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Minister tackles 30-mile French walk for young people with disabilities

Minister tackles 30-mile French walk for young people with disabilities

Saturday 31 August 2019

Minister tackles 30-mile French walk for young people with disabilities

The Children's Minister will next month be walking 30 miles from Saint Malo to Dinan accompanied by friends and family to raise money for a local project giving opportunities for young people with special needs.

The team is are hoping to raise £1,000 for 'The Inclusion Project' to assist them in providing social opportunities and Youth Clubs for people aged 11 to 25 with varying special needs and disabilities - including Autism spectrum conditions and social communication difficulties, physical disabilities, and learning difficulties.

This is the fifth time the group is taking on 'Le Walk’ - a tough 30-mile journey starting from the walls in St. Malo and following the Rance to finish in Dinan.

“It was my dad’s idea,” Senator Mézec explained. “[Dinan] is place everyone has been but where no one has walked, people usually drive there. It’s really nice to do."

Describing the walk as “quite idyllic,” Senator Mézec admitted it is a tough challenge with lots of ups and downs.

“We start at 07:00 from the walls and we finish around 16:00 or 17:00 depending if you get any injuries.

“There are markings on the way to point you in the right direction. It’s quite pleasant. There is not a lot on the way, there is just one place to fill up your bottles. We go past the Jersey Lily Pub, which is nice even though it is now closed."


Pictured: One of the "idyllic" sites en route.

“The final miles, you are walking along the canal," the Senator continued, "And you dream about the bar at the bottom of the hill, that’s your finish line.”  

A regular walker, Senator Mézec tries to walk from one side of the island to the other in preparation of the walk, although he admits that it does not make any difference. “I always end up in a lot of pain,” he said.

“For me it’s the soles of the foot, from the ankles up I am fine. It’s up and down and then it is just flat, it changes a lot and I found that on the final miles I had to stop every 15 minutes.” 


Pictured: 'Le Walk' is traditionally finished with a trip to a bar.

But the pain hasn’t put him off taking part year after year. This year, he will be walking alongside his dad and five other people on 13 September - a number that keeps growing every year. 

Since its inception, ‘Le Walk’ has helped raise over £4,000 for local “worthy causes.”

After four years of fundraising for Youthful Minds - a participation group of young people volunteering for Mind Jersey – the walk will this year raise money for another cause focusing on young people.


Pictured: The team undertaking 'Le Walk' previously.

“The Youth Inclusion project is part of the Youth Service and it gives opportunities for children with special needs or disabilities,” Senator Mézec explained. “They have four nights a week and do all kinds of activities.

“Lots of families from low income background can’t afford this so it is really valuable that this service is providing that and keeping it low cost or sometimes even free of charge. The more money we can raise the more they can provide.”

Having just launched their fundraising page, the group has raised a quarter of their target sum, but Senator Mézec hopes his fellow politicians will help increase the final sum.

“I have to say States Members have been very generous in the past. I leave an envelope upstairs and they have been very generous.” 

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