Step Out Swindon has won a Pride of Swindon Award for its healty walking initiative.

It started as a project sponsored by Swindon Council as a walking for health scheme but in October 2017, when the council withdrew funding, the walkers themselves took over the group.

They became self-funded, building up the number of walks and increasing the membership to more than 500.

At the 11th Pride of Swindon Awards held at Steam Railway Museum, the community champions were recognised for their work as part of the group awards.

Grahame Lee, Volunteer Scheme Co-ordinator, joined Step Out Swindon after he retired.

"I wanted to do more walking and do some voluntary work and by chance I saw the walk leaders for health scheme. I thought this was valuable work and so I trained as a walk leader,'' he said.

"We set up the voluntary scheme and called it Step Out Swindon and applied for accreditation to set up in our own right. As it grew, other areas asked us to start up one for them. Christ Church asked us to start one, John Lewis at Mannington approached us and Croft,'' he said.

Many of the walks have free parking and the group finish on a social note with a chat over tea, coffee and biscuits.

Grahame set up a Thursday morning Step Out Walk in Haydon Wick and they now have more than 100 members.

"The key to its success is living in a local community that was like a village. It grew from there,'' said Grahame

They have a number of organised health walks all over Swindon including Penhill, Shaw, Wroughton, Covingham and Old Town.

Grahame says the benefits from joining walks are numerous for health, friendship and wellbeing. He says it is really rewarding to see how people change.

"When you see someone who hasn't walked for a long time, or who is shy and takes their time approaching the door. Then you see them build their self confidence over the weeks so that even their posture changes,'' Grahame said.

Another benefit of joining Step Out Swindon is the chance to make friends. Grahame says there is a mix of people from all walks of life, including singles, couples, families and people who have just moved to the area, and don't know anyone.

Outside the walks, the group also has a social scene meeting up to go to the cinema, theatre and socials such as the recent lunch and disco held at the Haydon Wick Social Club.


  • The group offers training to become a walk leader or assistant walk leader which involves:
  • Go along to sessions with qualified trainers
  • Doing trainer walks
  • Learning safety issues
  • Learning the routes
  • Learning how to discipline the walks

Another side to Step Out Swindon is a philosophy they share with the Swindon Ramblers, a desire to protect the environment. Walkers keep their eyes peeled along the footpaths to make sure they are kept clear and reclaimed if necessary.

"In Swindon we are blessed with green spaces and we make sure they are protected,'' said Grahame.

Step Out Swindon walks were set up primarily to encourage good health and well being and the group continues to promote this.

"On the health walks we adopt the sofa to summit policy. It is an hour's walk which is over 2.8miles and fairly brisk,'' he said.

For new people the leaders allow them to walk at the back, at their own pace, if they wish. Grahame says it does not take long for them to want to keep up, and if they walk every day and do a little more they speed up.

Helping people across Swindon lead a more active lifestyles reduces the risks of developing serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The walks are short and over easy terrain. They are open to everyone but are especially aimed at those who are least active.

For more details or to join Step Out Swindon visit


  • Christ Church Old Town Health Walk Mondays at 10.30am (excl Bank Hols)
  • Covingham Health Walk Mondays 2pm (excluding Bank Holidays).
  • Croft Sport Centre Health Walk Fridays at 10.30am
  • Haydon Wick Gentle Walk Mondays 2pm ( Excluding Bank Holidays).
  • Haydon Wick Health Walk Thursdays 10am
  • John Lewis Mannington Health Walk Thursdays at 2pm
  • Lower Shaw Farm Health Walk Mondays 2pm (excluding Bank Holidays ).
  • Penhill Health Walk Monday 10am (excluding Bank Holidays)
  • Wroughton Health Walk Thursdays 10am