A simple idea that has a massive impact

When Hannah heard about Move Mates she thought it was a really simple idea that could have a massive impact. So it was an absolute no brainer for her to apply to volunteer. 

I love walking and I know how much it benefits me and how beneficial it is for others. So when I heard about Move Mates, I just thought ‘I want to do that!’


Hannah joined Move the Masses just before the first lockdown. She read about a young person wanting to walk with someone who had a dog. For Hannah this was perfect. She walks everyday, doing at least 10,000 steps, has a lovely dog called Darcey and as she already enjoys working with young people as a Dance Instructor, she put her hand straight up.

Originally Ollie was a little resistant to getting a Move Mate. He has epilepsy and a type of autism called PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) which makes it difficult to get him outside in the fresh air and exercising, but his Mum told us he would be more willing to get out if there’s a dog involved. His incentive was therefore to meet up with Hannah and Darcey, and take Darcey for a walk.


Nowadays their walks together have evolved massively and Ollie doesn’t need any encouragement to meet up.


We hit is off straight away as Ollie loves shows and animals, we talk about different musicals all the time. They meet up once a week and walk, along with Patrick, Ollie’s support worker, around the Knavesmire, beside the River and in Bishopthorpe. It is 45 – 60 minutes that Hannah really cherishes. 


Ollie really enjoys their time together too.

“I really like walking with Hannah and Darcey. It is really nice. We walk around the Knavesmire whether it is raining or sunny or even in the snow.


Hannah had a baby in November, and for that regular hour every Thursday morning her husband looks after baby Mabel whilst Hannah, Ollie and Patrick get out and about. It is some ‘me time’ she really appreciates as well. She is sure she gets as much out of it as Ollie does. 


The benefits definitely work both ways. Ollie loves musicals and animated movies and has a great knowledge of them. Every week he sets Hannah a challenge to watch an animated movie he recommends. They both love this and chat avidly about them each time they meet.

“We have all become pals. It really is a lovely hour of my week.

Hannah – Move Mate Volunteer

Ollie’s Mum, Helen, is delighted with the service. She praised Hannah’s commitment for providing stability and consistency for Ollie, and said that this has made a huge difference to his life.

“It’s a godsend. He’s always really lovely and upbeat when he gets back from his walk with Hannah and Darcey. He is willing to go even without his support worker, which is a really positive thing.

Helen – Ollie’s Mum

Helen was also really impressed with the process for getting a Move Mate. As Ollie wanted to walk with a volunteer who had a dog, the pairing procedure took a little longer than usual. 


I really appreciated the fact that the office would regularly touch base to let me know that the pairing hadn’t slipped through the cracks and that they were still looking for a volunteer with a dog. Their willingness to find the right volunteer to suit Ollie’s needs was brilliant.

Share this post