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Blaze Trails

1894. Katy O'Neill Gutierrez

Katy O’Neill Gutierrez, from London, set up ‘Blaze Trails’, a nationwide network of parent and baby walking groups helping new families get outdoors.

Katy O'Neill Gutierrez

Katy, a long-time outdoor adventurist, created the first group in 2018 after the birth of her first baby as a way to reconnect with the outdoors whilst building connections with other new parents. During lockdown, and following the birth of her second baby, she decided to scale up the model further, with more than 40 groups now based across the UK. ‘Blaze Trails’ not only serves to connect new parents with green spaces to improve their wellbeing but with a supportive peer network, sharing practical advice and reassurance in a relaxed outdoor setting, and helping to reduce social isolation.

In a personal letter to Katy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Thank you for everything ‘Blaze Trails’ has done to support new parents and their babies to experience the outdoors.

“Inspired by your love for the outdoors, you have founded a wonderful initiative which is allowing new parents and their newborn children to connect and explore the many wonderful green spaces in Britain.”

Katy said:

“On behalf of our amazing network of volunteers running our parent and baby walking groups around the country, I’m so chuffed to be chosen for a Point of Light award. I started ‘Blaze Trails CIC’ because I wanted to get outdoors with my baby and other families but couldn’t find a local walking group. We now have over 40 free local groups getting out walking regularly together, and we support thousands of parents to feel confident getting active with their babies by providing information and advice. New parents have had a tough time of the pandemic but getting out walking together has been a brilliant way of improving our mental and physical health, sharing a love of the outdoors, and connecting with new friends in our local communities. Thank you for the recognition and support!”

See more about ‘Blaze Trails’

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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