Barnsley youngsters hit new heights in Peak District

This is an archived press release

Thursday 12 May 2005

12 May 2005

Barnsley youngsters hit new heights in Peak District

Urban youngsters did much more than broaden their horizons when they swapped Barnsley streets for the uplands of the Peak District.

Some 20 young people aged 15-16 qualified for the Peak District National Park Young Achievers Award, which they will receive at a ceremony on June 6, after learning conservation, countryside and first aid skills on residential courses among the hills.

For many, it was their first opportunity to get out into the countryside and learn about wildlife habitats. They also learned new skills such as fencing, coppicing and the maintenance of such famous trails as the Pennine Way.

To give them confidence for future independent visits, they learned how to find their way in the countryside and how to take care of someone ill or injured while out on the hills.

The scheme, which has been running for the past six months, involves groups of youngsters staying at a rural hostel for six days of intensive sessions, including long walks on wild terrain with Peak District National Park rangers and skills tuition with Countryside Volunteers.

The Peak District National Park Authority and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council youth service outreach team started the scheme to help close the gap between town and country.

Mike O'Roarke, Barnsley youth team leader, said it had been a great success in encouraging the teenagers to understand environment issues, grasp the opportunity for a healthier lifestyle and earn recognition for their achievement.

"It's extremely popular," he said. "The young people tell their friends about it - we've got so many wanting to join that demand is outstripping supply. For young people who don't normally go to the countryside or take part in that kind of recreation, it's amazing how they'’ve responded. They value the different outlook it gives them on their life."

There will be opportunities for the youngsters to be introduced to climbing at a summer camp, and the next full programme will be in September.

Sean Prendergast, National Park head of access and recreation, said: "It's been a tremendous success. We feel we've been able to make a real contact with these young people and get them to realise that this is their National Park and it's here for all to enjoy.

"We're very pleased and we look forward to continuing the programme next year."

Barnsley, with its industrial, coal mining heritage, is not normally associated in people's minds with the Peak District National Park, but its moorlands of Snailsden and Thurlesdon are firmly within the National Park boundaries.

The Young Achievers Awards will be presented at a special ceremony at Losehill Hall, the National Park's centre for environmental learning, on June 6. It will include a DVD film of their activities.



This is an archived press release

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