This award recognises a volunteer or group of volunteers who have changed something or gone about a challenge in a different way to help us reach more people or achieve our aims more effectively.
“I just love walking,” says Wendy, “I work in an office all week, but the weekends are mine!”
As membership secretary of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Walkers, Wendy is in the perfect role to share her love of walking – and she’s been leading the way in trying to reach new people.
“I love anything to do with technology” she says, “I use the Ramblers app, the walk register, Facebook … as soon as we finish a walk, we put a photo up. That’s been a big positive for new people. I say, ‘where did you find us?’ and they say, ‘we found you on Facebook’.”
“I was on my own when I first started and now this group is like my second family,” Wendy goes on to explain. Now, as a volunteer, she makes sure others can enjoy the same benefits.
“There was a lady, a few years back, that had never been up a hill – and I managed to get her up to the top of Goatfell on the Isle of Arran. She was gobsmacked, absolutely elated.”
They began by relaunching as the Chiltern Young Walkers – a shorter, sharper name to match their new ambitions – and then they set about reaching new members.
When the Ramblers online walk register was introduced, Jacqui recognised how it could help grow the group’s membership. “It’s helped massively,” she says, “it gives you the opportunity to contact new people … we can welcome them to the Chiltern Young Walkers, link them to our social media and tell them how to join the Ramblers.”
On being a volunteer, Jacqui tell us, “I love it, I really do love it. It’s the opportunity to shape things for the better.”
If you’re ever in the Chilterns, Jacqui recommends walking up to Ivinghoe Beacon. “It’s a 12-mile walk and I lead it once a year … you get almost 360 views across the vale. You can see so much, it’s lovely.”
“When I joined the Ramblers, I thought I had joined a walking group. Then I found out I’d joined a national charity and campaigning organisation. The whole Ramblers mission – enabling people to walk, protecting our paths and protecting our rights as walkers – I found it inspirational.”
Anne was nominated for her work on a project that’s helped connect her community to the outdoors – but she’s the first to tell you it was a team effort. It was a conversation with fellow Rambler, Naomi, that resulted in the idea to create the Telford T50 – a 50-mile walking trail connecting the town’s parks, woods, sites of special scientific interest and landmarks. And it wasn’t just a Ramblers’ project – lots of walking groups in the area worked together to make it happen.
“A lot of people have started walking for the first time as a result of having the trail on their doorstep,” says Anne.
The success of the trail piqued community interest in the local area. So, Anne researched the history, heritage and wildlife along the route and brought it all together in a book. Now and again, she’ll bump into someone walking the trail, clutching the book in their hands.
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