National Parks boost links with black and ethnic groups

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 27 April 2005

27 April 2005

National Parks boost links with black and ethnic groups

The Peak District National Park Authority is strengthening its drive to encourage more people from black and ethnic communities to enjoy the countryside.

The Mosaic Partnership, in which the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Brecon Beacons National Parks are taking part, aims to get black and ethnic people more closely involved with the work of their nearest national park, either as volunteers, employees or as members.

These four areas were chosen to lead the way as they are closest to major multicultural urban populations - in the Peak District's case, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and the Midlands.

In addition the Mosaic Partnership will train and develop "community champions"to act as ambassadors and information channels between their own communities and the national parks.

A Peak District training weekend for local champions will be held in July, giving them the background to encourage more people to learn about and visit the National Park, and a special launch event will be held in the Peak in October.

The £1m Mosaic Partnership, managed by the Council for National Parks, will run for three-and-a-half years and will build on the foundations of the previous Mosaic Project, which reached out to black and ethnic communities on a smaller scale.

The Peak District National Park Authority was an enthusiastic participant in the three-year Mosaic Project and now works closely with groups such as the Sheffield Black and Ethnic Environmental Network (SHEBEEN), the multi-ethnic ARDIC youth group, from Wolverhampton, and, nationally, the Black Environment Network.

The new partnership also aims to encourage other organisations within national parks to work more closely with black and ethnic communities.

Tony Hams, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "This is a further commitment by the Authority to encourage diversity in all aspects of our work. We want to involve a wide range of audiences in experiencing the National Park, and enhance their skills and knowledge about national park matters.

"We are really hoping that, by enabling more people from black and ethnic backgrounds to experience the delights of the National Park, they will perhaps want to learn more and make more visits".

The majority of the funding is provided by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £635,000, with the remainder of the cash coming from the four national parks involved, the Countryside Agency, Nationwide Building Society and Lloyds TSB Foundation.

Kathy Moore, Council for National Parks' chief executive, said: "This work is ambitious, but absolutely crucial to secure future support for the national parks and to ensure that more people benefit from what these fantastic landscapes have to offer."

This is an archived press release

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