Happy New Year everyone. We hope 2023 is a joyous, healthy and peaceful year for you all.
Thanks to everyone who used World Walking last year and to our generous donors who helped keep us going in 2022.
Seven years ago, on 16 September 2015 to be precise, we wrote to the then Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport at the Scottish Government to tell her about our bespoke World Walking website/app which we had created to help motivate people to walk more and of our dream of seeing its users walk 50 million miles to Mars.
We are sure the Cabinet Secretary thought us quite mad and we wouldn’t have blamed her. When we wrote to her, only 6,900 people had found World Walking on the internet. The ‘global’ steps tally on our home page, stood at 2.6 billion which, in World Walking terms, was about 1.1 million miles. Aiming for Mars seemed like a gigantic leap of faith but we were inspired by the words of Britain’s first astronaut, Dr Helen Sharman, who told us to “Aim high. Land Softly.” .
Seven years on, we are delighted to tell you that World Walking ‘landed softly’ on Mars on 22 December 2022.
World Walking was launched on 1 October 2013. It is free to use by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Our simple and fun approach motivates people to keep active by allowing them to use the steps they walk everyday to complete virtual walks to some of the best places on Earth, many of which are, of course, in Scotland.
World Walking was inspired by the Inverclyde Globetrotters, a gym-based Phase IV cardiac rehabilitation class based at Inverclyde Leisure’s Waterfront Complex in Greenock.
In February 2008, with only a map, a box of pedometers, a sense of adventure and a skip in their step, the Inverclyde Globetrotters set off to walk round the world in support of the 2008 Scottish campaign to highlight the importance and benefits of cardiac rehabilitation. It was their way of saying ‘Thank You’ to the NHS.
[Little did the Inverclyde Globetrotters know when they took their first steps that 238,855 miles and 11 years, 3 months and 10 days later that their ‘travels’ would see them touching down on the Moon on 14 May 2019 in nice time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Moonwalk in 1969.]
World Walking’s journey to Mars has taken us only 3,370 days (9 years, 2 months and 22 days) to complete and it has been a lot of fun. Over the years we have met many interesting and kind-hearted people who have encouraged us to keep going and shared with us their stories of how they have used World Walking.
Along our long journey, World Walking has:
With Grateful Thanks
World Walking would never have got off the ground, never mind been able to sustain its almost decade-long, zero-carbon mission, without:
Our amazing online community of world walkers.
Some activity facts and figures:
50 million miles (117.3 billion steps)
Average Distance Walked Per Day
14,836 miles (34.8 million steps)
Number of Virtual Walks Completed
World Walking User Accounts Created
Average Number of New Users Per Day
The talented and kind-hearted Glasgow-based digital design team of David Rushton (Web Developer), Chris Baldie (Graphic Designer), Michael Park (iOS Developer) and Fergus Howe (Android Developer) at Papertank Ltd./Team Challenge Apps. Ltd. who brought an idea to life in the most wonderful way. Finding them was our luckiest break and changed everything.
Some recent technical facts and figures:
Lines of Code Written for Our Bespoke System
Number of Distances Added To Virtual Walks
Number of Sync Jobs from Fitbit
iOS App Downloads
In the Last 30 Days:
The much appreciated donations from individual supporters and the support we have received locally through CVS Inverclyde, the Inverclyde Community Fund, the Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership and, most especially, Inverclyde Council whose grants which have, quite simply, enabled our little charity to keep going.
Some financial facts and figures:
Total Cost of World Walking 2013-22:
Average Total Cost Per Year
Average Revenue Cost Per Year
Average Total Cost Per Day
Average Revenue Cost Per Day
Average Total Cost Per 1,000 Miles
Source of Funding:
We will be changing course in 2023. It turns out that the average distance between Earth and Mercury is only 56.9 million miles so we thought we might as well swing by since we’re in the neighbourhood.
World Walking came about simply because a small group of people with heart health issues went for a walk and that is what is great about walking; you don’t always know where you’ll end up, what you’ll find round the next bend or who you’ll meet along the way but one thing is for sure, you’ll feel the better for it
Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.
Founder - World Walking
Kids Club Kampala's 'Miles in Their Shoes 2022 challenge'!
We are a small international development charity working in Uganda. Our mission is to support vulnerable kids in Uganda in their immidiate needs and stregnthening their futures! Over the past 3 years, with the support of Duncan and World Walking, a total of 12 teams have headed off on a virtual adventure to fundraise for Kids Club Kampala.
This year, teams and individuals walked, ran, cycled and swam to raise money for Kids Club Kampala’s Feeding Futures campaign, supporting families within Kampala’s slum communities with healthy, nutritious meals through Uganda’s current cost of living crisis.
Food prices in Uganda have increased by 400% over the past 2 years. In 2020, we could feed a child a hot, nutritious meal for 20p, now that very same meal costs £1. For families already living on the poverty line, this is having devastating consequences. As food prices continue to rise in Uganda, as is the number of children facing malnourishment and starvation. 7.2 million people in East Africa are at risk of starvation and 12.8 million children are acutely malnourished. Our Feeding Futures appeal is supporting families in our communities with vital food parcels through this crisis.
