HIKING FESTIVAL FOR ALL – LEJRE: Testing a local method of motivating groups of citizens unfamiliar with hiking
Region Zealand, Denmark, working the staff members of the municipality of Lejre (one from Nature and Culture Department and one from Health Department).
WHO WAS MEANT TO DO IT?
This was aimed at elderly, disabled people, people with identified health needs and local communities.
WHAT DID THEY DO?
In partnership with the local community a demonstration project (a hiking festival) was organised, to test a method of motivating people unfamiliar with hiking to experience walking in nature with results such as feelings of joy, security, good health and being socially active.
The target group in this instance was primarily people living in nursing homes.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
People with physical and psychological disabilities living in institutions, and elderly homes in the Municipality and their families, and volunteer supporters, were the target groups.
A special effort was made to reach people with physical disabilities living in institutions. Eight institutions for adult people were contacted by telephone or personally.
The institutions were invited to establish local hiking groups with relatives, volunteers or staff members. They were offered tour proposals in their local neighbourhood and offered ideas for activities and games to perform during the hikes. Also, they were offered 300 Euros to support their participation.
In order to establish small walking teams, volunteering “front walkers” were sought. The front walkers signed-up via the internet with a brief description of level of difficulty and length of the walk.
The planned walks were announced in local newspaper and on the web.
Posters, some addressed to participants and some addressed to front walkers, were disposed in alimentary stores, libraries and institutions, together with the Hiking Festival Folder.
The press was contacted and advertisements were put in the free local papers distributed to every household in the municipality. The local Lejre Enterprise Motion Association was contacted personally in connection with the distribution at the Hiking Festival Folder. Other local associations were invited to be involved in the activities and games that should take place at the fest at the end of the Hiking festival at a “come together-party” for all the institutions.
After the festival, an evaluation was undertaken through telephone interviews with participants, staff members of the institutions and tour leaders.
HOW MANY PARTICIPATED?
36 people attended 6 walks in the week long festival.
14 people participated in the festival dinner
40 people took park in the final hike.
One out of 9 invited institutions participated in a hiking group and the festive event with 10 people in wheel chairs plus 6 volunteer helpers.
DID IT WORK?
The evaluation asked the 8 non-participating institutions about specific barriers, and the remarks were:
- Insufficient staff resources
- Insufficient support from volunteers/family members
- Insufficient staff resources and volunteers, if activities were being undertaken, then more economic resources was required
- Institution not open in week-ends, where the final arrangement took place
- One institution had simply forgotten. This institution was very pleased to hear that the idea was to repeat the activity next year
- One institution got inspiration for new walks in the neighbourhood and was very pleased to be contacted. They could not participate, because of participating in a similar arrangement, in another area at that time.
The evaluation shows that it was primarily lack of time and lack of volunteer supporters that was the main barriers for the institutions. The institution that did participate found that the final event took place quite a long drive from the institution - next year the transport will be organised differently.
Results from the evaluation of other invited organisations showed:
- The NGO’s and activity centres for different target groups were positive about the idea, but they did not participate in the final event because of lack of time, summer holiday, etc.
- The activity centres reported that they already their existing workload was too high for an additional event. It was recommended that the future contact to be made directly to the volunteers and not via the leader of the activity centre.
- Lejre Enterprise Motion Associationwas very pleased to be contacted, but could not participate in the actual walking activity as they were already engaged in another activity, and because the invitation to participate in the final fest of the end of the Hiking Festival was sent out fairly late.
- The school of youth liked the idea, and will try to participate next year.
WAS IT SUCCESSFUL?
The institutions were very positive to the idea, but time and economy was a problem along with the lack of time and volunteers.
The participants of the final fest at the end of Hiking Festival had a good time – in spite of the day long rain – and were very pleased to join in walks, activities and games, and most of them participated in the shared dinner. The participants proposed that the event should be announced on the intranet of day care institutions the following year.
Result in respect of the aims:
Aim 1: The primary target was to establish self organizing hiking groups for people non familiar with physical activity – in public institutions and generally – was not met. Only one out of nine institutions took part and this institution had experience with organising hiking activities, where volunteers once a month are taking people in wheelchairs out for a trip.
Aim 2: The participants gain physical training and better quality of life – this aim would only be met if walking groups were established - and that did not happen.
Aim 3: The participants and tour leaders however, did have a satisfying experience together – all feed back from institution, citizens in general and guides was positive
Aim 4: The participants participated in a hike as part of the Hiking Festival 2010 – In all 6 walks as part of the festival took place with 36 participants and 40 persons taking part in the end of festival activities.
Aim 5: The hiking groups are continuing walking on their own – the one institution that already has walking groups will continue doing this.
Key stakeholders were representatives from the local health promotion section and the nature guide from the Municipality.
They felt that walking routes close to where people live are well-used and important to the local inhabitants and that this should be integrated in city planning.