Vale of Glamorgan Council
In the Vale of Glamorgan, the local authority maintains Rights of Way but Valeways, a voluntary sector organization, carries out improvement of the network.
In addition to some funding from the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Valeways is able to access funding which is not available to the local authority and uses a pool of around 50 volunteers at any one time. It can therefore deliver considerable value for money.
Valeways is representative of its community and has an inclusive policy in its recruitment and use of volunteers. An Inclusion Officer ensures the provision of appropriate support to people from all backgrounds and of all abilities to enable them to play a part in Valeways' work including a number with mental health issues, learning difficulties, physical impairments etc.
The organisation works in partnership with the local access authority, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, in planning its programme of improving and reopening footpaths. Valeways also works closely with the Ramblers Association and landowners whose co-operation is essential to the success of the individual projects.
Valeways aims to improve a 15 km stretch of the rights of way network in the Vale of Glamorgan each year, including installing and replacing path furniture. The Millennium Heritage Trail was Valeways' own initiative. It is a 70 mile long circular trail with many links to other Rights of Way.
Valeways has constructed approximately 60 circular walks on 15 sections of footpath. It is currently working on a plan for a disabled-friendly path and also leads walks and produces promotional material.
Key lessons include working in partnership with the Council, the Ramblers' Association and landowners; having a proactive and skilled board of management and trustees; developing a solid volunteer base; and providing volunteering opportunities for people with mental health problems or learning disabilities.