Walking project at Edinburgh drug rehabilitation centre hailed a success

An innovative new trial scheme has been hailed as a success, after introducing staff and service users at a Lothian drug treatment testing centre to the benefits of walking.

During the last 12 months, Ramblers Scotland has been working with the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian’s Drug Treatment Testing Order office (DTTO) to offer walking routes to people undergoing drug treatment – as well as to busy NHS staff – via its Medal Routes project.

The Medal Routes project offers maps for 15, 30 and 60-minute circular walks at 80 locations throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians. 

Organisers of the project are delighted with the popularity of the scheme. They awarded certificates and book tokens to the most active staff and service users at a prize-giving event at The Grindlay Court Centre in Edinburgh on Thursday 1 February.

Cllr Ian Campbell, vice convener of culture and communities at the City of Edinburgh Council said: “We have been delighted to be involved with this pilot and our staff and services users who have been involved have been very positive about their experiences. To name just a few benefits - walking boosts your mood, helps you sleep better and reduces stress and anxiety.”

Ramblers Scotland director Jess Dolan said: “We’re really pleased that Medal Routes has helped improve the health and happiness of those using the DTTO office and its services, by encouraging people to enjoy all the benefits of walking.

“Participants in this trial join thousands of other people across Scotland who have used the Medal Routes project to find and enjoy free, fun walks in their local area.

“This pilot is a first for the Medal Routes project, and we now hope that we can work with other partners and hard-to-reach audiences across Scotland, as the feedback has been really positive.”

Participants were encouraged to take part by DTTO officers, with the vast majority reporting that short walks had a positive impact on their mood, wellbeing and health.

This new approach forms part of the wider Medal Routes project, funded by NHS Lothian and run by Ramblers Scotland, which aims to encourage inactive Edinburgh and Lothian residents and NHS staff to be more active.