Monday, 6 December 2010

Getting Inactive People Walking (6/12/10)

This morning the Ramblers launched the independent evaluation findings from our Get Walking Keep Walking scheme. The event took place at Boris's headquarters in London and is one of four similar events across England (the others being in Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester).  We had lots of people from local councils and the NHS there, and it was great to see Peter Skipp and Mavis Rear too, in their role as trustees of Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust (which part-funds the scheme along with the Big Lottery Fund). 

For those who don't know, Get Walking Keep Walking is a 12-week 'walking course' aimed at people who currently do little physical activity. The idea is to encourage them to get the 'walking bug' and to carry on walking independently after the course finishes. We're now three years through the four years of funding.  600 volunteers have been involved in either leading the walks or designing the walking routes. 

The evaluation shows that, three months after finishing the course, participants maintain a significantly higher level of walking. A very high proportion report a greater feeling of well-being as a result. None of this will be a shock to us regular walkers, because we already know the benefits of walking.  But it does highlight the impact of this scheme.  

This work is not in competition with our work to safeguard and extend footpaths and access. The two go hand-in-hand.  Both are covered in our charitable objectives (see the one below on promoting walking).  

One thing that strikes me is how many Ramblers walks leaders also lead 'health walks' in their local areas.  There are sometimes tie-ups locally between the Ramblers and these health walks. But often there isn't - even when they have the same walk leader. Shouldn't this be more common?  There may be people from
the health walks who go on to join the Ramblers. And there's no reason why the Ramblers shouldn't directly organise more health walks, or at least help to promote all the different local walking opportunities.   

[Here's our charitable objective on 'promoting walking', written in slightly flowery language:  "To promote, encourage or assist in...the provision of facilities for the organising of open-air recreational activities and in particular rambling and mountaineering with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities are intended, namely the public at large, and in the interests of social welfare (including health)"]

Tom Franklin
Sent from my iPhone


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The Ramblers' Association is a registered charity (England & Wales no 1093577, Scotland no SC039799) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (no 4458492). Registered office: 2nd floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW.

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