East Dunbartonshire group takes huge strides

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Walk Run Cycle in and around East Dunbartonshire has come along way in the last two years and is now officially a consortium, able to access grant funding to help its local community.

Originally set up by Lorna Thomson as a Facebook group at the start of the pandemic, after her dad took them to The Waterside stepping stones, it has now grown to nearly 7,500 members.

Lorna said: “I de cided to start a Facebook group to share my routes and photos and to encourage others to share where they had been so me and my boys could get ideas and inspiration of where to visit locally and enjoy

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“Walk Run Cycle Kirkintilloch was born, and as restrictions eased the area we were allowed to explore grew so members of the group shared further afield routes and locations and so the name changed to Walk Run Cycle in and around East Dunbartonshire.

Walk Run Cycle in and around East Dunbartonshire members love exploring the outdoorsWalk Run Cycle in and around East Dunbartonshire members love exploring the outdoors
Walk Run Cycle in and around East Dunbartonshire members love exploring the outdoors

"Keeping it predominately East Dunbartonshire residents kept it feeling safe and very much a community space for the members.”

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April 2021 saw the launch of #walkntalk with members sharing their favourite routes and a chance to meet like minded folk, for a walk and a talk.

Lorna said: “"We encourage all levels of fitness and ability.

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"Genuine friendships have been formed and anyone who attends a #walkntalk only ever have nice things to say."

Any member can organise a #walkntalk by emailing [email protected] or through the Facebook page.The group now run #mondaymeetup from the Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre at 9.30am.

There are plans for more Monday Meet-ups in other East Dunbartoshire towns if more members can be encouraged to share their loved routes by "leading" an event.

Regular "child friendly walks" are organised by Lesleyanne Linsday.

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She said: "I started setting up child friendly walks so that myself and my children both had company whilst out walking.

"I have found it really encourages my children to want to go out for a walk if they have other children there to play with, it makes it more fun for them."

For the more adventurous Alistair Gillies is the walk leader for the Munros and Corbetts sub-group.

He said: "I regularly lead walks on the big hills and to date have had some fantastic and simply awesome days out on the mountains with a group of inexperienced and experienced hillwalkers."

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The group hold litter picking sessions and are now the community hub for Keep Scotland Beautiful, and pickers can be ‘borrowed’ by individuals and community groups.

There will be regular postings about September's initiative which is "source to sea" working with other local groups at the Luggie.

Walk Run Cycle in and around East Dunbartonshire are now a consortium meaning they can give back to the community even more by going after grants to help do this.

Arnold Clark and Scotmid being among the first to award these grants,

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Lorna along with brother Martin, Alistair and Lesleyanne Lindsay who are on the admin team want to say a huge thank you to them.

Others grants are currently still in the process of being considered.

The first AGM is planned for September 28 at 8pm at the Camera Club located in Eastside.

Lorna said: “It would be great to see so many members attend, and details can be found on the event tab of the Facebook group.

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"We are looking into first aid training, to purchasing first aid kits, litter pickers and even run more kid friendly events like our recent Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween spooky walk.

"I would love to have a bench somewhere locally to symbolise the "bringing people together in a time when we were forced apart" message that is so evident from creating the group and we will fundraise for this and hopefully work with East Dunbartonshire Council on making this happen.

"I get messages all the time and I know those who lead events do to saying how much joy the group has brought them, This makes me extremely proud.”

People with mental health issues have been helped too, as one member revealed the group has helped her overcome her social anxiety and enjoy life again.

Lorna: "I only had a wee idea it's the members who make it the community it is.”