Manchester’s new empowering community Girls Who Walk

Girls Who Walk Manchester is a new weekly walking group where women can make new friends, grab a coffee from a local business and take in the sights around the city.

The group was founded by Ella Thompson, 22, and within three days the Instagram account (girlswhowalkmcr) reached 1,000 followers.

In August, 50 girls attended the first walk, which doubled just a month later after going viral on TikTok.

Ella Thompson said: “There was a huge gap in the market for a group like this. When I was looking for a way to make friends, I am not ashamed to admit I was broke and lonely. I think a lot of people relate to either one or both parts, hence why we have grown so quickly.

“I was inspired to start Girls Who Walk Manchester out of personal struggles fitting back in when I moved home after university. Navigating life as a postgraduate is very tricky, and doing so in your childhood bedroom is even harder. 

“I hoped to achieve a personal goal of making a few friends. I never anticipated it would turn into such a thriving community of women making connections every week.”

The events take place every Sunday, with fortnightly walks on Wednesday evenings.

Both are free to attend and different routes are planned each week around Manchester and Salford.

Last Sunday (September 17) the girls raised money for Manchester Women’s Aid – a charity providing a range of services for women and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse.

So far they have reached £75 of their £100 target.

The girls also stopped off at the Pankhurst Centre, where Emmeline Pankhurst founded the suffragette movement.

Then they ended the walk with a drink at Hatch, supporting vendors before it closes on September 30.

Girls Who Walk at the Pankhurst Centre

Due to their increasing popularity, they have also organised ticketed events, like an upcoming art walk on October 4 and a sold out pottery painting workshop on October 26.

The excitement of Girls Who Walk Manchester has spread to cities across the UK, with similar groups forming in Bristol, Sheffield and Cardiff to name a few. 

Thompson has many more ideas for this community.

She said: “I would love to run longer hikes in surrounding areas of Greater Manchester and Derbyshire, as well as group travel trips and wellness retreats. The sky really is the limit with this amazing group.” 

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