Positive Steps Kemnay, a volunteer group led by 11 Walk Leaders, provide four walks each week for people of all ages and abilities in the area. The walks encourage a sense of community, allowing people to socialise while fitting in some exercise, to improve both physical health and mental well-being.
As well as Health Walks, the group provide a wide variety of walks to cater for the local community. These include Gentle Walks, Buggy Walks for parents with young children and Strength and Balance Group Walks which involve a series of gentle exercises with a short walk. Some of the participants have even gone on to complete their Walk Leader training, and now help by taking leading some of the groups.
Joint co-ordinators Hilda Hart and Rob Mackay said: “Positive Steps Kemnay has gone from strength to strength since our start in 2014, creating a strong community support network through walking. The group gained its Cancer and Dementia Friendly accreditation from Paths for All increasing the accessibility of Health Walks further.
“The award is a brilliant recognition of all the hard work demonstrated by our volunteers. We’re extremely lucky to have such a dedicated and enthusiastic bunch of both volunteers and walkers who come out each week.”
Rob Mackay said: “The youngest Health Walk attendee we’ve had was just one week old and the oldest was 97 – which is just fantastic and shows how many generations can benefit from this initiative.
“Being part of Positive Steps Kemnay allows people from across the community to share their experiences of outdoor activity, combined with mental, physical and social benefits and connecting with nature.”
Claire Turnbull, Health Walk Coordinator for Live Life Aberdeenshire who supports the group and nominated them for the award said: “I was delighted to see an Aberdeenshire group win health walk group of the year at the awards. Positive Steps Kemnay are a very proactive and passionate group of volunteers who have become a real asset to their local community by providing regular activities that help people to connect and stay active.”
Paths for All works with the Scottish Government and 30 partners, including Live Life Aberdeenshire, to support and deliver national policies, such as the National Walking Strategy and other ‘active travel’ initiatives to improve the mental, social and physical health of the country.
Find out more about local Health Walks and where your nearest walk is.