Charity celebrates locals for giving the gift of walking
SCOTLAND’S national walking charity is celebrating 14,000 dedicated volunteers who are helping to get Scots walking and wheeling each week.
To mark International Volunteer Day, Paths for All is thanking those giving up their time to support the health of others whilst calling on those interested in walking to help facilitate and encourage more people to take up the past time.
One volunteer who has dedicated her time is 70-year-old Ruth McDonogh, from Tongue, who for almost a decade has been committed to bringing community members together through walking, while helping to fight social isolation in rural communities.
Ruth has served as a Walk Coordinator for the Tongue Walking Group, based in Tongue, where she helps lead free weekly walks in the local area for people of all ages and abilities.
She said: “Being a part of a walking group isn’t just for the health benefits, it gives everyone an opportunity to socialise and provides people with support when they might be struggling.
“We have helped each other through bereavement, difficult times and have provided people with a safe space to chat. We have also celebrated happy times together with birthdays and cake featuring regularly!
“It is very rewarding to see people make positive progression in their walking. In the first week they might only be able walk 100 yards, and the next week they go for 200 yards. It makes me proud to be a part of a group that can support someone no matter their ability and help improve their health.
“For me, being a Walk Coordinator allows me the opportunity to make connections and links throughout the community which I otherwise wouldn’t have made. Each week, I learn something new from a fellow walker – whether it’s about local wildlife, history, or more.”
Paths for All hopes shining a spotlight on walking and wheeling champions like Ruth will encourage like-minded individuals to consider volunteering and inspire more people to walk or wheel every day, everywhere.
Kevin Lafferty, CEO of Paths for All, said: “Walking offers immense benefits. It can substantially improve physical health, provide opportunities to connect with nature, forge new friendships, and reduce your environmental impact – all while discovering the hidden charm of neighbourhoods and landscapes nearby.
“Becoming a Walk Leader can be extremely rewarding, and I hope Ruth’s story will inspire others to join this fulfilling journey. Giving back and helping others is a great way to release positive emotions and make new friends. Ruth’s experience serves as a terrific example of the positive impact one can have by taking on the role of a Walk Leader.”
Health Walks like the Tongue Walking Group are free and welcome those of all abilities, including wheelchair users and those living with disabilities.
The walking groups take place all over Scotland and support the most inactive people to engage in active travel.
Paths for All facilitates over 850 Health Walks across Scotland, with over 14,000 dedicated volunteers leading and assisting the groups.
To find out more about being a Walk Leader, or volunteering, visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/walking-for-health/wfh-volunteering
For more information on Paths for All’s, visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/