Pictured: L-R Andy Millar (Built and Natural Heritage Manager, SBC); Cindy Armstrong (Health Walk Volunteer of the Year finalist and Volunteer Walk Leader); Denise Carmichael (Volunteer Manager of the Year and Walk It Co-ordinator); Kevan Sanderson (Health Improvement Lead, Physical Activity and Children & Young People, NHS Borders)
Denise Carmichael, Project Co-ordinator with the joint Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and NHS Borders ‘Walk It’ project has been named volunteer manager of the year by Scottish charity, Paths for All.
Denise was recognised for her commitment, dedication and excellent people skills. When she began with the Walking for Health project in 2009, there were five health walks in the Scottish Borders; there are now 23. While there were six volunteer walk leaders, there are now 72. All this has resulted in a 360% increase in the number walkers taking part. Moreover, a recent Social Return on Investment study found that for every £1 invested in the Walk It project there was a social return of £8.
Volunteer Walk Leader, Cindy Armstrong was one of the finalists for the Health Walk Volunteer of the Year category for her contribution to the Peebles Walk It Monday morning Health Walk. This is a large, mixed ability group where Cindy is recognised for always being accommodating, reliable and very professional.
Sponsored by MSP Patricia Ferguson, the national Paths for All awards aim to celebrate the achievements of volunteers involved in Walking for Health and developing community paths. They were presented at a ceremony in Edinburgh at the end of last year, which was chaired by Broadcaster and President of Paths for All, Mark Stephen.
MSP Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport handed out the certificates, saying: “Volunteers play an important role in delivering sport and physical activity across the whole of Scotland. Recognising and celebrating the contribution and difference they can make is hugely important. I’m delighted that these awards highlight this contribution to help Scots live longer, healthier lives, and wholeheartedly congratulate all our walking champions for their dedication and inspiration.”
Paths for All Chief Officer, Ian Findlay added: “Our volunteer awards are a great opportunity to recognise, reward and celebrate the role of volunteers who are enabling everyone, everywhere to walk everyday. Well done to the winners and all 41 nominees.”
Councillor Ron Smith, SBC’s Executive Member for Planning and Environment said: “We are fortunate here in the Borders to be surrounded by countryside that offers a tremendous variety of walking opportunities. Many congratulations to Denise on encouraging so many more of us to get out and about and make the most of what is right on our doorstep, with all the health and wellbeing benefits that being more active brings.”