John Muir Award contributes to a year of legacies and medals

People with long term mental health difficulties have improved their confidence and abilities through working towards the John Muir Award in

People with long term mental health difficulties have improved their confidence and abilities through working towards the John Muir Award in their home town of Falkirk. In partnership with the Scottish Waterways Trust they took responsibility for their own Explorer Award and created a Muir-inspired garden and local walking maps.

In this centenary year of John Muir’s death, members of the Caledonia Clubhouse in Falkirk – a mutually supportive community of people whose lives have been affected by long-term mental illness – have been marking his legacy in their own way. As part of their John Muir Explorer Award, the 11-strong group has been working with the Scottish Waterways Trust to transform a neglected area of the Clubhouse’s garden into a Muir-inspired wildlife haven. They planted it with species that will attract wildlife, and brought its boundary wall to life with Muir quotes and a map that details the new John Muir Way.

Further afield, the group also linked in with another highlight of 2014 for Scotland – the Commonwealth Games. After exploring their local green spaces and wild places, the group decided to participate in the Ramblers Medal Routes. They mapped three walking routes (bronze, silver and gold) around Falkirk’s Helix Park and created a leaflet of the routes to encourage others to enjoy the area. It was the 100th Medal Routes leaflet to be produced as part of the Scotland-wide project and is the most popular download from the Medal Routes website and app.

Steve Cole from the Scottish Waterways Trust, who worked with the group on their Award, said: “During the time I worked with everyone, I noticed substantial improvements in their confidence and abilities. Since completing the Award most of the group have continued to play an active role in the garden. I’ve also seen people out walking round the Helix with the Medal Routes leaflet in hand, which gives an indication of the impact the project has had on others."

Download the Falkirk Medal Route (PDF) created by Caledonia Clubhouse.