Could you host a regional development officer?

Published: 4th April 2012
Walking promotion staff at work in Swindon.
The Ramblers is seeking expressions of interest from organisations to host a Walking for Health Regional Development Officer.

Following the divestment of the national centre of Walking for Health to the Ramblers, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, we are pleased to invite Expressions of Interest from organisations interested in hosting a Walking for Health Regional Development Officer.

These officers' main work will be to provide a link between the national centre and local Walking for Health schemes, in particular by providing support to scheme coordinators across the defined areas below, piloting new ideas and ensuring that Walking for Health is delivered consistently. 

We are looking for organisations with at least:

  • A strong commitment at all levels to public health and the delivery of physical activity interventions
  • An existing successful Walking for Health Accredited scheme
  • A commitment to work in partnership with the WfH national centre
  • An enthusiasm to support and trial new pilots that will extend the profile and reach of WfH, including those that seek to improve physical activity and care pathways
  • A commitment to provide a welcoming, inclusive working environment
  • An appreciation that the post holder will have duties across a wide geographic area
  • The ability to host an officer from June/July 2012 until April 2015, providing the necessary office infrastructure – namely all IT support and services, including a desk and internet enabled workstation, access to printer for occasional printing & storage space of c. 2m3.  Any costs associated with this provision are to be met by the applying organisation.

The national centre will fund all the costs associated with this post, with the exception of those outlined above.  The Ramblers will hold direct employment liabilities associated with this post, with the exception of any insurance liabilities associated with the office base – which will fall to the hosting organisation.

We are seeking two organisations to work with, particularly in locations with good transport connections across 1) South West England, East Midlands and West Midlands 2) the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber.

Please respond outlining how you meet or go beyond the criteria on no more than one side of A4.  It should be signed by a Senior Representative from within your organisation and sent to before 1 May 2012.


I was saddened to see that this current hosting opportunity seems like it will exclude many voluntary sector organisations from offering to host a worker because of the lack of funding to support office costs. This is entirely contrary to the compact between public sector and voluntary sector which recognises the need to support the overheads of VCS orgs through Full Cost Recovery.
Cath Halse
service Development Officer for the North East

I'm not sure what you mean by this, Cath. The funding for the Walking for Health national centre is not coming from the public sector. There are no more funds from the Department of Health or Natural England -- the national centre is now entirely supported by charitable funds. Within our current budget we are not in a position to offer office support costs, and are hoping that a publically funded body will come forward to offer something from their side of the compact. Hope this makes things clearer.

Des de Moor
Ramblers Walking for Health Team

Unfortunately for the Ramblers they are coming into WfH at a difficult time financially!
Stepping out in Suffolk one the larger Health Walk schemes has just failed to win funds in a joint bid with Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.
Without the generous support from Livewellsuffolk our county wide scheme would have just disappeared at the end of March. We run on the smallest of budgets with 40hours of paid work a week plus publishing costs of a black and white programme 3x yearly. No fancy colour brochures hear!
There is a lot of recognition now for walking for health but nobody will fund and few HW schemes are charities and can't access those funding areas.
We doubt that our VWLs and walkers will want to take on even more voluntary hours coordinating HWs whilst there is an increasing number of organisations wanting to direct their clients to our walks ie. those in cancer recovery, mental health groups etc. as HWs are known to be not only credible but free!

April nearly over and still Walking For Health is in a mess. No insurance sent out and no updated Accedited Scheme certs. All that people can talk about is paid work and lack of funding, why have Macmillan and The Ramblers taken on the role?
Richard Smith - Chair - West Leeds Walking Group.

Richard Smith
Chairman WLWG

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your comments.

For insurance there is now no need to renew. WfH walk leaders are automatically insured as long as they have completed the training and are leading recognised WfH walks. Please find the update on insurance posted on 2nd April here:

Also the accreditation system is currently suspended, but we are continuing to recognise accreditations made by Natural England even if these have passed their renewal date. Please find the update on accreditation posted 22nd March here:

If you have any other queries please let me know.

Andrew Milward
Walking for Health Regional Development Officer
(London, Anglia and South East Region)