Local MSP helps launch new walking routes initiative

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Fulton MacGregor MSP joined staff and students from New College Lanarkshire to help launch a new walking initiative. The MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston is supporting the ‘Walk This Way’ health and wellbeing project. Staff and students have worked together to create three walking routes of differing lengths around Dunbeth Park, which is adjacent to our Coatbridge Campus.

Two Art & Design students had their designs turned into brightly-coloured footprint logos that have been painted on the paths around the park to denote the different distances. The red circuit is a one-mile walk, the yellow route is ¾-mile and the blue route is ½-mile. Mr MacGregor welcomed the initiative, saying:

“This is absolutely brilliant and it fits in well with the Scottish Government’s health policies. I use the park myself for running and when I first heard about the scheme I thought it was a brilliant idea. The footprints that have been created by students have a really good legacy element.”

The launch was attended by Janet Watson, chairperson of Friends of Dunbeth Park, as well as Student President Zorena Shanks, Art & Design lecturer Sheila Boyle, former Art student Kamil Sznurkowski, Occupational Health Advisor Fiona McGrory and Learner Engagement Officer Ross Brand. Children from Coatbridge Campus Nursery also joined in the launch fun by posing with some of footprint designs in the park. Friends of Dunbeth Park’s Janet Watson said: “It’s great to have staff and students taking an active interest in the park.

“It’s one of the best parks in Coatbridge and people come from far away to make use of its facilities.”

The Dunbeth Park pilot is the first of three in the initiative, with plans to create similar walking routes around our Cumbernauld and Motherwell campuses. The footprint logos incorporated elements of designs by two students: Donna Cowan, currently studying HNC Art and Design at Cumbernauld Campus, and former Coatbridge Campus student Kamil Sznurkowski. Kamil Sznurkowski came up with the idea of a coal symbol that features in the design, and for Iron and Steel motifs to be used in Cumbernauld and Motherwell respectively. Lecturer Sheila Boyle said:

“Students produced the designs as an extra to their coursework and I was pleased with their willingness to get involved. It was good to be part of a project that offered benefit to the local community.”

Learner Engagement Officer Ross Brand is encouraging students and visitors to book out one of dozens of pedometers available from Coatbridge Campus reception to record their steps. He said:

“Depending on the type of job or course being taught or learned, individuals may find themselves fairly sedentary for the majority of the day inside the College. Participating in an activity as simple as walking provides an outlet for individuals or groups to get out in the fresh air and be reinvigorated on their return to the College.”

Student president Zorena Shanks echoed this, saying:

“College can become stressful at times and it is important that we remember to look after ourselves. This is a great way to be active, chill out and meet new friends, so I’d encourage everyone to take part in this fabulous new walking initiative.”

Fiona McGrory, Occupational Health Advisor at New College Lanarkshire, said: “If exercise can become part of a person’s daily routine, then they are more likely to stick with it and gain the rewards.

“Having different levels and distances allows people to start off at a level that they can manage and then set measurable goals to ensure progress.”

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