Almost 200 volunteers, supporters and friends turned out for the ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, 10th September after being nominated for their outstanding contribution to making their communities happier and healthier.
The event, a highlight of our year, recognised volunteers who help us realise our goal of significantly increasing the number of people who choose to walk in Scotland.
They included Health Walk leaders, regional walking project coordinators, volunteers who create and improve paths and walking routes, and those who organise walks for people affected by cancer or dementia.
Hosted by BBC presenter Fiona Stalker, the event also recognised young people involved in our innovative Path Skillz programme and those who have motivated colleagues to walk more at work during our Step Count Challenge.
Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, who presented the awards, said
Increasing physical activity across Scotland is a top priority, and thanks to the hard work of these volunteers, many more are now able to lead a healthier lifestyle.
It has been truly heartwarming to learn about how they have so positively impacted their local communities.
Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “Events like the Volunteer Awards really showcase the outstanding dedication of volunteers who support all areas of our work.
“We know that walking is one of the best things we can do for our social, mental and physical health, and, across the country, volunteers are reinforcing this message by doing everything from leading a weekly Health Walk to making paths and walking routes more accessible.
“We remain indebted to the people who continue to give up their time to encourage and inspire more people to walk.”
Here’s a full list our winners of the Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2019:
Community Path Volunteer of the Year - Gillian Craig, Ayrshire Coastal Path
Gillian joined Ayrshire Coastal Path three years ago to carry out maintenance work on the 100-mile walking route from Glenapp to Skelmorlie. Using social media and leading walks on different sections she has helped to increase awareness of Ayrshire Coastal Path.
Community Path Group of the Year - Dunnet Forest, Caithness, Highland
This group care for 12kms of paths in the most northerly forest in Scotland. Supported by staff, the dedicated team keep the path network clear for horse riders, mountain bikers, walkers, wheelchair users and cyclists.
Path Skillz Young Person of the Year - Colin Mckenzie, Parklea, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde
Colin joined Path Skillz to gain social and practical skills through learning how to design and build a path. Activities included getting to know team members and understanding path problems.
Path Skillz Group of the Year - Getting Better Together, Shotts, Lanarkshire
Getting Better Together worked with a group of pupils from Calderhead High School on a Path Skillz project to resurface 100m of disused path in Shotts to transform it into a safe and welcoming walking and cycling route.
Active Travel Volunteer of the Year - David Hunter, Living Streets Edinburgh
David has been improving the walking environment in the capital by campaigning to remove pavement clutter. His work helped led to a ban on mobile advertising boards by the City of Edinburgh Council in 2018.
Active Travel Project of the Year - Falkirk Active Travel Hub, Falkirk
Falkirk Active Travel Hub support people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys. They supported the creation of an active travel hub at Lornshill Academy in Clackmannanshire and have launched Scotland’s largest electric bike scheme at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. This the UK’s first cross regional e-bike scheme connecting Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire with 120 e-bikes for hire.
Health Walk Volunteer of the Year - Alison Archibald, Active Stirling
A Walk Leader for 13 years, Alison leads three walks every week in her local area, including a new walk from a retirement complex in Bridge of Allan. She is described as humble, hardworking, dedicated, reliable, keen, helpful, enthusiastic, experienced, articulate, knowledgeable, kindhearted and selfless.
Health Walk Volunteer Group of the Year - Rouken Glen Walkers, Walk ER, East Renfrewshire
The group started 20 years ago with 12 walkers and one volunteer. Over the years it has developed into three walks with 14 volunteers and almost 200 registered walkers. The walkers from Rouken Glen say volunteer Walk Leaders are extremely caring and supportive, giving up their time to offer a range of routes.
Dementia Friendly Walking Volunteer of the Year - Julie Twaddell, Dementia Friendly Prestwick, South Ayrshire
A founder member and trustee of the charity Dementia Friendly Prestwick, Julie is passionate about enabling those living with dementia to remain active, included, and valued within their community. Julie started the Dementia Friendly Health Walk along Prestwick promenade last summer and, along with two other volunteers, completed Paths for All training.
Macmillan Walk Leader Award - George Craster, Move More Borders
Walking during and after cancer treatment can help prevent and manage fatigue, depression and risks to heart health associated with treatment. George is a Macmillan Cancer Friendly trained volunteer Walk Leader who has been supporting two Macmillan Cancer Friendly Walks in Jedburgh and Kelso over the past two years.
Volunteer Manager of the Year - Paula Hubens, Get Walking Lanarkshire
The project has grown under Paula’s stewardship with 129 volunteer Walk Leaders leading 38 community walks and 15 closed walks per week. She's worked hard to encourage new people to walk and has helped set up the first British Sign Language Health Walk for deaf people locally.
Step Count Champion of the Year - Cheryl White, Piramal Pharma Solutions, Grangemouth
The Step Count Challenge encourages workplaces to support their staff’s health and wellbeing.
Cheryl was nominated by her team, Quads of Fury 2019. This was the company’s first year taking part with Cheryl achieving the highest number of steps and she put in a great effort to get and keep everyone motivated.
Each winner was presented with an award, a certificate, £250 towards their project and a £30 gift voucher.