Out & About works in North Lanarkshire and the Scottish Borders to improve and maintain wellbeing through walking. 

We co-produce activities with older people to support access to walking, and build confidence and social connection.    

What we do

Walking promotion

Walking

Our Buddy Walksupport people who want to build their confidence and motivation to undertake short everyday walks, and supports people to get back into the walking habit.  

Walkers are “buddied up” with a partner, and plan short walks together in the local area. The walks take place over a four-week period and are taken at the walkers' pace and level of confidence. At the end of the walks, walkers can join other walking activities to maintain their confidence and fitness levels. 

This pilot pilot project ran between June 2020 and May 2021, and at the end the majority of walkers felt it had been a real benefit to them. The participants have reported they are walking short distances by themselves which they didn't have the confidence or motivation to do before. 

 

 

 

Impact 

The Project Coordinator referred people to Path for All's Health Walk programme, and there is an opportunity to develop this informal referral system in partnership with other health services. We hope that these walks will lead to participants improving and then maintaining their activity levels, and going on to take part in other initiatives to meet new people and making social connections in their local community. Participants can also get involved with their local Out and About group, which work in partnership with older people to improve and/or maintain wellbeing through walking and have their say about their local streets and pavements.

The Scottish Borders Council Local Area Coordination Team has also developed its own small ‘buddy walking group’ in one of the local towns, and the Scottish Borders Council ‘Walk It’ coordinator is also now rolling out a programme of one to one buddy walks with Walk It volunteers.

 

 

Case study: buddy walks pilot

Out & About case study

Tackling the barriers to walking

The Petersburn Out & About group in Airdrie worked with Trust Housing and North Lanarkshire Council to make walking conditions more accessible for tenants of Dunrobin Sheltered Housing Development. The group worked to install a gate in the boundary fence and provide a link path to the main path to create a shortcut, making it easier and more accessible to walk to the shops. 

This has made a big difference to the residents – but for some, it’s still quite a long walk if there’s no resting place. The group is now working on creating a community garden to provide a pleasant location to walk to, as well as somewhere to rest as part of longer walks. The garden will have raised beds and an accessible path, and local people will be able to do gardening as well as meet others for a chat. We hope it will be ready for the spring (weather and Covid-19 restrictions permitting). 

 

Dunrobin path

Read more about Dunrobin Gardens

 

 

For many people, having somewhere to rest is important – and it can be the difference between being able to go out for a walk or staying at home.  

In the Scottish Borders, the Hawick Out & About group identified key locations for new benches, making it easier for local residents to make everyday journeys by walking, including walking to bus stops.  

The Out & About groups in both Scottish Borders and North Lanarkshire have identified further locations for benches and are working with local councils and contractors to have these installed this year. 

 

Hawick residents

Read more about the Hawick benches

Guide to Getting Better Streets and Pavements

The Guide was co-produced through Walking Connects to support people to take action for better streets and pavements in their area.

We have found that sometimes people need guidance on who to contact, how to explain the issues, and how to make the case for why these issues often disproportionately affect people who are older or have mobility issues. The Out & About groups have used the Guide to help them to identify barriers to walking and consider potential solutions locally. For most groups this has involved having conversations with their local councillors and making the case for why specific improvements would make a difference to their lives. 

Find the guide and other resources - including examples of how the Guide has been used - on our Walking Connects page.  

Walking Connects

Public transport

In partnership with Outside the Box, we supported the development of a Travel with Confidence video to offer reassurance and increase travellers confidence in using Border Buses during the pandemic. 

 

Get in touch

Many of our activities are happening remotely and online due to the ongoing need for physical distancing. But we still want to hear from you! Please send an email to outandabout@livingstreets.org.uk and we’ll let you know how you can get involved.