One fifth of the Scottish population has a disability, but participation in physical activity within this population is very low. Yet, four in five people living with a disability would like to take part in physical activity. Our All Ability Health Walk training aims to support more inclusive and welcoming opportunities for those in local communities living with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of getting outdoors and joining a sociable walk and wheel.
Working in partnership with Scottish Disability Sport we have developed the training course for members of the Scottish Health Walk Network (SHWN). The Scotland-wide network, which includes over 440 member organisations and community groups, deliver over 850 regular Health Walks. The course consists of an e-learning module and in-person classroom session and offers the necessary knowledge and skills an organisation or group may need to identify barriers and challenges to those living with disabilities enjoying physical activity.
Zoë Niven, Senior Development Officer in our Walking for Health team said,
This training really is a positive step in the support Paths for All offer to Walk Leaders across Scotland. The expertise and insight provided by Scottish Disability Sport means we’re better equipped to understand the barriers those with disabilities experience, and how we can create inclusive, accessible, and enjoyable walking and wheeling experiences that everyone can take part in.
Regular walking and wheeling outdoors is incredibly beneficial to physical, mental and social wellbeing - we want everyone to have the opportunity to confidently take part and enjoy it. We’ve seen a positive reception in members of our Network, with several organisations having already completed the training.
These organisations and community groups already deliver a wealth of Health Walks open to people of all abilities, this training really looks to strengthen how we do that, and broaden the reach to those who need it.
Health Walks are free, safe and welcoming low-level walks, generally lasting 30-60 minutes, are designed to reduce health inequalities by boosting physical activity opportunities in local communities where people are more likely to experience long-term health conditions, disabilities and social isolation.
Since the official launch of the training we have successfully offered six courses over the past six months. The course has been offered to Health Walk providers in Aberdeenshire, East Lothian, Outer Hebrides (Stornoway), Loch Lomond and Trossachs, Inverclyde and the Highlands.
Once the training has been completed, Network members will have the confidence to explore a variety of solutions and deliver effective communications to make their Health Walks even more welcoming and inclusive.
Whilst the All Ability Health Walk training is only available to members of the Scottish Health Walk Network, community groups and organisations keen to get involved can explore joining the Scottish Health Walk Network by visiting our dedicated page at www.pathsforall.org.uk/walking-for-health.
Watch our promotional video with Inverclyde Bothy, which took place in Gourock earlier this year.