Last Wednesday, Spinningfields saw the launch of Freshwalks City – a business networking group with a mission to get Manchester’s business community walking more. The city launch came after two successful years for Freshwalks which has seen nearly 350 of the region’s business leaders take on challenging hikes in the Peak District.
Freshwalks City is an express version of the original format, designed to fit within a lunch hour and delivered in collaboration with Manchester Tours. It’s a lunchtime-efficient combination of exercise and networking – perfect for the busy professional – laced intermittently with some local history.
Speaking of his latest launch, Michael Di Paola commented: “We’ve been blown away by the response to Freshwalks over the past couple of years on every level. The number of people who have got involved; the determination they’ve shown on the walks; the connections made and the feedback on how the walks have impacted so positively when back in the office.”
“We did, however, recognise the full day walks are a big physical and time commitment. That’s how the idea for Freshwalks City was born. By getting people away from their desks at lunchtime, it’s our mission to encourage behavioural change that will undoubtedly improve the health and wellbeing of our working population and positively affect business productivity.”
“You’ll also meet some amazing people, make valuable business contacts and return to the office buzzing with energy and ideas.”
Back to Wednesday lunchtime and at around 12.15pm, our first group of walkers started to gather in Hardman Square opposite Carluccio’s. Among them, attendees from the likes of Natwest Bank, Business Growth Hub, UKFast and KPMG. Precisely half were veterans of our walks in the hills but the other half were brand new to the world of freshwalking.
A little over 15 minutes later and all but one of the expected attendees listened to Sue McCarthy introduce herself and after an initial dose of Spinningfields history, 30 of Manchester’s finest were on their way. Destination Castlefield – under blue skies and facing the freshest of winds. Dodging the bullets and rain in a typically wet Mancunian week.
In similar fashion to our walks in the hills, the group snaked through these backstreets of south-west central Manchester with people buddying up – new and old friends alike. Castlefield is of course steeped in Mancunian history – or should that be Mamucium – as we stopped at the old Roman fort before heading through St John’s Gardens where lie the graves of John Owens and William Marsden.
Back in Spinningfields we stopped outside the magnificent John Ryland’s Library before heading into the cafe where space had been reserved for our buffet lunch. Not quite the same levels of boisterous revelry that often ensue late into the evening at the Wheatsheaf in Old Glossop but nonetheless conversations were flowing as hungry walkers polished off the soup and sandwich fayre provided. By 2pm some of the group followed Sue into the library to have a bonus mooch around before this fantastic first bunch of freshwalkers returned to their desks, refreshed and energised for the afternoon ahead.
If you like the sound of Freshwalks City and want to get involved, please contact Michael Di Paola on Michael@freshwalks.co.uk – more dates and routes are coming soon across Spinningfields, Ancoats, MediaCity and Manchester Central.
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