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Keeley Pritchett with his dog Kevin on the Rotary walking track, Yamba. Image: Pat Fordham.

Take a walk with the blokes

Pat Fordham

The Man Walk has made its way to Yamba to help men open up.
The Man Walk was founded three years ago in Kiama on NSW’s South Coast, when a physiotherapist began strolling around Kiama Harbour with a few mates. Since then, the walk has spread all around the country and even across international borders.

In late January this year, Keeley Pritchett, a local of Harwood, decided to start-up a Man Walk in Yamba for all the local men who needed or wanted to have a chat.

“The purpose of it is to really get men out their shell, just to embrace it really. I did the Man Walk originally when I was living down in Sydney, so I just thought it’d be something beneficial to bring back to the area,” the 24-year-old says.
While in Sydney, Keeley was heavily involved in the Manly Man Walk, where they would often discuss life and issues important to each other. It provided a space where men could open up and talk about what was on their mind, along with just walking and making new mates early on a Friday morning.
“We don’t push anyone to talk about anything heavy. The whole point of it is just to come down and have a chat, whether that be about how’s the weather that day or how they’re actually doing,” Mr Pritchett says.
On The Man Walk’s website, they note;
“The Man Walk provides an environment that is positive, supportive and inclusive, where there is no pressure and no barriers to entry. Just an opportunity to walk, talk and support! We want to make it ok to talk, and we want to make it ok for men to ask for help if they need it”.
Four weeks’ into running the walk, Keeley has built up a community of around ten different men who walk down at the Yamba Marina every Friday morning, but does not plan to stop there. Mr Pritchett’s plan is to hopefully attract a younger demographic to the walk, where they can support each other through difficult times.
“We’re trying to push towards more younger adolescents being involved. I’m twenty-four and I found that the Man Walk for me really helped me in Manly, having guys my own age that I could relate to and I really hope that more of the younger age group start to get involved,” the organiser of the walk says.
The Man Walk Yamba meets down at the Yamba Marina at 5:45am every Friday morning and hopes to attract an ever-growing number of men for an early walk and talk. Keeley is hoping this will bring about change for men in Yamba who need it and will give them a place to open up in a friendly and safe environment.

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