A LOCAL woman has won a national award for her commitment and dedication to improving Inverclyde’s walking network.
Jenni Murray has been recognised as the winner of Project Co-ordinator of the Year at Scotland’s national walking charity Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2022.
After volunteering for six months as a walk leader with active travel project Inverclyde Bothy — which is managed by Cycling UK — Jenni’s passion for walking and the outdoors encouraged her to make a career change. In 2019, Jenni secured the role as health walk co-ordinator with the group.
The 46-year-old has established six weekly walks and has also supported several local organisations to set up health walks. She is the main driving force working to expand the Bothy volunteer network which has grown to 18 volunteers, while supporting 460 individuals to make positive lifestyle choices and changes.
Most recently, Jenni has worked with Inverclyde Carers’ Centre to train staff as walk leaders, allowing them to establish a weekly health Wwalk specifically for carers.
Through these walks, carers in the area have been provided with the opportunity to become more physically active and improve their wellbeing through coming together and socialising.
Jenni said: “Walking has always been something I’ve really enjoyed. It first became a hobby when I was at Edinburgh University when I would go for long walks around the city with flatmates to de-stress and, around the same time, I started doing some hill walks with my dad. Now I walk with my kids to encourage them to spend more time outdoors.
“I feel very lucky to have a job doing something I love. It’s the perfect mix of supporting others to be active while working with a fantastic team of volunteers.
“I genuinely believe that walking in a supportive group really does have the power to significantly impact people’s day to day lives and this group helps make that happen.
“Hearing feedback from people about how much it has helped to be part of a supportive walking group really is what motivates me to continue to grow our offerings.
“The walking groups help you connect with people that you may not usually link up with. Everyone who joins us brings something different to the group.”
Kevin Lafferty, chief executive officer at Paths for All, said: “Individuals like Jenni represent exactly why we host the award ceremony every year.
“The work Jenni is undertaking is directly improving the nation’s physical, mental and social health, reducing social isolation and loneliness and helping people make more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.”
Paths for All’s awards ceremony was held at the Scottish Parliament and recognised 11 groups and individuals who have gone the extra mile to keep their communities active.
Public health minister Maree Todd said: “Encouraging and supporting people in Scotland to walk and wheel is a key part of our vision of a country where more people are more active more often.”