A project which has spent a decade helping people walk their way to better health has celebrated its 10th anniversary.
More than 300 people who volunteer and take part in the Steps to Health scheme gathered on the Comedy Carpet on Blackpool Promenade and danced in the Tower Ballroom for a special event to mark the milestone.
Steps to Health is Blackpool’s community walking programme and is one of the most successful free walking programmes in the country.
It has received national accreditation from Walking England for the size of the programme and volunteer network it has grown and developed.
The scheme is led by volunteers, with more than 20 dedicated trained walk leaders and a social committee who organise events during the year.
It introduced 56 new walks in 2012-13 and had more than 6,000 attendances in the same period.
Many people are referred on to the programme by their GP as a way to get more active and boost their health.
Health benefits of walking include reducing the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.
It helps boost mental well-being, is free and can be done by all ages and most fitness levels.
Pam Ashcroft, who took part in the scheme after being referred to the Active for Health programme by her GP and is now a volunteer, said: “My husband and I were very active and then when we retired, we came to a sort of full stop.
“The physical benefits of walking are great of course and through Active for Health we had diet advice too.
“We would have cost the NHS an awful lot of money without it.
“There are so many benefits to people’s physical and mental well-being, especially as there is a good social aspect to the walks.
“There are walks to suit everybody and we hold other outings and events too.”
For more information on Steps to Health and details on how to get involved, visit their website at www.sportblackpool.co.uk