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Britain on Foot gets official funding

Posted 22 January 2013
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Britain on Foot gets official funding
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Sports England has agreed to grant funding to the Britain on Foot campaign, which aims to get people off their sofas and into hiking boots.

The £76,000 cash injection, secured with help from the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) will aid the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) to run the scheme, news that delighted chief executive Andrew Denton, Grough reports.

He said: "One of the first meetings I had when I joined the OIA was with Dave Turnbull, chief executive of the BMC. He was really happy to engage with the association and shared our vision."

Mr Denton noted one of the moves taken by the BMC has been to appoint a hillwalking officer.

Discussing the cash, he stated it "will help us form the base for a Britain on Foot grant-aid project that we wish to kick off during 2013-2014".

He added that the plan is to build up the scheme's financial base using private donations and sponsorship in the future as the campaign grows momentum.

People keen on walking more in 2013 might have shied away from making it a new year resolution, due to the cold January weather. However, with good thermal clothing and winter jackets, a day in the fresh air can be enjoyed at any time of year.

Those who do get fitter through more walking now can enjoy longer outings as the year goes on and the daylight hours lengthen.

Britain on Foot will begin in earnest in the spring, but its launch was heralded at the Palace of Westminster late last year, with the all-party Parliamentary Group hosting its preliminary launch.

Parliamentary support has come from tourism minister Hugh Robertson MP, along with Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Borders, who chaired a question and answer session run by the OIA at the Rheged centre in Penrith in November.

Labour peer Lord Haworth also gave his vocal support to the campaign in the Lords, noting in a debate on the Olympic legacy that walking is a healthy activity that may particularly appeal to those who are not aspiring to be athletes.

With the funds it now has, Britain on Foot will now be better equipped to spread that message.