Inverclyde Bothy wins big at Reach for the Stars awards

Cycling UK’s Inverclyde Bothy – the home of walking and cycling in Inverclyde – has won the Volunteer Team Impact award at the Reach for The Stars Awards 2019.

The Reach for The Stars Awards 2019 took place on Thursday 21 November in Greenock and saw the Inverclyde Bothy’s team of Health Walk volunteers win recognition for their impact in the community. The Bothy was also shortlisted for the Voluntary Organisation of the Year at the awards, organised by CVS Inverclyde.

The Inverclyde Bothy, run by Cycling UK, runs a diverse program of activities to break down barriers and help people be more active. The project works in partnership with a wide range of local organisations, bringing together their knowledge and expertise.

Shona Morris, Inverclyde Bothy Project Manager for Cycling UK, said: “The walks we provide and the amazing community outreach we do wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic volunteers. They’re a vital part of what the Bothy is.

“The walks have given us a real presence within the community and we’re supporting people from all walks of life – bringing social, physical and mental health benefits.

“We’re also proud to have been nominated for the Voluntary Organisation of the Year – recognising the Bothy team’s great work to empower people across Inverclyde to do more cycling and walking in their everyday lives.”

The Bothy runs three Health Walks every week, in partnership with local charity Your Voice. Typically, an hour-long social stroll will be followed by a cup of tea and a chat.

They provide a great opportunity for local people to get some exercise and make new friends.

The award was collected by volunteers, Trudy Lafferty and Carol MacLeod.

Carol, who is a volunteer walk leader, said: “I’m very pleased for The Bothy, especially when it’s only been running for just over a year. We are over the moon to have won.”

Carol recently moved back to Gourock after 47 years away from the town. She first attended the Health Walks as a way to integrate back into the community, before deciding to become a volunteer.

Carol added: “It’s lovely to get to know people and meet people I used to know from school. It’s been a great way to get out of the house and get into the community again. It’s a great group, a great crowd.”

The amazing community outreach we do wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic volunteers. They’re a vital part of what the Bothy is.

Shona Morris, Inverclyde Bothy Project Manager

Volunteers receive Health Walk Leader training and have also done a Strength and Balance course – learning simple exercises to help keep people active and independent. The Bothy hopes to provide further training in the future, so that they can run dementia-friendly walks.

The Bothy’s Health Walks programme is funded by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Paths for All Health Walk fund.

Charlene Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of CVS Inverclyde, said: “Our Inverclyde Community Awards are a great showcase for the achievements of voluntary organisations and community groups, as well as individual and team volunteers across Inverclyde.

“We would like to say a huge congratulations to the winners and, indeed, all our finalists, and a big thank you to our sponsor partners and independent judges who were faced with another tremendous challenge in making their selection this year.”