Portobello walking group lauded for its dementia friendly inclusivity

Caring citizens win coveted active travel award

Portobello Prom – Ageing Well won the prestigious Dementia Friendly Walking Volunteer Group of the Year at our Volunteer Awards 2023.

We were thrilled to recognise a dedicated group of individuals who run a weekly walking group at our annual awards presentation.

The group, set up with Edinburgh Leisure, enables individuals to walk at a leisurely pace across the seaside promenade as a way of keeping people active and connected who may otherwise struggle to do so.

More than 20 participants join the walks on a weekly basis, some of whom live with dementia. The Ageing Well team has accommodating those individuals through specialist training which has been coordinated by Paths for All and Edinburgh Leisure.

Volunteer Walk Leader, David Simpson said:

The group was set up many years ago to provide people with an outlet to come and interact with others while also keeping active.


“There is a huge variety of individuals who attend our walks and some of those people do live with dementia, for them – and their loved ones and carers – it’s a great chance to get out and about and speak with other people who may be living with something similar.”

“As Walk Leaders we try and do our best to keep the participants happy and motivated.”

While keeping active is great, it’s the social aspect of walking which I feel is really powerful, and so becoming a Walk Leader was an easy way to give back to my community.


Kay Parsons, Active Communities Supervisor (Volunteers) at Edinburgh Leisure, said:  “Winning the Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Walking Volunteer Group of the Year 2023 award is testament to the hard work, friendliness, and ability of all the volunteers to make those attending feel included and welcome.

“The Ageing Well Portobello Walking group volunteers have been going for years, keeping our Dementia Friendly walk going in all weathers in Scotland.

They go up and down Portobello Prom, and for many of our 20-30 odd weekly participants, this is the only time they get outside into the fresh air.

“They get to enjoy the seaside air, a stroll and a chat and tea in a cafe afterwards. The volunteers keep them motivated and laughing, and one participant told me she "forgets she has Dementia when on a walk with the volunteers.”

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