National Parks: New Perspectives bursaries will engage new audiences

  • Contributor information: CNP

People have turned to National Parks to help them through a very difficult year, with National Parks all seeing big increases in visitor numbers – particularly first-time visitors, including younger people and BAME communities. 

This has led to some challenges but also to huge opportunities to connect with people who previously weren’t accessing National Parks and the health and wellbeing benefits they provide – to make them truly accessible.

Accessibility is one of Campaign for National Parks’ focuses and is about more than physical access, but about helping those less familiar with National Parks to get to know them and feel empowered to visit and enjoy them. It was the motivation behind our successful MOSAIC project, which still exists in several National Parks and is what also prompts our latest initiative.

The ‘National Parks: New Perspectives’ bursaries are designed to engage new audiences with National Parks – addressing a challenge reported by most National Parks in 2020. It’s not about existing National Parks communicators learning a new language, but is about meeting people where they are. 

National Parks are often seen through the eyes of a certain demographic but as the past year has shown, they’re enjoyed by all. This scheme aims to enable a new generation of communicators to share their stories from these special places with bursaries to fund their creative work in National Parks.

We plan to launch at least 3 x £1,000+ bursaries which will provide funding for early career creators to share their stories of National Parks and inspire their peers to get out there too. We’re really open to ideas for the bursaries and formats for the output, we don’t want to be too prescriptive but to give people the means to express their version of National Parks in their language be it a film, infographics, longform journalism or something else. 

“This isn’t about commissioning lots of pretty pictures or a tourist brochure,” says Campaign for National Parks’ Chief Executive Anita Konrad, “Our bursaries will enable people from under-represented groups in National Parks to communicate in ways they relate to and find creative ways to make National Parks feel more welcoming to everyone.”

We know that younger people have been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and that youth unemployment is rising. We want the experience and profile of this work to help people secure future work too. While the main focus of these bursaries is the recipients, Campaign for National Parks, National Park Authorities and Societies and others will also benefit from understanding new perspectives and how to better engage with different audiences.

Anita added: “It will enable us to champion National Parks in new and different ways and, at the same time, support participants’ professional development and further their career prospects.”

You can support these bursaries by making a donation today: donations made via the Big Give website from noon 22 – noon 29 April 2021 will be fund-matched meaning that your donation is worth double to us at no extra cost to you. See here for details.