I also have a leg injury, and I couldn’t walk for one year after the accident, so I can only walk for so long and for a certain distance now. At the time, they really weren’t sure if I would survive or not. 

Since losing my husband I had not done anything on my own without my son or my mother in law being there. I used to just stay inside the house and I’d lost all confidence in myself. If you would have seen me back in January, you wouldn’t believe I was the same person. At the start I kept thinking things like “what are other people going to think about me when I talk about myself and my life? Will they judge me?”, so I’d stand back a bit, and listen to what other people would say in the group and stay a bit quiet. But as the weeks went on, my confidence really started to grow.

“There are so many things that I love about walking. It’s the fresh air, meeting nice people, the strengthening of my body and meeting different people from different cultures. You really listen to their stories and you know inside, I’m not alone. I’m going through this, but they’re going through the same or worse.”

There’s something about being able to be really open and honest with the group, including the lovely leader Emma (Walk it Ride it Activator) who introduced me to the group and made me feel safe and heard. I can talk about things I can’t talk to my own family about, and that provides a different kind of relief and a sense of ongoing contentment.