Member stories - Connection


Fell walker Kenneth Longstaff took on Latrigg, a 368 metre high fell in the Lake District with a specially adapted wheelchair and the help of a local running club.

In 2012 Kenneth was struck down by Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). GBS attacks the nervous system and causes the body to shut down.

Kenneth who is part of KeyRing Darlington said:

“This event restores faith in humanity, how a group of people who I have never met give up their spare time and take me to the fell tops once more. I am so proud of you all and this will stick in my memories for a very long time. You felt like long term friends, Helen asking me if I needed a drink all the way up there and Errol checking I was OK. Pete was the comedian making me laugh with his remarks to the team as he spurred them on. Such an attentive bunch of people love you all”

A man in a wheelchair at the top of a hill, with other people standing in the background

This is just perfect proof of how much difference involvement in the community makes to people’s lives.

We are really grateful to Kenneth who raised money for us and a local hospice by doing this climb. We also want to hold him up as a great example of what you can achieve.

“I have had great support from St Teresa's Hospice Darlington and The Darlington KeyRing Group both fantastic organisations for caring for one's wellbeing and giving people some purpose in life and much more whatever your disability. It is for this reason that I would like to fundraise for both St Teresa's Hospice and the KeyRing Group Darlington.”



Charles Gardiner is a Member in The Arthur’s Hill network in Newcastle. He is also a long-standing Member of The Time Exchange on Stanton Street. This is a fantastic project which has been going for many years. The Time Exchange is a Time Bank which is a way for people to share skills with others in their community and be rewarded for it... in time! For every hour of time you give providing a service for another Time Exchange member you receive one time credit. You can exchange your time credits or save them to use in the future.

Charles gets most of his time credits from working in the Community Garden Project managed by the Time Exchange. He has been a Time Exchanger for many years and he says it is a great project. He loves working in the Garden and he gets Credits for his work which he banks for the future whenever he needs some help.

A logo with the words Time Exchange in a green loop

Recently the Time Exchange got some funding to pay for a minibus to take people into the local countryside. They have offered the minibus to KeyRing Members and we have gladly accepted the offer. The first trip was out to Housesteads, a large Roman fort on a very dramatic part of Hadrian’s Wall. We had a lovely sunny day and we walked up the steep hill to the Roman Wall and walked along it a little way before we stopped for our picnic.

Everyone had a great day and we were very pleased that The Time Exchange had given us the chance to get out to the Wall. Many of the group had never been before and really enjoyed the history and the dramatic scenery. Some of us had never walked so far before and were very proud that we had gone so far and enjoyed it so much.

A man holding an ice cream

Our second trip was to the Low Hauxley Nature Reserve to enjoy the Visitor Centre there and the birds on their lake. The café at the Visitor Centre has a great view over the lake and you have a good view of birds coming, going and swimming around.

After a coffee and a snack we found the path to the beach and walked the two and a half miles to Amble, a small seaside town with fishing boats. We had a slow walk because of the breathing and mobility issues some of us had but we eventually got to Amble and had our picnic lunch before the one and only shower of the day got us wearing waterproofs ready for a real downpour from a very dark cloud hovering above. Fortunately it never came and the sun came out again…. Hurrah

We had a fine day by the seaside, not quite lovely enough to tempt us for a swim in the very calm water but almost. Thanks again to the Time Exchange and especially their staff member Rachel who came with us and their helpful volunteers Sarah and Tyrone. We had a good time walking and talking together.