Our latest Building Stronger Communities blog focuses on Boots & Beards, a grass-roots organisation based in Glasgow that uses physical activity to help improve the health and wellbeing of their local community.
Concerned their kids were spending too much time indoors in front of screens, Zain and a group of dads decided to arrange regular walking trips in the Scottish countryside. All cousins, the group brought their families together, taking turns to research new areas, recce the location and then organise the trips. After each excursion, they would share their experiences on social media and it wasn’t long before more people started to take notice.
The wider community and social circles would say “Hang-on, next time you go could you let u know? We’d like to come along.” Zain told us.
Enquiries came in thick and fast and they soon found their number growing to almost 50 people, of whom at least 30 would join them on a regular basis. They realised that shepherding families around the Scottish countryside was a big responsibility and quickly sought to formalise the venture into what became known as Boots & Beards. Making it all official allowed the team to turn the enterprise into a registered charity, put insurance in place and gain further training to ensure the safety and security of anyone who joined a trip.
As the group grew in number, each walk gave participants the opportunity to forge new connections in their local community, while working on their mental and physical health. Come rain or shine, the mixed group of adults and children would head out on a new adventure, trekking through forests, traversing hills and at the same time, strengthening bonds.
We wanted people to use Boots & Beards as a way to improve relationships, away from the games consoles. We realised quite soon that people were coming out because they had issues in their marriage, financial problems.
With so many people walking and talking it was somewhat inevitable that ideas for more activities came up in conversation. Members of the Boots & Beards group were soon leading new activity sessions, such as badminton and football and a women’s-only group called the Bonnie Boots formed.
The success of Boots & Beards and its many offshoots has not only brought the community together, it has also had a big impact on the health and wellbeing of its members. Some have even begun participating in marathons, having turned their health around after attending Boots & Beards events.
They’re walking more, they’re feeling better. One of the quotes we have in front of us at all times is “Health is wealth”. It’s such a powerful statement.
From humble beginnings, Boots & Beards has expanded into an organisation that supports the local community, encouraging members to form new bonds with their neighbours while improving their health at the same time. In 2021, Ring teamed up with Made by Sport to support organisations like Boots & Beards to help make neighbourhoods stronger and safer through community activity and sport. In 2023, we will continue to run the Building Stronger Communities Programme with Sported.
Learn more about the organisations we work with here: https://www.ring.com/community
For more information about Sported: sported.org.uk
For more information about Boots & Beards: https://www.bootsandbeards.co.uk/