The Inverclyde Bothy, a member of the Scottish Walking for Health Network, offers four weekly group Health Walks to support people to walk more in their local area. The walks are open to all and on offer in various locations across Inverclyde.
To make their walk programme more inclusive Health Walk Coordinator Jenni Murray liaised with staff at Alzheimer’s Scotland’s Greenock Resource Centre to explore training options and review their existing walking routes.
Walks with little traffic, few shadows, various points of interest, sensory variety such as colourful plants and benches for rest all make for a more pleasant and relaxing walk.
Specific training for staff and volunteers to increase their knowledge and skills to support people to live well with dementia included Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Walk Leader course; Age Scotland’s Dementia Awareness workshop; and Alzheimer’s Scotland Dementia Friends session.
A warm and friendly welcome at the start of every Health Walk is always given to make everybody feel supported. All Walk Leaders are also easily recognisable with their named red waterproof jackets and polo shirts.
Jenni Murray, Health Walk Co-ordinator with The Inverclyde Bothy, managed by Cycling UK, is delighted that local partners and volunteers have been so supportive towards Dementia Friendly Health Walks being offered, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. She said:
The Inverclyde Bothy has benefited greatly from being involved in the Paths for All Dementia Friendly accreditation process. While Health Walks are inclusive and open to all, having undertaken this development process and additional dementia focussed training will ensure, that we are better placed to meet the needs of those living with dementia.
Our staff and volunteer team have gained valuable insight and awareness and grown our network with other organisations. As we now move out of lockdown and re-start our walks, we will continue to engage with local organisations that support those living with dementia with the aim of ensuring that more local people are made aware of the walks, the health and wellbeing benefits they bring and will choose to get involved.
Currently, Health Walks are permitted under the organised sport (coaching) guidance and current Scottish Government local protection levels. A maximum of 15 participants can attend a registered Health Walk with detailed risk assessments carried out and physical distancing maintained. Find out more by watching our video and reading our guidance.
Frances Bain, Paths for All Manager is delighted this Scottish Walking for Health Network project is offering Dementia Friendly Health Walks. She said:
Well done Jenni and team for working in partnership with local organisations, staff and volunteers to offer Dementia Friendly Health Walks across Inverclyde.
Walking in a group is a fantastic way for people living with long-term health conditions, such as dementia, to improve their mobility, confidence, and overall wellbeing.
Health Walks are now permitted again under the Scottish Government’s organised sport guidance and I would encourage anyone who is feeling isolated and in need of support to join Inverclyde Bothy’s short Health Walks. They are an ideal way to get out of the house, meet new people, discover your local area and have a regular weekly activity to look forward to.
Find out more about Inverclyde Bothy’s Dementia Friendly Health Walks on our website.
Find out more about Dementia Friendly Walking online.