Mosaic Wales project draws to a close and starts a new chapter

More than 2,200 people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities have been brought to Welsh National Parks for the first time thanks to the three year Mosaic project run by the Campaign for National Parks.

A total of 68 Community Champions across five Welsh cities have been recruited to promote National Parks as place to enjoy, relax and volunteer but also as important landscapes to protect.

And two new groups have grown out of Mosaic to continue the work of introducing new people to Wales’ National Parks: Diversity Outdoors aims to link BME communities in South Wales with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, while Community Footprints plans to continue the link between champions in Newport, Barry and Cardiff with the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Sarah Wilson, Mosaic Wales project manager, said she was delighted with the success of the project. “Not only have more people got to know some of Wales’ most inspirational landscapes, but there is now increased understanding among the Welsh Government and National Park Authorities of the social value that these landscapes have in terms of health, well-being and social cohesion.

“Personal relationships forged through Mosaic between Community Champions, YHA managers and National Park Authority staff have also greatly assisted mutual understanding and more inclusive services,” she added.

Homan Yousofi, a Community Champion with the project said he is using the knowledge he has gained of Snowdonia and the relations he’s built with National Park Authority staff to start a series of walks in the National Park focussing on mindfulness.
Brecon Beacons Community Champions have also signed up to become National Park Authority volunteers to continue their role promoting the Park, while in Snowdonia a plan has been drawn up for continue engagement and events both in the Park and at wider multi-cultural urban events.

The project has also produced a guide with the NPAs to the three Welsh National Parks to help boost engagement from BME groups in urban areas.

Ms Wilson paid tribute to the staff team for their commitment, enthusiasm and skill in making the project a success and thanked the community champions, the NPAs, the Youth Hostel Association and funders the Big Lottery People and Places programme for their support over the past three years.

“We look forward to moving forward together to increase diversity in and understanding of Wales’ National Parks,” she added.

Pembrokeshire National Park Authority Discovery Team Leader Graham Peake said: “Mosaic worked really well in Pembrokeshire. There were numerous visits to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with Champions to explore and experience some amazing places with the support of Authority staff and local residents.  We plan to continue working with Diversity Outdoors, the group established by Pembrokeshire Champions, in the future.”

Clare Parsons, Sustainable Communities Manager for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said:  “Our Officers and Members have enjoyed working with Mosaic staff and Community Champions over the past three years.  Our experiences with Mosaic have given us a direct insight into the value that black and ethnic minority communities place on visiting the National Park, and also the potential barriers they face when making these visits.  We continue to work to address these where we can, for example, we have increased the proportion of ethnic minority images in communications materials to better reflect the ethnic mix of the general population, as well as providing information and training.  We look forward to continuing to work with the Community Champions who have signed up as volunteers, and supporting them alongside the newly formed Community Footprints group.”

Carys Dafydd, Snowdonia National Parks Authority’s Community Officer, said: “It has been an honour and a pleasure to work on the Mosaic project. By walking and talking in Snowdonia’s majestic landscape, we’ve come to realise that we have so much in common as people. Although the project has now come to an end, as an Authority we will continue to keep in contact with the Community Champions.”

Kate Lansley, Youth Hostel Association Youth Engagement Officer, added: It’s been wonderful to work closely with the Mosaic project. It’s great the see the Champions engaging with National Parks, and wonderful to see so many of them using Youth Hostels. YHA strives to help young people to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside, so the project was a perfect example of how impactful and important those experiences can be. We wish the Champions from Wales the best of luck for the future.”

Notes to Editors:
The Campaign for National Parks partnered with the Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia National Park authorities and the YHA to deliver Mosaic in Wales between 2012 and 2015. The project has been 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

The Campaign for National Parks is a national charity dedicated to campaigning to protect and promote all the National Parks in England and Wales. Further information about our work can be obtained from Tony McDougal, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager - tonym@cnp.org.uk