A short walk every day can do us the world of good
South Ayrshire Council has secured funding of £10,000 from Scottish charity Paths For All.
The money will be used to significantly increase the number of people who choose to walk in South Ayrshire over the next 12 months. There is an option for an additional £10,000 if targets are met during the first year.
The Council's Sport and Leisure team will work in partnership with the charity to improve physical, social and mental health and well-being by providing a range of new health walks, workplace walking programmes and training for volunteer walk leaders.
Schools are set to play a key role with the Council keen to involve children and young people even if it's just walking around their school. The funding will also be used to raise the profile of the benefits of walking.
Councillor Brian McGinley, Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure Portfolio Holder said: "This is a very welcome announcement as the funding will help drive forward our ambition to improve the health and well-being of people across South Ayrshire. Paths For All has enjoyed great success with campaigns across Scotland, so I'm delighted they will work with us to promote the benefits of walking.
"We can make a huge difference to our lives just by undertaking a bit of exercise every day. Walking is such a simple thing and most of us can easily incorporate it into our daily lives. We have some great scenery to enjoy and a rich network of paths, so whether you're looking to get fit or just want some fresh air, get out there and give walking a go."
Colin Ward, Paths for Health Development Officer said: "We are delighted that this funding will enable South Ayrshire Council to increase and extend the walking opportunities for young people and adults in the area.
"Joining a Health Walk group can make a huge difference to people's lives, giving them support to get active and feel better physically, as well enjoying the social aspects of getting outdoors with a friendly group.
"We look forward to seeing the project flourish with more people walking regularly and feeling happier and healthier as a result."
Doreen Rankin joined one of the Health Walks in June last year and she is really feeling the benefit: "I was finding that I wasn't doing enough exercise and felt that it would encourage me to be out and about throughout the year.
"I enjoy the company of walking in a group and I always feel much better for having had some fresh air for the hour we are out.
"I have recently completed a Paths For All course which I found to be very informative and useful."