The facilities management team at Vangarde Shopping Park have completed training to become ‘move mates’ to help people in the community lacking confidence to go outside.

Vangarde has partnered with York-based charity Move the Masses, which works to reduce the barriers people may face to get moving. The retail park will also help recruit more ‘move mates’ by encouraging tenants of the park to sign up.

Centre Manager, Deb O’Donnell says: “We thought this was the perfect opportunity to help the lonely and isolated members of our community. The whole facilities management team are getting involved with the potential for other tenants to also sign up.

“The staff members are keen to help others who need support to prevent social exclusion. Nobody should feel lonely and if we can make a small difference to someone, that connects us as a team, that is something I am really proud of.”

By being ‘move mates,’ the team will volunteer their time to meet members of the community at their front door and walk with them wherever they want to go, including to the shop or simply a walk around the block.

Move the Masses helps anyone of any age facing mobility worries, a fear of falling, social anxiety or loneliness.

All nine members of staff at Vangarde Shopping Park have taken part in the training.

Egg Cameron, Founder of Move the Masses says: “We are delighted to have Vangarde as our first partnership and we would love more local organisations to partner with us.

“Right now, we have 21 people on our waiting list hoping to have some support to get out walking. Integrating a bit of volunteering into the working day makes people feel good about themselves, it gives people a real sense of purpose and a break from the norm positively impacts productivity too.”

For more information about Move the Masses and the ‘move mates’ initiative, contact 07473 933335 or hello@movethemasses.org.uk