Around 8,300 people volunteer with Walking for Health schemes across England, and together they support 1,800 walks each week enabling 20,200 people to experience the benefits of getting and staying active.
Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and represent the communities in which they live and walk. Many are people who, having joined their local health walk scheme decides to volunteer; others come from groups or communities who wish to set up walks and become part of the local scheme.
What unifies them and ensures that everyone who walks with us has the same high quality experience.
The aim of walk leader training is to ensure that all volunteers are trained to a high standard and are able to competently and confidently lead short, free health walks.
The one day training course is delivered locally by local trainers, and split into two sections.
Section 1 - Theory
This section of the day explores the concept and issues around health walks. The outcomes for this part of the training are:
- Understanding the partnership that delivers the national programme and supports all the schemes
- Understanding the benefits of activity and the positive impact on physical and mental health
- Understanding what a health walk is and how to run one
- Explore the paperwork, understand why it is required and how the data will be used
- Understand the insurance cover provided by Walking for Health through the Ramblers
- Learn how to create a safe effective route and carry out a risk assessment
- Explore difficult scenarios such as dogs on walks and how to deal with them
- Understand about inclusivity and what this means
Section 2 - Practical
Everyone take part in a demonstration walk led by the trainer focussing on best practise, risk assessments and how to adjust walks to suit people with a variety of needs. Participants are given the opportunity to put the theory into practise and explore any issues they may have.
At the end of the training all trainees are given a progress card which they have to complete to become a fully trained walk leader. To become a recognised Walking for Health walk leader they need to:
- Shadow a walk leader
- Lead a walk whilst being observed by a trainer walk leader