An inspiring Volunteer Walk Leader has been recognised for her role in doubling the size and frequency of the regions local evening walking groups.
Claire Henderson, Walk Leader of ‘The Right Step’ has been awarded Health Walk Volunteer of the year at the 2023 Volunteer Awards.
As a dedicated Walk Leader, Claire has been instrumental in leading Bums Off Seats Health Walks in the Fife area, forming an evening walking group in 2021.
In January 2023, Claire started a second evening walk with less than 10 attendees to offer the community a choice of days and areas and formed the ‘The Right Step’ community specifically for the evening Bums off Seats walking groups.
The evening group meets twice a week, with an average of 20 walkers attending each session. As well as regularly meeting for social outings, bringing together community members from all walks of life.
Bums off Seats facilitates 17 weekly walks across Fife and is focused not just on the health benefits of walking, but the social elements by promoting inclusive activity for walkers of all levels and abilities.
Commenting on the award win, Claire said:
I was taken aback when I found out I won the award, I’m just so delighted that our amazing walkers enjoy walking and chatting as much as the walk leaders do.
“I started walking with Bums Off Seats in 2021 which inspired me to do my Walk Leader training and to start the Tuesday evening walking group. I wanted to make sure that there were days suitable for everyone, making the Health Walks more accessible to all members of our community.
“I can’t believe I’ve only been walking with the group for two years, the friendships that have been formed and the people I’ve met have really made this experience so worthwhile. When we’re out on our walks, we’re chatting non-stop, for a number of our walkers, this might be their only social interaction of the week.
“We really do feel like a family, and we all support and encourage each other along the way. There’s never a dull moment when we are together! The group would not be as amazing as it is, without all the wonderful Walk Leaders than have joined me along the way. We now have six qualified leaders and a list of people that would like to become certified and help the community just like we do.”
The Right Step meet on Tuesday evenings in Inverkeithing, and on Thursday evenings in Dunfermline. The group is a branch of Bums Off Seats, a walking initiative facilitated by Fife Council, Active Fife, and Paths for All.
Darren Wyn Jones, Active Communities Team Manager at Fife Council, said:
Claire's commitment and passion to get her local community active through the Bums Off Seats project is fully deserving of this achievement and recognition. Claire is a beacon for the project across the Kingdom.
It is also recognition of the hard work of the Active Communities team and project lead, Lauren Stoddart, and the communities who are joining Claire, and all our other wonderful volunteers, in taking a step towards living an active and healthy life.”
Claire was celebrated at Paths for All’s 14th annual awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on 27 September 2023.
View all of our 2023 Volunteer Award winners by clicking here.