The 2021 winner in the “Business Walking Champion” category is Milngavie, a project that brought together business, council and community representatives to develop and promote walking throughout the town.

Following Milngavie BID’s announcement last month of the precinct development “Taking Strides towards the future in Milngavie Town Centre (15/04/21), Milngavie was nominated in the inaugural Scottish Walking Awards 2021.

Milngavie-PrecinctProject2021

Throughout the year, more than 40,000 walkers from around the world converge on Milngavie to embark on the 96-mile route to Fort William. However, the West Highland Way is only one of a number of trails to and from the town. Together, these have earned Milngavie its reputation as a hub for walking and cycling.

The visual branding efforts in the town have created a lasting impression for first time visitors to Milngavie, at the beginning of a special journey for many people.

Banner West Highland Way Milngavie

Local people of all ages and abilities are increasingly using Milngavie as their base to set off on daily walking and cycling adventures. Over 1 million people were recorded on Milngavie’s footfall counters in the last year during the pandemic, as people re-discovered their local areas and walking routes on their doorstep as well as supporting local businesses that were allowed to open.

The public realm developments in the town centre along with a co-ordinated approach to showcasing the walking and cycling routes available, have made Milngavie a focal point for people to meet outdoor safely and take their daily exercise in the local area.

The development proposals have been through an engagement process and have received the support of local authorities, businesses, and residents. They represent a vision for the town centre as a destination for people of all ages, nationalities, and abilities, and as an attractive home for locals and businesses.

Thomas Glen, East Dunbartonshire Council’s Depute Chief Executive – Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets, said,

“We’re delighted that Milngavie BID has been recognised as part of the first-ever Scottish Walking Awards.

“The Business Walking Champion Award is fitting recognition of the excellent work being carried out by the BID in the town centre, backed by East Dunbartonshire Council – in conjunction with traders, firms and local organisations – to develop and promote the area’s many great assets for residents and visitors.

“The Council continues to support Milngavie BID, now in its successful second term, as a key organisation delivering improvements and boosting vitality – tying in with our town centre, economic and active travel strategies.”


Fife charity worker named Overall Champion of Scottish Walking Awards

Expert judges announce the winners of ten categories in 1st walking prizes

A Fife charity worker who runs a walking group to help migrants boost their health, social life and spoken English has been named as the first-ever overall champion of the Scottish Walking Awards.

The panel of expert judges were wowed by Magdalena Augustyn-Lygas’ successful coordination of Sole Sisters community health walk project, run by Fife Migrants Forum. Magdalena scooped the Community Walking Champion and Overall Champion titles, following more than 160 entries being submitted to ten categories earlier this spring.

Nominations included everything from businesses, councils, land managers and housing associations to the journalists, staff and local volunteers who are inspiring others to step out.

Lee Craigie, who is Scotland’s Active Nation Commissioner and chaired the judges, said: “Magdalena, and the wider Sole Sisters project, champion the impact that walking can have on health, social connection and wellbeing in all that they do. We were incredibly impressed by Magdalena’s focus on ensuring the benefits of walking reach a truly diverse audience, and keeping it going during the pandemic.”

The Sole Sisters project brings together women from the migrant and local community through walks in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, providing regular health walks and conversation cafes, enabling participants to make social connections and build confidence speaking English.

During the pandemic, Magdalena has worked tirelessly to keep the project going, organising online workshops and group activities wherever restrictions allowed. Recently, she has supported the Scottish Health Walk Network to translate Paths for All’s health walk advice into nine new languages to reach even more people across Scotland.

Magdalena said: “I am delighted to win this award, for the work we have done through the Sole Sisters walking group. The project has been really important for reducing barriers to walking for migrant women, increasing cultural understanding and reducing isolation, and increasing physical and mental wellbeing. “While it has been challenging to keep the work going during the pandemic, we are so pleased with what the project has been able to achieve. Sole Sisters is not only about walking, but also about building strong, lasting relationships within the community.”

As well as Overall Champion, ten other outstanding individuals, companies and projects were named as category winners for their efforts to support people to walk more:

  • Public Sector Walking Champion:
    #DGMilesforSmiles in Dumfries & Galloway. This walking project has received excellent community buy-in and built links with schools.

  • Community Walking Champion:
    Magdalena Augustyn-Lygas in Fife.

  • Business Walking Champion: 
    Milngavie Business Improvement District in East Dunbartonshire. This project brought together business, council and community representatives to develop and promote walking throughout the town.

  • Walking Research / Innovation:
    Out There Award across Scotland. Ramblers Scotland’s free award helps 18 to 26-year-olds kick-start their journey into the outdoors, while learning skills, meeting friends and getting active.

  • Most Improved Walking Place:
    Auchmountain Glen Project in Inverclyde. This volunteer-led project delivered significant improvements for walkers, such as installing walkways while tackling antisocial behaviour to transform a former ‘no go area’ into a community asset.

  • Land Manager Walking Champion:
    Alcan Aluminium (UK) Ltd in Fife. The company has given significant support to communities to develop accessible routes near its lochs and land that encourage walking and wheeling.

  • Walking Champion in Education:
    Cara McBrearty, Active Schools Coordinator in North Lanarkshire. She has helped teenage girls get walking with her initial project at one school now rolled out to another ten schools – with S6 girls trained to offer peer support as walk leaders.

  • Healthcare Professional Walking Champion:
    Dr. Katie Walter in the Highlands. She campaigns and advocates for improved walking across the Highlands and beyond, regularly engages politicians, fellow health professionals and press.

  • Social Housing Association Walking Champion:
    Cassiltoun Housing Association in Glasgow. The association has worked hard with its community to enhance the physical environment and encourage people to walk and use the greenspace.

  • Media / Online Walking Champion:
    Ross Cunningham in Fife. He has had great success using his Mountains Mend Minds social media platform to help people improve their mental health through hillwalking, in particular supporting men who can be reluctant to discuss such issues.

Craig McLaren, chair of the National Walking Strategy Delivery Forum, said: “The range of projects nominated for the first Scottish Walking Awards shows that there is fantastic work happening all over Scotland, with community projects at the heart of a movement to get people walking. Projects like these are vital for keeping our communities active and connected and we were so pleased to see so many worthwhile nominations and winners.”

The Scottish Walking Awards are organised by Paths for All, Ramblers Scotland, and Living Streets, in conjunction with the National Walking Strategy Delivery Forum. The winners are announced as part of National Walking Month.

Notes to editor

Contact: Dani Anderson, dani.anderson@livingstreets.org.uk, 07718 970820

The Scottish Walking Awards judging panel included:

– Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland
– Bridget Jones, Strategic Paths Manager with NatureScot
– Jane Gallacher, Sport and Physical Activity Manager with Active Scotland
– ​Jenny Muir, Behaviour Change Manager at Sustrans
– Brendan Paddy, Director of Ramblers Scotland.

Judges left the discussion if projects or individuals relating to their own organisation were being discussed.

Read more about the Sole Sisters project here and see Magdalena’s translated health walk resources here.

Follow the Scottish Walking Awards news on the following social media channels using the hashtag #ScottishWalkingAwards.

National Walking Strategy Delivery Forum Twitter
Ramblers Scotland Twitter and Facebook
Living Streets Scotland Twitter and Facebook
Paths for All Twitter and Facebook

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