Potential ‘champions’ visit the New Forest

Published Wednesday 28 October 2009

The New Forest National Park Authority is taking part in a national project to encourage people from minority ethnic groups to enjoy and learn about the New Forest.

The Mosaic Project, funded by Natural England through Access to Nature as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme, trains people from ethnic minorities to become ‘Community Champions’ and equips them with skills to promote National Parks to their community.

Last weekend the National Park Authority invited nine potential Community Champions from Southampton and London to visit the New Forest and show them what it has to offer.

Their jam-packed weekend was filled with visiting the New Forest Centre, Reptile Centre, Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary, Calshot Activities Centre, Lepe Country Park and a National Park ‘Local Information Point’.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Visitor and Recreation Services at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This is a great project to be part of and the weekend was enjoyed by all. It provided a great introduction to the New Forest as a place for enjoyment and learning, as well as a place that can be visited by all.’

Claire Taylor, Mosaic Project Officer, added: ‘The New Forest has so much on offer for any age group. Currently about 10 per cent of the UK population is from a minority ethnic group but only about one per cent of visitors to national parks are from an ethnic minority. We hope that the Community Champion scheme can change this.’

‘I’m really excited at the prospect of becoming a Community Champion,’ said Joanna Yeung, ‘the New Forest has so much to offer our community and I can’t wait to start building links with National Parks, and telling my friends what makes these places so special.’

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Notes to Editors:

Mosaic is a partnership between the Campaign for National Parks, the Youth Hostels Association and the 9 organisations that help look after the National Parks in England: the Broads Authority, Dartmoor National Park Authority (NPA), Exmoor NPA, Lake District NPA, New Forest NPA, North York Moors NPA, Northumberland NPA, Peak District NPA and the Yorkshire Dales NPA.  Access to Nature has provided £932,314 toward this £1.7 million project, with match funding from Nationwide Building Society, Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the partners themselves.

The Campaign for National Parks (CNP) is the national charity that campaigns to protect and promote National Parks for the benefit and quiet enjoyment of all.

The Youth Hostels Association runs 222 accommodation sites across England and Wales, 87 of which are in a National Park, and provides over 2 million overnight stays for members and guests each year.

Media Contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: karen.evans@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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