A YOUNG man from Inverclyde has been named winner of a national award for his voluntary work designing and building an accessible path in Port Glasgow.

Colin Mckenzie helped to create a new accessible thoroughfare at the three-acre site at Parklea Branching Out.

His sterling efforts led to him being named volunteer of the year by Scotland’s walking charity Paths for All at its annual ceremony at the Scottish Parliament.

Colin helped to build the path in a project supported by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) which offers a five-day learning experience for young people.

Calum Easton, the co-ordinator, said: “Colin really benefited from the project which covered all the considerations to be made during each stage of design, right through to building an accessible path.

“He joined in enthusiastically and gained a lot of new practical and social skills which helped to boost his confidence.”

Ian Findlay CBE, chief officer at Paths for All, praised Colin and says his work will have a big impact on his local community.

He said: “Getting outside and going for a walk is so valuable for our own personal health and for the health of our planet.

"So it’s very important to take the time to thank the volunteers from Parklea, like Colin, whose selfless efforts are making a huge difference to the lives of others.

“It’s inspiring."

Caroline Fyfe, SNH strategic paths and funding officer, congratulated Colin on his well-deserved award.

She said: “The programme has gone from strength to strength over the last three years and provides great opportunities for young people to learn valuable skills and improve their communities. "Congratulations to Colin and the other young volunteers from Parklea for their fantastic achievement.”

Paths for All are now looking for other young people aged 16 to 25 from Inverclyde to follow in Colin's footsteps.

All that is needed is a group of eight or more young people and an area where they can upgrade a path in their local community.

To find out more email tom.whalley@pathsforall.org.uk or call 07778127628.