WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
Although around 10 percent of the UK population is of an ethnic minority background, only about 1 percent of visitors to national parks are from ethnic minorities. A cultural and knowledge gap exists among many minority ethnic communities about the countryside – where to go and what to do. Many tourism adverts in the UK have traditionally featured only white people, reinforcing the perception of some communities that rural Britain “is not for us”.
WHAT STEPS ARE BEING TAKING?
August sees the roll out of the last stage of Mosaic, a three-year national project overseen by the Campaign for National Parks (CNP) to help ethnic minority communities engage with the national parks of England and Wales.
HOW HAS THIS WORKED?
Mosaic identified individuals from within ethnic minority groups in 20 cities. These ‘champions’ were then trained in map reading, leading walks, driving minibuses and demystifying many of the preconceptions about the countryside. Mosaic is also encouraging religious festivals to be held in national parks.
HAS IT BEEN A SUCCESS?
The CNP expected 80 volunteers but recruited 217, who have helped promote the nationals parks to local community groups; so far 4,000 people have visited national parks for the first time. A sea change is also taking place in the culture of national parks, according to CNP, with publicity now more inclusive and promoted within ethnic minority communities.
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THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN ISSUE 24 OF COUNTRYFILE MAGAZINE. TO NEVER MISS AN ISSUE SUBSCRIBE TODAY!