Campaign for National Parks Mosaic Community Champions take to film to inspire ethnic minorities to visit Welsh National Parks

Community champions - working to bring more people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds to the National Parks - have been so inspired that they have created a series of You Tube videos.

The three year initiative, run by the Campaign for National Parks with the three National Park Authorities and the Youth Hostel Association and funded by the Big Lottery People and Places fund, aims to build partnerships between the urban BME population, the voluntary sector and National Parks. Mosaic recruits and supports volunteer community champions, who learn about National Parks and introduce other members of their communities to them.

Final evaluation of the initiative suggests that Mosaic Wales has created 62 community champions and that more than 2,200 people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds had visited the Parks - many for the first time.

Sarah Wilson, Mosaic Project Manager, said: "The Campaign for National Parks Mosaic champions are truly inspirational in the way they promote Welsh National Parks as places where you can enjoy the landscape and enhance health and well-being and community cohesion."

Dawn Archibald, who grew up in Guyana, South America, before moving to Wrexham, has been a Snowdonia Mosaic champion for the last 18 months: "It has been a truly wonderful experience and opened up a whole new world. I have done things that I never thought I would, such as climb Snowdon. It really pushed you to want to be healthy."

Basma Ihbasheh, from Barry, mid-Glamorgan and originally from Palestine, became a Mosaic Brecon Beacons community champion two years ago. She has found the role empowering: "I was very nervous when I joined as it was the first time without my family but everybody treats other people of different religions the same way and is so relaxed. It has really boosted my confidence."

Sham Azam, who has been a Pembrokeshire Coast champion for the past two years, believes the trips are excellent for mental health and well-being: "I work in the centre of Cardiff with women freed from domestic violence. Some have never been out of Cardiff and couldn't afford to go, but the visits to the National Parks are so stress free. It is one of the best things I've ever done."

The lure of Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast has been so strong that Mosaic champions have established a new group, Diversity Outdoors, enabling more people from Cardiff and South East Wales to experience National Parks.

Clayton Georges, Pembrokeshire Coast community champion and chair of Diversity Outdoors, said there were enormous benefits: "It's great to get outdoors away from cities and hectic life and out into the fresh air."

They have been to Manorbier, Broad Haven, Tenby and St David's, taking part in coasteering, surfing, walking and even making bush tea out of leaves in the woods.

Carys Dafydd, Snowdonia National Park Authority's community officer, said: "It has been a privilege and great fun to work with the Mosaic project. Hopefully, the You Tube videos, which you can also view on our website, will inspire people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to come and enjoy the special qualities of Snowdonia National Park."

 

Notes to Editors:

The You Tube videos were filmed in the Autumn at various locations around the Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia National Park at the annual gathering of champions from across Wales. They can also be seen on our website at www.cnp.org.uk/mosaic-video-and-case-studies

We partner with the Brecon Beacons, the Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia National Park authorities and the YHA to deliver Mosaic in Wales. We are funded by the National Lottery People and Places Fund. More information on our Mosaic Wales work can be found at www.cnp.org.uk/mosaic-wales

Welsh media interested in interviewing one of our champions should contact our Mosaic project officers - Sian Roberts (sian@cnp.org.uk) (Tel: 07732 340 728) in North Wales; Jasmin Chowdury (jasmin@cnp.org.uk) (Tel: 07956 674498) or Pat Gregory (pat@cnp.org.uk) (Tel: 07816 498108) in South Wales.

Further information about the work of CNP should be directed to Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager Tony McDougal (tonym@cnp.org.uk) (Tel: 07766133788)

Ends