This week marks the start of Volunteers’ Week (1 to 7 June), an annual celebration of the massive contribution made by millions of volunteers across all walks of life. We’re starting the week by announcing the winners of our President’s Volunteer Awards, as voted for by you:
Best Team Achievement Award: Forest of Dean, Walking For Health Scheme
Since April 2014, 420 walkers have taken part in 597 health walks at 20 different places in the Forest of Dean district. This has only been made possible by a team of over 60 dedicated volunteers. Read more.
Protecting Where We Walk Award: Norman Martin, Graham Read and The South Wilts Group ‘Heavy Gang’
The South Wiltshire Group ‘Heavy Gang’ has evolved over 25 years, but its core mission remains unchanged: to improve and maintain rights of way across South Wiltshire. The work undertaken has been varied but had a huge impact for all walkers. Read more.
Best Individual Achievement Award: Malcolm McDonnell, Sussex Ramblers
Malcolm has been Sussex Area Ramblers’ footpath secretary for 15 years, in which time he has handled 211 definitive path map modification orders and been involved with 15 public enquiries. Undoubtedly his skills and knowledge have had an immeasurable impact on the places people love to walk across East Sussex. Read more.
Leading Walks Award: Jason and Kevin Stuchbery, Walking for Health
Jason and Kevin have been volunteer walk leaders since 2005. As part of the national Walking for Health programme, they lead walks across Herefordshire for people with learning difficulties. Read more.
Promoting Walking Award: Surbjit Mahey, Walking for Health
Surbjit has encouraged thousands of residents to take part in health walks across Hackney’s parks and green spaces. However, her story began as a participant in Walking for Health. Read more.
Running the Ramblers Award: David Howarth, Isle Of Wight Ramblers
David raised more than £70,000 in funding to improve access along stretches of four different footpaths. His initiatives also included the Donate a Gate scheme, which raised £49,000 in five years. However, David’s dedication and passion have led to huge successes at both local and national level. Read more.
Remarkable people giving time
Our volunteers give their time freely to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can enjoy walking, while helping to protect the places where we all love to walk. There are over 25,000 volunteers helping to ensure more people can go walking more often.
Those who volunteer with us are at the very heart of walking. Whether it’s our army of group walk leaders running a programme of over 45,000 led walks; 11,000 volunteers getting people active through Walking for Health; or the more than 1,000 volunteers helping one of our 154 path teams.
That’s why we’re celebrating the huge impact they have. Remember to look out for special news stories this week and articles highlighting some truly inspiring work. Today David Howarth, from the Isle of Wight, introduces volunteer week with a special blog.