A walking group for all ages and abilities

JIC Walking Group in Fraserburgh received the Health Walk Group of the Year award for working to improve the health, confidence and social skills of many in their local community.

Bess Gray (centre) pictured with Carol Masson and Kirsty Muirden from NHS Grampian

The JIC Walking Group was originally started by NHS staff but is now solely volunteer led. The group has been successfully running for 35 years and attracts 40 weekly walkers with a range of health conditions and support needs.

The group offers different levels of Health Walks around the town to suit different abilities - ranging from shorter, slow paced walks to a faster-paced 60 minute walk.

With the help of trained volunteers, the group also offers strength and balance exercises before every walk, and are recognised as a Macmillan Friendly project, supporting those living with cancer and helping them to become more active.
The group has been praised not just for improving the health of participants, but for building life-long friendships and for making people feel included in their community.

Alec Urquhart a member of the JIC Walking Group said: “Everyone was very happy when we were told we won the award.
“The club is so much more than a walking club, it really is more of a social club. We recently went on a day trip to Stonehaven and we’re going to the pantomime at Christmas time.
“The JIC walking group really has helped me. I started going because Macmillan introduced me to the group whilst I was getting my cancer treatment. I can’t do the longer walks just now because of my treatment, but I’m really hoping to move onto them when I finish the treatment.”

Carol Masson who nominated the group for the award said: “What really shines through about this project is how much the walkers gain from being part of the group - which again is reflected in their attendance and length of time the group have been active.
“The social aspects of the walks are clearly a very important focus for the JIC group, who organise a number of social events out with the regular walk - from Burn’s suppers to day trips.
“Statistically, the Banff and Buchan area has had a poorer health status and lifestyle profile in comparison to the rest of Aberdeenshire, and this is part of the reason why I think a project like this one, which improves the health and wellbeing of so many, is so valuable to this community.”