Workstart students presented with award at Scottish Parliament

Pathninjas and Pathketeers

Workstart students presented with award at Scottish Parliament

A group of students from Forth Valley College who upgraded a section of path at Muiravonside Country Park has won a prestigious award from a Scottish charity.

Paths for All presented the Workstart Group with the Path Skillz Group of the Year award at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 20 September after they spent two weeks transforming an area that had fallen into disrepair.

The seven members of the group completed the task as part of their Path Skillz course, a five-day learning experience delivered by Paths for All and supported by Scottish Natural Heritage.

The course aims to equip young people with the knowledge and practical skills they need to successfully plan, manage and deliver a community path project.

The Workstart Group – made up of Brandon Gilchrist, Steven Bushnell, Steven Stone, Dylan Allison, Nicole Redding, Holly Moffat and Helen Smith – resurfaced the path and also removed an replaced a faulty drainage system earlier this year.

Marguerite McCreath, a lecturer at the college who nominated the group for the award, said: “The Workstart group took the challenge of upgrading a section of path at Muiravonside Country Park with absolute gusto.  They worked extremely hard, getting on with the tasks set without any cajoling. The group displayed an unbelievable sense of teamwork which improved their overall ability to communicate and problem solve. Attention to detail was improved as was their understanding of health and safety. 

“They now appreciate path structure the uses of paths, and difficulties with drainage.  The Park Ranger is absolutely thrilled with the group and their hard work in successfully upgrading the chosen path.”

Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick presented the group with their award a certificate, £250 towards their project and a £30 gift voucher.

The awards ceremony was hosted by BBC presenter Fiona Stalker and saw a number of the nation's volunteers, from the Highlands to the Borders, win prizes for their efforts in leading Health Walks, as well as community walking habits in their local areas.

Mr FitzPatrick said: “It is an honour to be in the company of so many hardworking and selfless people, and in particular to hear the stories of volunteers who have carried out this excellent work. Paths for All aims to get Scotland walking - everyone, every day and everywhere - and through the passion and commitment of its army of volunteers, it is making that vision become a reality. We know that being physically active is one of the best things you can do for physical and mental health, and programmes like this are a great way to get active in a way that best suits you.”

Ian Findlay, Chief Officer at Paths for All, said: "These volunteers’ efforts in improving the nation’s physical, mental and social health are invaluable.

“Our Volunteer Awards are a chance to thank the country's unsung heroes who work tirelessly, out of the goodness of their hearts, just to see their efforts benefitting others around them. Their stories are always inspiring – and this year was certainly no exception.”

Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2018 saw seven individuals and three groups win awards across ten categories: Community Path Volunteer of the Year, Community Path Group of the Year, Path Skillz Young Person of the Year, Path Skillz Group of the Year, Health Walk Volunteer of the Year, Health Walk Volunteer Group of the Year, Dementia Friendly Walking Volunteer of the Year, Macmillan Walk Leader Award, Step Count Champion of the Year and Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Paths for All works with the Scottish Government and 30 partners to support and deliver national policies, such as the National Walking Strategy and other ‘active travel’ initiative.

The charity donates thousands of pounds worth of grants to worthwhile projects that improve health, promote walking and improve environments for people to be active in.

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