Mosaic Champions annual event: National Parks need to be more accessible for young people

Young volunteers with National Parks have spoken about the importance of them being more accessible to people of their own age (16-25) during their annual weekend event at Grinton Youth Hostel in the Yorkshire Dales.

The youngsters - Mosaic Champions with the Campaign for National Parks – talked about what they get out from spending  time in National Parks and promoting them to others of their age in terms of learning new skills, improving employment chances, having fun and reducing stress. They emphasised how important it was for youngsters to know what was available to them.
The champions, all aged between 16-25,  live near five of our National Parks – the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, New Forest, Exmoor and Northumberland -  but have not had the opportunity to visit and use them. They volunteer for the National Park closest to where they live to promote it to their peers as well as doing more traditional conservation activities such as maintaining paths or helping manage woodland.
To celebrate their work in National Parks, the champions tried out caving and mountain-biking in the fantastic Swale Valley. They also learnt about sheep farming and lead mining as well as making plans for how they will continue to be involved after the end of the three year Mosaic project.
Lake District champion Adam Philip-Phillips said: “I’ve spoken to several Champions to understand better how they view National Parks and I’m going to present this to the members of the Lake District National Park Authority”
Exmoor champion Hephzi Herman added: “‘I enjoyed every second of the weekend, even though it was chucking it down! We had an incredible time in the northern Dales and met great people.”
Sarah Wilson, CNP Mosaic programme manager, said: ‘These celebration weekends give us an opportunity to say thank you to Champions for the fantastic work they do. It also gives them an opportunity to experience another National Park, meet other like-minded people from across the country and become part of a national group of young National Park supporters.’
Peter Charlesworth, Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), welcomed the Champions and thanked them for their work. He explained how important it is for young people to experience National Parks for their inspirational landscapes and stressed that initiatives like Mosaic, which aim to introduce people who would not normally visit a National Park, must continue.
Catherine Kemp, YDNPA Learning and Engagement Officer, said: “It’s always great to see young people enjoying our fantastic landscapes. I am lucky enough to be able to work with many of them in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and I find their enthusiasm for getting out into our National Parks truly inspirational.”
The Mosaic project is funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund with contributions from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as well as the other four participating National Park Authorities.

Notes to editors

For further information about the Mosaic youth project please contact Lucy McQuillan at the Campaign for National Parks. lucy@cnp.org.uk
Mosaic for young people is run by the Campaign for National Parks in partnership with the YHA and the Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities.
The Campaign for National Parks is a national charity dedicated to campaigning to protect and promote all the National Parks of England and Wales. Further information about our work can be obtained from Tony McDougal, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager - tonym@cnp.org.uk