MOMENTUM in Moray for walking, jogging and running could be at risk due to a £10,000 funding shortfall.
More than 5,000 people took part in a Moray Olympic Flame Trail and Olympic-themed races over the summer.
Communities throughout the area seized the Olympic spirit in remarkable fashion, with people of all ages and abilities getting involved.
Those events were organised by the Walk, Jog, Run Moray partnership (WJRM), which over the last three years has helped establish 20 community groups who meet on a regular basis.
Up to 1,500 people take part in activities, many of whom did not exercise regularly before or were at risk of social isolation. Many have also gone on to join existing athletic clubs.
However, the future development of that network could be at risk if money cannot be found to put in place a full-time co-ordinator for the next two years.
Dr Nick Brown, one of the co-founders of the WJRM partnership, said that with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, it had been hoped to generate an even greater level of interest in the movement.
Along with Moray Council’s sports development officer, Kim Paterson, who is secretary of WJRM, Dr Brown believed that a funding package was in place earlier this year to give the project the green light.
"We have to seize the momentum that we have at the moment, particularly with the Commonwealth Games looming," he said.
A £30,000 annual budget for a three-year post had been provisionally put in place with funding from Paths for All, NHS Grampian and SportScotland under the Cashback for Communities banner. However, the latter has fallen through.
The project has been revised to a two- year option, but Dr Brown said that an overall £10,000 shortfall remained for that period.
Approaches to other funding bodies have so far failed to come up trumps, and he has appealed to the local community to help WJRM find a solution.
"There are huge health and social benefits to be reaped from this, but the urgency is to keep the momentum going," he added.
Anyone who is keen to help, either with funding or advice, can contact Dr Brown on 07900 353879 or Kim Paterson at Moray Council on 07800 670675.
More information on Walk Jog Run Moray activities is available online at www.walkjogrunmoray.org.uk