Andrew Denton, chief executive of the Outdoor Industries Association

Andrew Denton, chief executive of the Outdoor Industries Association

A campaign to get people on their feet in the outdoors will get official funding.

Sport England has agreed a sum of £76,000 for the Britain on Foot scheme, run by the trade body the Outdoor Industries Association.

The grant was secured with help from the British Mountaineering Council, which included a sum for the campaign in its successful recent application for cash from the official Government body for sport in England.

Andrew Denton, chief executive of the OIA, which represents a diverse range of companies and organisations in the outdoor sector, said: “One of the first meetings I had when I joined the OIA was with Dave Turnbull, chief executive of the BMC.

“He was really happy to engage with the association and shared our vision.

“As we began to pull together the strands of the Britain on Foot campaign, I continued to liaise closely with Dave and his team. There was a clear alignment in our aims, particularly as the BMC is appointing a hillwalking officer this year.

“I was hugely impressed by all that the BMC does in the area of access and we determined to work much closer together.

“When the BMC put in their requests to Sport England for funding over the next four years they decided to include a small portion to assist in the Britain on Foot campaign.

“I am delighted to report that this grant application proved to be successful.”

Mr Denton said the first BoF money will be received in March this year, with three smaller amounts available in each of the next three years.

Dave Turnbull, BMC chief executive

Dave Turnbull, BMC chief executive

“While the amount is not huge, it is significant to us and will help us form the base for a Britain on Foot grant-aid project that we wish to kick off during 2013-2014,” he said.

“The plan is to establish an ongoing collection to build a BoF fund via donations, grants and sponsorship.

“Once the fund is at a level that will allow, we will begin to support grassroots projects across the country that promote outdoor activities to new users.

“That support will be delivered through a match-funding exercise, where a grant applicant outlines a project that will carry the BoF logo, and can clearly show it is aimed at new users, promoting the health and other benefits of the outdoors and generating more enthusiasts.

“If the grant trustees agree the project fulfils those goals they will award up to 50 per cent of the costs of the project from the BoF fund.”

The OIA said the BoF fund is a long-term project that does not yet have the major funding required to launch. But it said the BMC organised Sport England grant moves it a step closer.

Mr Denton said: “Every little helps, so while larger grants and corporate sponsorship will ultimately help us to build BoF into a nationwide name, anyone in the outdoor industry who wishes to donate even a small amount and follow in the footsteps of the first funders who have so far paid for everything, can do so at www.britainonfoot.co.uk.”

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