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Active Cairngorms: Taking a step in the right direction

Alan S Melrose, Health Walks Co-ordinator, Active Cairngorms

With Legacy 2014 funding, Active Cairngorms is now successfully managing 39 health walk groups, 80+ volunteer leaders and over 350 active walkers per week.

The project is delivering health improvement and community development across the Cairngorms National Park.

Legacy 2014 funding has enabled the Project to develop new neighbourhood walking groups in Lumsden, Cromdale and Newtonmore and all are on schedule for completing their initial development phase. A Volunteer Walk Leader course in August will ensure they get off to a good start.

A whole community approach to encouraging walking and physical activity

The initiative in Glenlivet (with Glenlivet School and local health walk leaders) is delivering a ‘whole community health walk’ involving pupils, teachers, walk leaders and parents. This exciting initiative has been embraced by the community and can hopefully be cascaded across the Cairngorms National Park. The last joint school and health walk took place on 23 June 2016.

Medical Practice Referral

The major new initiative for the Project has been the launch of our Medical Practice Referral Project.

We are now working in partnership with 4 local Medical Practices to increase levels of physical activity among patients.

New participants are encouraged by the Medical Practice to attend a new local health walk.

Participants are then allocated a physical activity tracker to gauge levels of activity over a 12 week supported Health walk programme.

The project was launched in Tomintoul and has already attracted 14 participants. All is going well, and the results are eagerly awaited.

The project is evaluated with the help of the James Hutton Institute and Strathclyde University

Celebrating Active Volunteers

Our volunteer celebration and training day was a resounding success. The event was held on 26 April 2016 at Glenmore Lodge Training Centre, Aviemore.

The day involved inspiring speeches and outdoor training workshops aimed at enhancing volunteer skills. The volunteers also received branded PPE clothing and certificates to recognise their significant contribution.

Cameron McNeish, broadcaster and adventurer, delivered an inspiring speech supporting the valuable work volunteers deliver on a weekly basis.  Thanks and recognition was also warmly received from Grant Moir, CEO CNPA and Derek Grieve, Head of Active Scotland Division, Scottish Government and Helen Wilson, Paths for All.

Grant Moir commented: “The Park Authority would like to sincerely thank all those volunteers past and present who have given up their time, not just to lead a walk, but also all the time required to attend training and in planning the weekly outings. The dedication of every individual is fully appreciated. Rural areas like the National Park with our wonderful natural environment are the best places to enjoy something physical in the outdoors and you need only change one thing, like walking or cycling to work instead of driving. The Walking to Health Project is an outstanding example of how a partnership between a number of organisations and dedicated volunteers can deliver very real benefits to people.”

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