Scots recognised in national volunteer awards

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BBC’s Fiona Stalker hosts Paths for All’s annual volunteer award ceremony

STIRLING, SCOTLAND – AUGUST 24: A Paths For All staff headshot session at Stirling Court Hotel on August 24, 2021, in Stirling, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Volunteers have been recognised for their work to improve the health of local communities and going the extra mile throughout the pandemic at a national award ceremony.

Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2021 showcased inspiring volunteers and projects who have helped others lead happier, healthier and greener lives.

The Volunteer Awards received more than 80 different project entries to this year’s awards ceremony held virtually for the second year on 23 November and hosted by BBC Radio Scotland’s Fiona Stalker.

Outstanding work was acknowledged in 11 different categories at the 12th Annual Volunteer Awards.

Stephen Whiston from Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has been named Step Count Champion of the Year.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Countryside Trust’s Fran Crumley from West Dunbartonshire has been recognised as Project Coordinator of the Year.

Margaret Mackie from Angus won Dementia Friendly Walking Volunteer with Kirrie Connections Walking Group.

Inverclyde Bothy Health Walk Project (managed by Cycling UK) has been recognised as the winners of Health Walk Group of the Year.

Ayrshire Sportsability and RNIB Scotland walking group has been recognised as the winners of Volunteer Diversity Award.

Clackmannanshire project group, Walk with Braveheart has been named Active Travel Group of the Year.

Scottish Borders local Ian Gibb, who co-founded the Earlston Paths Group, has been recognised as the winner of Community Path Volunteer of the Year.

Former Chair of The Bike Station and Edinburgh local, Alan Brown has been recognised as winner of Active Travel Volunteer of the year.

Edinburgh group, The Hit Squad from the Water of Leith Conservation Trust were named winners of the Community Path Group of the Year.

Terry MacTaggart from Fife has been recognised as the winner of the Health Walk Volunteer of the Year.

Susan Kennedy from Stirling has been awarded the Ian Findlay Outstanding Achievement Award.

This award was created in honour of Paths for All’s late Chief Officer, Ian Finlay CBE, who passed away suddenly in March this year.

He volunteered for many organisations himself and believed that volunteers should be recognised for their role in building strong and resilient communities.

Staff felt a volunteer award would be a fitting legacy for how he influenced the role of walking across transport, health and environmental policies in Scotland.

Retired midwife Susan supported new parents throughout the pandemic when many other groups were not available. Her determination to bring people together made her the ideal winner of the first Ian Findlay Outstanding Volunteer award.

Kevin Lafferty, Paths for All’s new Chief Executive Officer, said: “Getting outside and going for a walk is so valuable for our own personal health and for the health of our planet so it is vital that we celebrate the outstanding work carried out by volunteers to make safe environments.

“Their invaluable contribution is directly working to improve the nation’s physical, mental and social health which has been evident throughout the pandemic, with many going above and beyond their normal duties.”

Nearly 350 volunteers received certificates of thanks to recognise the outstanding support they have provided in their community for more people to benefit from every day walking, cycling and wheeling activities.

Paths for All works with the Scottish Government and 30 partners to support and deliver national policies, such as the National Walking Strategy and other ‘active travel’ initiatives to improve the mental, social and physical health of the country.

The charity supports local authorities and communities to develop inclusive environments for people to be active; whether walking, cycling or wheeling.

It also awards thousands of pounds worth of grants to worthwhile projects that improve health, promote walking and improve environments for people to be active in.

Watch the ceremony on Paths for All’s You Tube channel.

To find out about Health Walks you can join, visit: www.pathsforall.org.uk/healthwalkfinder