Why find out about the benefits of a path network?

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family cyclingAfter the hard work of actually creating or extending a path network, you will probably want to find out whether the effort was worthwhile. You might begin to wonder how many people are using the network, who is benefiting from all your hard graft and how you might get more resources to look after these paths in the future.  In order to keep everyone else interested in the fact that paths are for people to enjoy, you need to find out what the benefits are for your network, and to tell the world about them.

Here are some good reasons why it is useful to look more closely at the benefits of paths:

sec-111.1    Improving the network for users' needs

While you were developing your network, you probably spent time thinking about who was going to use the paths and what their various needs might be.  The big question is...  did you get this right? Have you managed to meet the demand from all the groups in your area, and if not, what's missing?

1.2    Improving the way you manage the network

As well as knowing whether you have provided the right kinds of paths, you might find it useful to know whether you can manage them more effectively.  Again, this depends on the expectations of users, now they have had a chance to try out the paths.  

1.3    Helping to secure funding

You may be looking for more funding, whether it’s to improve that wet section by the burn, or to help keep the vegetation under control.  You might even be looking for the next major phase of investment.

A well presented funding bid is likely to score more highly if you can show what you have achieved so far, what benefits you have brought and what people think of the existing work.  There will always be pressure on funds, so making your case in terms of benefits is one way to make it stand out from the crowd.

An equally useful outcome of finding out about the benefits of path networks is to justify the investment you have already made. This could be used to advise your funders of how much impact their money has had or to demonstrate to local organisations that it really was worth the effort of developing a network.

About the toolkit

This toolkit has been designed and written by Walking-the-Talk based on research and initial development by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University

© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh