'Enthusiastic and driven' Jenni wins national award

Jenni Murray talking to Health Walk participants
Cycling UK’s Jenni Murray has won a national award for her commitment and dedication to enabling more people in Inverclyde to get active

Jenni has been recognised as the winner of Project Coordinator of the Year at the Volunteer Awards 2022, hosted by Scotland’s national walking charity, Paths for All.

After volunteering for six months as a walk leader at the Inverclyde Bothy - which is managed by Cycling UK - Jenni’s passion for walking and the outdoors encouraged her to make a career change. In 2019, Jenni secured the role as Health Walk coordinator with the group.

Jenni has established six weekly ‘Bothy’ walks in the Inverclyde region and has also supported several local organisations to set up their own Health Walks. She is the main driving force working to expand the Bothy’s volunteer network which has grown to 18 volunteers, while supporting 460 individuals to make positive lifestyle choices and changes.

Jenni Murray laughing with Health Walk participants

Most recently, Jenni has worked with the Inverclyde Carers Centre to train staff as Walk Leaders, allowing them to establish a new weekly Health Walk specifically for other carers. Through these walks, carers in the area have been provided with the opportunity to become more physically active, providing opportunities to improve their wellbeing through coming together and socialising.

She said: “Walking has always been something I’ve really enjoyed. It first became a hobby when I was at Edinburgh University when I would go for long walks around the city with flatmates to de-stress. Around the same time, I started doing some hill walks with my dad – now I walk with my kids to encourage them to spend more time outdoors.

I feel very lucky to have a job doing something I love. It’s the perfect mix of supporting others to be active while working with a fantastic team of volunteers

Cycling UK's Jenni Murray

“I feel very lucky to have a job doing something I love. It’s the perfect mix of supporting others to be active while working with a fantastic team of volunteers.

“I genuinely believe that walking in a supportive group really does have the power to significantly impact people’s day to day lives and this group helps make that happen.

“Hearing feedback from people about how much it has helped to be part of a supportive walking group really is what motivates me to continue to grow our offerings.

“The walking groups help you connect with people that you may not usually link up with. Everyone who joins us brings something different to the group.”

Jenni Murray with Health Walk volunteers and participants

Jenni was commended at Paths for All’s annual awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on 28 September.

Public Health Minister, Maree Todd has championed the awards. She said: “Encouraging and supporting people in Scotland to walk and wheel is a key part of our vision of a country where more people are more active more often.

“A huge number of highly motivated and skilled people are helping us deliver this vision, not least the passionate and dedicated volunteers who do so much to help others overcome challenges to participation.

“They are an inspiration and I am delighted that their contribution is being recognised by Paths for All in these awards.”

Jenni Murray receiving her award at the Scottish Parliament

Kevin Lafferty, Chief Executive Officer at Paths for All, said: “Individuals like Jenni represent exactly why we host the award ceremony every year.

“The work Jenni is undertaking is directly improving the nation’s physical, mental and social health, reducing social isolation and loneliness and helping people make more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.

Josh Wood, Cycling UK’s senior project officer for the Bothies, said:

“I nominated Jenni for this award because her enthusiasm and drive for this project while supporting the volunteers that make this project happen is incredible. Our project helps more people to incorporate walking as part of their daily life – either through motivation to get out in the first place, the socialisation that is provided at our walks, and the mental and physical benefits that we know walking can bring.

“I’m so proud of what Jenni has managed to achieve with this project – the numbers of walkers that we engage with each week is just incredible, and that is in huge part down to Jenni’s determination to make this project a success.”