By Monica Gibson

A NEW walking group has been launched in Barrhead to encourage more people over the age of 50 to get active and connect with the community.

Members of Stepping Out in Barrhead meet once a week to enjoy a slow stroll for people of all abilities.

Volunteer Anita Struthers runs the group, supported by Stephanie Potts, of the East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure (ERCL) Trust, and Sine Delahunt, of the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (ERHSCP).

Ms Delahunt said the ‘health walks’ are targeted at inactive people who would benefit most from more exercise.

She told the Barrhead News: “Health walkers can enjoy a whole range of benefits, including increased strength, improved mood and increased social interactions with local people and the local area.

“Walking requires no special equipment or expense and is the ideal way for most people to become more active.”

Each stroll lasts for last around 30 to 45 minutes and follows a route which has been risk assessed.

The group goes at the pace of the slowest walker and stops along the way to make sure people get a short rest before moving on again.

Stepping Out in Barrhead is just one of the walking groups keen to attract new recruits for weekly jaunts in Barrhead and Neilston.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, East Renfrewshire’s social work and health convener, said: “Joining a walking group is a great opportunity to get out in the fresh air, enjoy light exercise outdoors and meet new people.

“It’s ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active.”

The free Stepping Out in Barrhead walks set off from Auchenback Resource Centre at 10.30am on Fridays.

To take part or for more information, turn up on the day or call Ms Delahunt on 0141 577 8361.