Buggy walking groups are a lifeline

Retired midwife, Susan Kennedy set up buggy walking walking groups for new parents and carers to feel supported.

Susan Kennedy, Walk Leader with Forth Valley Bumps and Babies

The 58-year-old has been recognised as the winner of the Ian Findlay Outstanding Achievement Award at Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2021 for her support and determination with the project.

Susan has been involved in local buggy walks for over seven years and with her experience has gone the extra mile to provide continuous support for individuals expecting a baby, as well as new parents and parents or carers of toddlers. 

Throughout lockdown the original group was stopped however when restrictions allowed Susan was determined to reinstate the group. 

Susan played a crucial role in development the new group to ensure that parents and carers from all walks of life felt part of a community and had a safe space to share their worries.

Susan said:

A lot of parents were doing post-natal appointments online throughout lockdown and many felt there just wasn’t a way for parents to express their concerns, feelings and to get general advice. 

When you hear individuals talk about the impact the group has had on them and how much better it has made them feel, it’s just amazing and makes everything worthwhile. 

New parents can be so isolated, so I would say just to come along and give it a go. No one has to book; they just have to come along. It can provide a great support system and opportunity to exercise in a busy period of being a parent.

The group provides a fantastic service and a bit of support to people who really need it. It’s a raw environment when your just side by side walking.

Susan started the walking group and reached out to Paths for All for support, it has since given the group a real sense of purpose.

Susan added:

Everyone has been so thankful that we are able to get back out again socialising – it’s a big thanks to Paths for All. When I’m leading the group and hear the chatting behind me, it really does give me a lift.

We really thrive for a relaxing environment so if you don’t feel like chatting that day, that’s fine. We have a really good Facebook group that helps everyone keep in touch and even get support through that.

At first I was shocked to hear I’d won the award but feel really proud and delighted to be recognised for this work.

Watch her video below.

The Ian Findlay Outstanding Volunteer Award was created in honour of Paths for All's long-standing Chief Officer Ian Findlay CBE  who passed away suddenly in March 2021. A committed volunteer himself he was also a strong advocate for volunteers being recognised, thanked and celebrated. The annual Paths for All's Volunteer Award ceremony was a key highlight for him in the organisation's busy calendar of events.

Find out more about Forth Bumps and Babies.

Susan was among 11 winners at Paths for All's 12th annual Volunteers Awards. You can find out about the rest of the winners here.