Saturday, 8 October 2011

Celebrating Volunteers of the Get Walking Keep Walking project (8/10/11)

Four years ago, when Get Walking Keep Walking started, our goal was to recruit 750 volunteers to help bring Get Walking to 86,300 people.

Four years later, 910 volunteers have helped 87,600 people to walk more. 1,700 short walking routes have been designed and mapped by volunteers, and 500 12-week walking programmes have been organised - all with the vital help of volunteers.

Today, as the original funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust draws to a close, we held a celebration in Birmingham for 100 volunteers from all the Get Walking locations.

We heard from Salle Dare, who got involved in the Ramblers through Get Walking and went on to set up the Manchester and Salford Ramblers Group; from Terry Howard, long-time from Sheffield Ramblers, about how much pleasure he gets from introducing new people to walking. And we went out on a walk around the canals of central Birmingham, following the route of one of the first walks developed for Get Walking - for the nearby Chinese community.

Get Walking has helped to change the Ramblers. We've shown we can deliver large scale projects; and we've reached out to a more diverse Britain.

Although the original funding is drawing to a close, Get Walking lives on. A new project has recently started in County Durham, and with the help of Leicestershire and Rutland Ramblers, we'll be starting Get Walking Leicester early next year. We hope to use our experience to take on Walking for Health from the government.

The Ramblers General Council this year approved a resolution calling for Get Walking to live on, and we're determined to make sure that happens. All Ramblers Areas and Groups can help by lobbying their local councils to work with the Ramblers to bring Get Walking to their area.

A heartfelt thank you to all the 910 people who have given their time and energy to help others take up walking through Get Walking. I hope you will stay involved for the next chapter, too.

No comments: