Denise transforms Borders Health Walks from three to 42

'Walk It' Project Coordinator was celebrated at our 2023 Volunteer Awards

Denise Carmichael was recognised for her commitment in transforming accessible walking groups in the Borders.

Denise, from 'Walk It' was awarded the Health Walk Project Coordinator of the Year at our 2023 Volunteer Awards.

Denise joined the organisation in 2009. The group aims to reduce health inequalities and build networks to tackle long term health conditions.

Walk It worked across geographic areas of greatest inequality until 2010, then evolved into a Borders wide service to promote physical activity and wellness.

Denise, who works for the Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders, has worked tirelessly to recruit, train and develop a team of around 100 dedicated, active Walk Leaders that share her passion and commitment to health improvement. The group now facilitates 42 weekly Health Walks across the Borders.

Denise of Walk it, said: “I have been in post for 14 years now and when I began the position, we had three Health Walks that were active and two that were inactive. I spent the first five years in growing the project extensively in the Scottish Borders and building up my network of partners as well as recruiting and training Walk Leaders.

“I have always been a very keen walker and was interested in the position for Walk It when I saw it.  I became heavily involved in Health and Fitness in 2007 and this seemed like a good fit with the benefits of walking, socially, mentally and physically and that was it – straight away I was engaged with Paths for All.

The success I have experienced would not have been possible without the volunteers, they have certainly made this role very enjoyable and I hope that more and more people will pick up an interest in walking and joining one of our many groups in the future.

The award winner regularly hosts training to encourage people to pick up active Walk Leader training, Strength and Balance training and Dementia Friendly training. Denise also helped develop courses on basic map reading and navigation, as well as first aid, outdoor leadership and all accessibility training for all participating Walk Leaders.

Denise Carmichael was commended at Paths for All’s 14th annual awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on 27 September.

View the full list of winners from our 2023 Volunteer Awards here.