Businesses in Devon spent the whole of March competing to be top of the leaderboard for the Big Devon March, a campaign designed to get more working aged people walking. Between them, they walked a staggering 24,901 miles, the equivalent of walking the circumference of the earth, surpassing all the original expectations.
Topping the business leaderboard were Exeter College who on their own managed to log 3127 miles, the equivalent of walking Lands End to John O'Groats 3.5 times. They won a full day of navigation training on Dartmoor for 8 people from Adventurecise UK, a prize which is worth £400. They recently received their prize from Active Devon who led the successful campaign and who work with a wide range of partners to get everyone in Devon active for life.
Matt Rowett, who has been championing much of the walking for Exeter College and who leads a number of the walks said: “I’ve loved seeing how many staff have joined in with this activity from all areas of the college workforce. It’s created a great opportunity for cross college competition along with the county wide rivalry.” More than 60 staff from Exeter College, named as a Top 100 employer in The Sunday Times, took part in the Big Devon March. The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies is an annual ranking of the best workplaces measuring workforce motivation, happiness and engagement.
The Big Devon March’s huge success right across Devon ensures that it looks set to become a mainstay of the annual active calendar. The large take up of walking by workplaces was in part down to easy messaging – small, achievable changes to everyday office routines increase activity levels, motivation and productivity.
“The Big Devon March showed what an enormous appetite there is for having a focus to get out of the office for a short burst of activity during the working day” said Scott Kendall from Active Devon who lead the campaign which was funded by Travel Devon. “77 organisations signed up for the Big Devon March and we’d like to build on this success for the 2018 campaign”.
Walking more has a number of recognised benefits for workplaces and their staff; active travel to work reduces CO2 emissions, whilst a brisk lunchtime walk can leave staff more focused, increasing productivity in the afternoon. More than 60 staff from Exeter College took part in Big Devon March and continue to walk regularly. They are keen to keep the momentum building. “Staff have not only been replacing their daily commute with a walk to work but have also reported increased productivity and weight loss.” said Matt Rowett.
The Big Devon March has inspired a range of organisations including Devon County Council, MDEC Royal Mail in Plymouth and smaller organisations such as One Ilfracombe. Aside from getting healthier, enjoying more fresh air and feeling great, the Big Devon March has helped to show people that walking is a really achievable way of getting away from their desks, moving more and catching up with friends.
If you are interested in joining in with the Big Devon March in 2018 or increasing the opportunities for staff to be active within your workplace contact [email protected]