A Forth Valley charity has become the first employer in Scotland to earn a Paths for All Walk at Work Award.
Forth Environment Link achieved the accolade for its commitment to promoting walking at work, from equipping staff with pedometers to organising lunchtime meanders for employees.
The environmental charity, which has Active Travel Hubs in Stirling and Falkirk, also conducted a staff travel survey and introduced practical measures such as standing desks and a place to dry coats.
The charity’s 22 employees rack up an impressive amount of physically activity each week. One survey showed staff were averaging 87,000 steps each – the equivalent of walking from Stirling to Falkirk and back twice.
And on Monday, Forth Environment Link was presented with the award which has been created by Scotland’s walking charity Paths for All to celebrate employers who encourage everyday walking in their workplace.
Philippa Cochrane, Stirling Active Travel Hub Coordinator with Forth Environment Link said: “We’ve gone the extra mile to inspire our staff to integrate walking into their working day, whether through their daily commute, walking to meetings or taking part in walking challenges.
“As well as improving our own fitness, we hope the award will inspire others to ditch the car and walk more.
“We’ve been busy developing new walking partnerships with other organisations, including the NHS, Engine Shed, Scottish Slimmers and Active Stirling to get even more people walking.”
Paths for All launched its Walk at Work Award in November last year following a pilot programme which ran throughout the summer.
Forth Environment Link was one of the organisations taking part in the trial and was the first to satisfy all the award’s criteria.
Since then, workplaces across the country have signed up to the Walk at Work Award, gaining access to one-to-one support, examples of best practices, further information and resources.
Ian Findlay, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “We’d like to congratulate Forth Environment Link on earning the first Walk at Work Award.
“Walking is one of the simplest ways to increase your activity levels – it’s free, you don’t need any special equipment, and it’s something you can do anywhere.
“It’s also easy to fit into the working day by commuting on foot, taking a lunchtime walk or going for a walking meeting.
“Regular walking is not just good for people, it’s good for business. Research shows us that employees who are more active are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more focussed.
“So we hope that Forth Environment Link will be the first of many employers who register for and achieve this award because they will be taking a meaningful step towards a happier, healthier workforce.”
Forth Environment Link hopes to build on the award by introducing walking meetings, producing handy maps to help staff plan their active travel to work and holding Nordic Walking taster sessions.
Their next free public walking event will take place at Gartmorn Dam on 2 July. For further information search for Stirling Active Travel Hub on Facebook.
For more information, or to register for the Walk at Work Award, visit www.walkatwork.scot, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01259 218888.