New programme to promote walking in Scottish secondary schools

Working collaboratively with the University of Stirling, the University of Edinburgh and Paths for All, we have secured funding from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and Active Scotland, to design and develop a walking programme for young people, by young people in Scotland.

Bringing together academic knowledge with practical skills, the aim of the programme is to improve the health and wellbeing of young people by creating a culture of walking both in and around the school day.

The initiative will encourage young people to participate in Step Count Challenges and lead walks for their peers, while also increasing awareness of the benefits of walking.  In 2022, only 65% of boys and 43% of girls aged 13 to 15 met recommended activity levels.

The programme will be co-designed with young people, aiming to empower them to be more active and healthier, while finding enjoyment and confidence in the way they move and travel within school life.

Carl Greenwood, Senior Development Officer at Paths for All, commented: "We’re passionate about making Scotland a walking nation, and supporting young people to walk more every day is integral to the success of this.

“We’re really excited to be working with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, fantastic colleagues from Scottish universities, but more crucially with young people to co-design a programme that can get to the heart of embedding everyday walking into school life.”

The KTP partnership aims to bring new skills and the latest academic thinking into practice, helping to deliver an innovative project for schools.

Simone Tomaz, Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, said: "We are delighted to explore the best way to bring academic research and high school programme delivery together. By working alongside young people, we believe we have the best chance of understanding young people’s access to and motivation for using walking to improve their health. We are also excited to be working with a number of partners and organisations to deliver this programme.”

Commenting on the collaboration, Trish Gorely, Professor at UHI added: “This is such an exciting project, with a great team of people coming together to work with young people to encourage walking within everyday life. The potential for impact on social, mental and physical wellbeing of young people is very real and will hopefully carry through into their adult lives.”

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