Inspiring projects secure Walking for Health grants

In 2018, we awarded 27 grants worth a total of £160,000 to projects across the country through our Walking for Health grant fund.

Big Fit Walk in Arrochar

The fund aims to increase the number of people taking part in Health Walks, improve wellbeing, and expand the amount of physical activity undertaken by people in Scotland.

This year, more groups than ever before applied for our Walking for Health grants. Almost 60 groups submitted applications and we are pleased to see such an appetite to increase and expand Health Walks.

Projects receiving funding included a wide range of initiatives including those looking to engage new walkers and reduce health inequalities, and their work will have a positive impact on health and wellbeing across Scotland.

Below are some examples of projects that secured Walking for Health funding.

Changes, East Lothian - Changes is a community health project promoting positive wellbeing in East Lothian. It helps people with mild to moderate health conditions live healthier and less stressful lives. There are three tiers to its well-established walking programme, offering accessible, sociable activities where participants can walk at their own pace: one-to-one Buddy Walks for people unable to access group walks; accessible and low-level Health Walks (split into Gentle Walks and Well-being Walks to cater for different abilities); and Nordic Walking for the more adventurous. Their Walking for Health grant will help reduce feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety through walking and increase volunteering opportunities for local people as Walk Leaders.

Get Walking Lanarkshire – This pan-Lanarkshire project runs 30 Health Walks already, but now wants to develop a British Sign Language Health Walk for deaf people led by deaf people.The new walk will run in partnership with Deaf Services Lanarkshire and Deaf South Lanarkshire. Get Walking Lanarkshire will train up Deaf people as volunteer Health Walk Leaders, so they will be able to lead health walks for the deaf community. The walks will be closed walks, aimed at deaf people (those with the strongest deaf identity, preferring to communicate in British Sign Language), their families and friends. By giving deaf people to opportunity to take part in Health Walks, and by focussing on people from areas of deprivation, Get Walking Lanarkshire aim to improve participants health and wellbeing.

Walk in the Park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs - Building upon their existing project across Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park over the past 10 years, Walk in the Park will use our grant funding to launch their sixth Health Walking group in Arrochar and Tarbet. Following a successful Big Fit Walk in the summer, there is now a clear demand for a regular Health Walk in the community on the west side of Loch Lomond. Walk in the Park will recruit and train volunteers to become Health Walk Leaders and co-ordinate and support the new weekly walk. It’s anticipated that the new walking group will become Dementia Friendly like the current five Walk in the Park groups.

Elevat8, Kilmarnock - The Elevat8 Community Interest Company’s work with Kilmarnock communities identified a demand for a weekend walking group and increased social interaction. Our funding will support Elevat8 to initiate a Saturday morning walk accessible to all including the unemployed and particularly those with long-term conditions. Utilising their existing work with community partners including the Community Connectors based in GP practices, the walking group will offer an inclusive and beneficial environment for physical and mental wellbeing, reducing social isolation and improving community connections.

Sole Sisters, Fife - Sole Sisters is a new walking project managed by Fife Migrants Forum for local and migrant women in Kirkcaldy. The project will use walking and “a good blether” to support women, especially those with young families, who may experience isolation and a lack of accessible physical activity opportunities. They hope that by taking part in weekly cross-cultural walks, women will improve their health and wellbeing as well as gain confidence in their language skills and in dealing with day to day situations that will help them to make the most of their local area. We are delighted to support this project as it is helping to address some of the health inequality that migrant women may face. We look forward to hearing how it progresses over the next year.

Rosemount Lifelong Learning, Royston - Rosemount Lifelong Learning, based in Royston, use learning to improve the lives of children, young people and adults and work to tackle disadvantage, poverty and social exclusion. We are delighted to be supporting Rosemount Lifelong Learning to develop two walking groups - an accessible, intergenerational group which will bring together both under-fives and older adults from the local area and a second walking group which seeks to offer a friendly, welcoming and inclusive longer walk to the wider community and which will work alongside existing local projects supporting those who are isolated and vulnerable or do not have English as a first language, women’s recovery, children and young people affected by parental addictions, and young parents. As 2018 is the Year of Young People, we were particularly struck by this project’s great ambition to bring the offer of walking to such a variety of ages and especially to vulnerable young people. We look forward to seeing the project develop.

These grants are supported by the Scottish Government. Click here to find out more about our Walking for Health programme.