A total of 49 people in 5 teams got involved in the Miles in Their Shoes 2022 challenge and raised an amazing £5,148 for our Feeding Futures appeal. Each individual had a personal fundraising target of £128, the cost of a monthly family food parcel in Kampala’s slum communities. The £5,148 raised by Miles in Their Shoes 2022 could provide 160 family food parcels, each containing 75 meals, totalling an amazing 12,065 meals!
This fundraising challenge helped supporters to gain a greater understanding of what life is like for children who live in the slums of Kampala, the barriers they face, and how Kids Club Kampala are helping to remove those barriers and create sustainable, systematic change.
This was the third year of the Miles in Their Shoes challenge. In previous years the route has been from Birmingham to Uganda. This year, with the help of the World Walking team, we managed to plan a route around Uganda, celebrating Ugandan culture and exploring its natural beauty.
To help motivate the supporters, Kids Club Kampala and the World Walking team found 10 different checkpoints along the route to highlight their achievements so far and discuss one of the projects in Kampala. The route around Uganda, starting and finishing in Kampala, was a total distance 1,148 miles. Our supporters visited the natural wonders of the Ssippi Falls, and the bustling cities of Gulu and Jinja.
At the end of the 9 weeks, supporters were invited to attend the ‘Finish Line Party’, where they celebrated their achievements and found out the grand total raised from their hard work. Prizes were also awarded to the person who raised the most money and the person who took the best photo along the route.
Advice from the World Walking team proved invaluable when planning the route around Uganda and selecting the different checkpoints. We would like to say a HUGE thank you to them! Their easy to use app allowed our fundraisers to connect with the Kids Club Kampala mission and raise money for families in need in Uganda.
THANK YOU WORLD WALKING!
If you would like to be involved in next years Miles in Their Shoes challenge make sure you’re
signed up to our newsletter! Sign up here: www.kidsclubkampala.org/newsletter
Fundraising Manager - Kids Club Kampala
It always delights us when we see others using World Walking to help others.
One of the charities which made good use of World Walking this year is Linda's Fund, a small-volunteer-led charity based in Fortrose in the Scottish Highlands which raises money for further education bursaries to help students of the Mulanje Mission Community Day Secondary School in Malawi find employment.
Here's their story.
How about walking 8,898 miles to Malawi?! If someone had suggested that a few years ago I would have laughed but with the wonders of the internet, World Walking and the help of 14 others it was possible to do it without leaving UK let alone the Highlands.
Raising money for Linda’s Fund, supporting vocational education in Malawi, we set off on 1st February to walk the the distance by combining everyone’s mileage. We completed the distance on 1st July which was an average of roughly 600miles each or 4 miles a day everyday. Some people managed almost 3 times the average however it was not a competition but a challenge.
The route once in Europe followed almost exactly the route that my late wife Linda and I travelled in 1979 when we drove from UK to Baghdad where we lived for 3 years.
We virtually walked through, France, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Jordan passing well known sites like Paris, Munich, Istanbul, Cappadocia, Damascus and Petra and that was roughly only the half way point!
Into Egypt we crossed the Suez Canal, passed the Pyramids and then followed the Nile south into Sudan and Ethiopia.
From Sudan we stayed in the Rift Valley through the Masi Mara and Serengeti before entering the north of Malawi. From there it was still another 550 miles south along the shore of lake Malawi to Mulanje Mission and Fortrose Academy‘s partner school.
Money raised so far (July 2022) is about £3000. It provides much needed bursaries for students to undertake vocational training at colleges. Most of the students have to live away from home to go to college. The annual cost of accommodation and fees of about £350 a student, although much less than UK, is equivalent to over a years salary and therefore out of reach for the vast majority of families who attend the school.
Since 2007 we have given 32 students the opportunity to study and most have gone on to get employment or use their skills to start businesses in the area. One year we had over 30 applications for 3 bursaries!
Two recent examples:-
“ Hie sir, I hope you are fine. And am also fine here. Thank you for the greatest job that you have been doing upon my studies and the love being shown to me since I started my level one in automobile mechanics. It has been a hard time to make it from level one to level 3 but I do thank God for his grace, mercy and favour in all the time. Pass my greeting to the whole Linda's fund team.“
The fund is managed in Malawi by a local committee chaired by the Head Teacher and in the UK by a small group of volunteers.
It is very rewarding to hear back from students and for all the support given to the Fund over the years from both individuals and Fortrose Academy staff, pupils and parents. We can only make small changes but they all can add up to make a big difference.
The virtual walk was great fun and encouraged us all to keep walking. Maybe next year we can virtually climb Everest as the next challenge?!
More information about Linda’s Fund and how to support it can be found on our charity's website.
Thanks to the wonderful World Walking team for setting the walk up for us, making it happen and providing the ability to easily track our progress. Phones or Fitbits recorded our individual mileage and linked to their app when we submitted details daily, weekly or whenever we wanted.
Trustee of Linda's Fund.