Walking group win volunteer award for stepping up during lockdown

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WALK with Braveheart, an organised walking group, has gained accreditation for its voluntary services throughout the pandemic.

The team of volunteers, who do group walks around Clackmannanshire, supported locals throughout Covid-19 by dropping off shopping and essentials to people shielding from the virus.

As well as providing for the community during lockdown, the group were praised for encouraging family and friends to walk, cycle or use public transport where possible.

Walk with Braveheart won the award for its contribution and support to the community through its work alongside Paths for All, a national charity providing free volunteer-led walks for people.

The group has been recognised as the winner of Active Travel Group of the Year at Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2021.

Walk leader Ann said: “We are a walking group who encourage people to get out on walks, for both their mental and physical health.

“The group’s role really changed during lockdown, we were getting people groceries, prescriptions, even walking their dogs if they were shielding!”

Walk with Braveheart is a key project within the Braveheart Association, based in Falkirk, which supports individuals to improve their health and wellbeing through walking, health support and long-term conditions groups.

Ann said: “It’s amazing that the group’s getting recognition for its work. The people helping out, volunteering and taking part, it makes up such a big impact on not just themselves but the community.”

The group were commended at the awards ceremony which was held virtually for the second year and was hosted by BBC Radio Scotland’s Fiona Stalker.

Ann, and the rest of Walk with Braveheart are among 11 different winners at the 12th annual Volunteer Awards that highlighted the outstanding work carried out by volunteers across the country.

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

Kevin Lafferty, Chief Executive Office at Paths for All, said: “Groups like Walk with Braveheart highlight the very reason why we host an annual awards ceremony.

“It is vital that we celebrate and shed light on the outstanding work that volunteers carry out in local communities across Scotland on a daily basis.

“Our volunteer’s 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.

“Hearing the inspirational stories during the award ceremony has highlighted that it is not just enough to say thank you – the work undertaken has provided a life line for many and for that we’re forever grateful.”

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’ initiative to improve the mental, social and physical health of the country.

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

To find out more which Health Walks you can join in Clackmannanshire, visit: www.pathsforall.org.uk/healthwalkfinder