Ben Fogle with his dog Inca

Ben Fogle with his dog Inca

Antarctic adventurer Ben Fogle will today help launch a scheme to open up England’s national parks to ethnic minorities.

Community champions from across the country will be trained in map reading, walk leading, fundraising, campaigning and dealing with the media to urge their fellow minority ethnic members to enjoy the best of the English countryside. The Mosaic campaign will be run by the Campaign for National Parks, of which Mr Fogle is president.

The television presenter will join minister Huw Irranca-Davies at the Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales national park this morning to get the scheme underway.

Twenty cities across England have been chosen to participate in Mosaic, which also involves the Youth Hostels Association and nine national park authorities. Today’s launch follows a 3½-year pilot project involving four of the national parks.

Mr Fogle said: “Going to the countryside inspired me when I was a child, and led me to pursue the adventures I enjoy now as an adult. Mosaic is a fantastic project that works to make sure that everyone has that opportunity to experience and be amazed by the most spectacular landscapes in our country.”

Mosaic members in the North York Moors national park

Mosaic members in the North York Moors national park

Nurjahan Ali Arobi, a member of the Bradford community, is a Mosaic champion. She said: “Mosaic gives me the skills and confidence to promote the Yorkshire Dales and help my community to access the national park.

“Before we would not have been aware of what was available there in terms of facilities, let alone the sheer natural beauty and that it was a place for us all to enjoy.” She will join Mr Fogle at the Hawes launch.

Mr Irranca-Davies, natural environment minister, said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and to get close to nature. Green spaces are good for our health and well-being.

“The work being done by the Campaign for National Parks and community groups through Mosaic is not only breaking down barriers, but is also forging lasting links so that more people from minority communities and under-represented groups are attracted to our national parks and can enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere in the world.

“Projects like Mosaic help create social cohesion within communities nationwide and the Government wholeheartedly supports the work they do.”

The Campaign for National Parks, a charity that campaigns to protect and promote national parks for the benefit and quiet enjoyment of all, says the 60th anniversary of the Act of Parliament that led to the setting up of the parks, is the ideal opportunity to ensure the national parks remain relevant to all people in contemporary 21st century Britain.

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