Commonwealth legacy funding for Cairngorms

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health and CNPA Convener, Peter Argyle holding Legacy 2014 award
Norette Ferns

Commonwealth Games legacy funding will help more people use the Cairngorms National Park for physical activity on a daily basis.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has been awarded £67,325 from the Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund.

In the last two years, 32 Walking to Health Groups in the Park have delivered over 2,000 health walks which encourage people to get back into regular physical activity. The legacy funding will be used to expand and rebrand the popular Health Walks programme with the establishment of three new groups and training of new volunteer walk leaders.

The funding also means that work can get underway with NHS Grampian and NHS Highland to establish a GP-led outdoor activity referral scheme, targeting the least active people, encouraging them to stay active throughout life.

A new physical activity and outdoor recreation strategy for the Cairngorms National Park was launched recently. The strategy, called Active Cairngorms, encourages people to get outside and do something active every day. A key aim is ensuring that it is easy for people to walk or cycle to work or school instead of taking the car.

CNPA Convener, Peter Argyle said:

"Having just launched Active Cairngorms a couple of weeks ago, the announcement of these funds from the Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund it very timely indeed, and most welcome. With over 1.5 million visitors per year and 18,000 residents, the National Park can help prompt changes in behaviour for people across Scotland and be a rural exemplar for integrating outdoor physical activity into everyday life.

"Rural areas like the National Park with our wonderful natural environment are the best places to enjoy something physical in the outdoors – it’s better than any gymnasium – and you need only change one thing, like walking or cycling to work instead of driving."

Physical inactivity is the second biggest cause of mortality in Scotland every year leading to 2,500 premature deaths. Increasing physical activity by just 30 minutes walking a day is enough to make a significant difference to a person’s health.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said

"I’d like to congratulate the Cairngorms National Park Authority on their successful application to the Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund. By working to promote physical activity in communities, and concentrating on some of the people that are most at risk of inactivity, we can really improve people’s confidence and help them to change their lifestyles.

"This fund is one of the ways we are securing the legacy of the Commonwealth Games, encouraging people to live more active lives. Physical inactivity leads to 2,500 premature deaths in Scotland every year. It’s linked to a host of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, dementia and depression. If we can encourage people to make even small changes to their lives we can make a big difference to Scotland’s health."

Visit the Cairngorms National Park website for more information.