Our latest Annual Report highlights our activities during 2020-21 to get Scotland walking.
Despite our ability to rise to the challenges that Covid-19 brought and the success of our work throughout the year, 2020-21 ended in tragedy with the sudden death of our Chief Officer Ian Findlay CBE. Ian led Paths for All for the last 17 years with passion, insight and dedication. His reach and influence across many sectors will be a significant loss. Our annual report dedicates the achievements of the past year to Ian, in recognition of his work and the positive impact he had on so many lives across Scotland.
Throughout the year, we moved more of our services, resources and communications online, delivering significant benefits in terms of reach and efficiencies.
The past year has highlighted, more than ever, the need for our work towards making Scotland a walking nation. We heard from our stakeholders about the unmet demand for quality environments for walking, the benefits of facilitating social connections and the difference being physically active in the outdoors has on our quality of life.
In response to the increased demand for support for those who needed it most in our communities, our Scottish Health Walk Network grew to 271 members ready to deliver local walking projects, and we distributed over 20,000 Strength and Balance resources to support older adults and those shielding.
Our Dementia Friendly Walking work expanded to support care home residents to be more active, and we officially launched Movement for Health, a coalition of charities working together to support people living with long-term conditions enjoy and access physical activity.
As working from home became the norm for many during the year, over 10,000 people took part in our Step Count Challenges to stay connected with colleagues and stay active during the working day.
Our Community Path grants and technical support saw huge demand this year, as more people accessed their local natural environments. We supported families and young people to access the outdoors and connect with nature through our new campaign ‘Path Days’.
Covid-19 had a huge impact on travel behaviour, as governments advised the public only to travel if essential. Yet, our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places projects were creative and flexible. They rose to the challenge of supporting communities and keyworkers to make essential journeys sustainably, actively and safely with the programme results showing over 430,000 people travelling more actively, more often.
To motivate people to be more active during difficult lockdown periods, we developed new communication campaigns including a ‘Mind to Walk’ podcast with Edith Bowman and an inspiring digital photography exhibition ‘Humans of the Walk’.
Our policy influencing work focused on showcasing walking as an integral solution to some of society’s biggest issues including health inequalities, climate change and physical inactivity, and as a key solution to Covid-19 recovery.
Going forward, Paths for All will do everything we can to ensure that our work helps address inequalities to create a healthier, happier, greener Scotland, where everyone has the opportunity to be active every day.