A DUNFERMLINE woman who turned her life around after surviving domestic violence is helping West Fifers take steps to boost their mental health after lockdown.

Mum Sharon Fraser’s inspirational story has seen her go from being homeless to heading up six West Fife walking groups.

Sharon, 42, said: “I joined a walking group in Dunfermline in 2003.

“I was a single mum with a young son and needed to find something to improve my health and help me lose weight. I really enjoyed walking and I improved my health, lost weight and improved my confidence along the way. Unfortunately, the group (later) folded.

“In 2009, I found myself in a very abusive relationship, was a victim of serious domestic violence and my mental health was at an all-time low.

“I was pregnant with my third child and thought this was life for me.

“In 2011, along with close friends and the help of support groups for domestic violence, I finally found the courage to leave the relationship. This meant myself and my three children were homeless and had nothing but we were safe!

“As a result of that relationship, I am now diagnosed with PTSD and severe anxiety. Every day is a struggle and some days I find it hard to find motivation.

“In 2017, I joined a wellbeing group, Feel Good Friday, at the Tryst Centre in Abbeyview and was asked to become a Fife Council volunteer.

“I then joined Sports in the Community who had been awarded funding from Impact Funding Partners; this offered me an opportunity to become a qualified walk leader.

“I qualified in May 2019 and within hours of having my qualification I had designed and printed flyers, created a Facebook group (Best Foot Forward) and had around 50 members.”

The journey is evolving constantly and Sharon currently has six walking groups in Dunfermline, Duloch, Abbeyview and Rosyth.

There are now six other qualified walk leaders within the group, and on a weekly basis around 90 people join in for a walk around the local area.

Sharon explained: “Throughout lockdown, this has helped so many people to get out and about, meet new friends and become healthier all because we go for a walk and have a blether.

“At a time when mental health is at an all-time low, joining a walking group really can and does improve your mental health and wellbeing.

“The group is for all abilities and everyone is welcome to join me on my walk. It is free to join and all routes are tried and tested before I take any of my groups on walks.

“The walks are around three miles and take about an hour.

“I would strongly encourage anyone who has been in my situation to join local wellbeing groups such as Feel Good Friday as this has given me the motivation and courage to help not only myself but many others in similar situations.

“My walkers have said they feel very positive about the group and have given loads of positive feedback on Best Foot Forward’s Facebook page.

“Looking back over the years, I never thought I would have the confidence to leave my house and now I walk with my head held high.”