Scotland’s leading walking charities have launched a new National Award to celebrate the people, organisations and communities who are supporting others to enjoy an active lifestyle.
The first-ever Scottish Walking Awards will showcase a broad range of inspiring walking projects – from businesses, councils, land managers and housing associations to the journalists, staff and local volunteers who inspire others to step out.
The Scottish Walking Awards launches on 4 February 2021, and features ten categories celebrating a wide range of contributions to getting people moving more in Scotland – as well as an overall Champion of Champions. The awards are being organised by Ramblers Scotland, Paths for All and Living Streets Scotland, in conjunction with the National Walking Strategy Delivery Forum.
The awards’ organisers encourage nominations from all regions of Scotland and all sections of society, including projects supporting people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Anyone can make a nomination using a simple online form before the deadline on 31 March, and winners will be selected by an expert judging panel in April.
“Over the past year we have seen how important walking and wheeling is to the people of Scotland. With thanks to the many inspiring projects within our communities, people have rediscovered their local areas while keeping active during challenging times. I’m pleased to support Ramblers Scotland, Paths for All and Living Streets Scotland with the first Scottish Walking Awards to celebrate the people and places that are helping us to keep walking and enjoy the benefits of being active.”
Public Sector Walking Champion
An individual or organisation within the public sector who has made an outstanding impact upon walking and/or wheeling for their areas or organisations.
Community Walking Champion / Campaigner
An individual or organisation who has championed, or campaigned for, walking/wheeling in their community. This could for example be a community group or resource, a local project, or an individual volunteer or community campaigner.
Business Walking Champion
A private business or paid staff member who has successfully promoted walking/wheeling to employees, customers, suppliers or managers.
Walking Champion in Education
Open to individuals or organisations working to create a culture of more walking and wheeling within the education sector.
Healthcare Professional Walking Champion
Paid staff teams or individuals who are promoting walking within a healthcare environment.
Social Housing Association Walking Champion
A Housing Association, or staff member within, that has actively promoted walking and wheeling to its residents.
Media Walking Champion
An organisation or individual with the media, online or social media world who has made a significant positive impact for walking/wheeling.
Overall Champion of Champions
Chosen by the judging panel from the winners of each category.
An award for excellence in research, technology or innovative practice that has promoted, highlighted or evidenced the benefits of walking/wheeling. Nominees could be entire universities, research groups, colleges and think tanks - or individuals or teams within.
Most Improved Walking Place
This category celebrates places that have been significantly important for walking and wheeling within the past two years.
Land Manager Walking Champion
An individual or organisation within the land management sector who has taken proactive steps to support, develop and welcome walking and/or wheeling on their land within the past two years. This could include anyone from sporting, forestry and agricultural landowners, to NGOs and communities who own or manage land.
Living Streets Scotland director Stuart Hay said:
“Over the last twelve months we’ve seen more and more people start walking more, and start new projects in their communities to help everyone stay active. We want to celebrate these projects and the vitally important role of walking for health, wellbeing, and essential everyday journeys.
“This is particularly important in light of the impact of Covid, and leading up to COP 26 later this year. Scotland can lead the way in celebrating everyday walking and we’re looking forward to celebrating all the fantastic work that’s going on all over the country.”
Paths for All Chief Officer, Ian Findlay CBE said:
“I would encourage all walking and wheeling projects to make nominations in the Scottish Walking Awards 2021. Collectively, we can showcase the transformative role walking plays in reducing health inequalities, lowering carbon emissions, and improving the environment.
“The ability to get out walking during the current lockdown is proving to be a life saver for many people’s mental wellbeing, social connections, and physical health, including my own.
“I want more people to benefit from an improved walking and wheeling environment. For that to happen, we need to demonstrate the outstanding work that is currently taking place.”
Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy said:
“Walking has the power to help create a healthier and happier nation, particularly as we respond to the urgent Covid and climate crises.
“There’s never been a better time to showcase the amazing communities and projects whose tireless work is opening the way for more people to enjoy the many benefits of walking.”
Anyone can submit an entry, including members of the public, volunteers or staff nominating their own organisations or scheme.
We are particularly keen to receive a diverse and inclusive range of nominations – representing all sections of society, areas of Scotland and including projects supporting people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
All nominations should include a significant development or action since spring 2019.
Nominations will close on 31 March 2021, and will be selected by an expert judging panel in April.