Natural England has a responsibility to promote access, recreation and public well-being for the benefit of today's and future generations.
We aim for everyone to have fair access to a good quality natural environment. Through our work we hope people will make the natural environment an enriching part of their daily lives. We work with partner organisations to help improve the quality of everyone’s experience of natural places and to increase the number and diversity of people inspired by and enjoying the natural environment.
The Countryside Agency - now part of Natural England - investigated what could be done to support the participation in outdoor recreation of disabled people, black and minority ethnic people, people who live in inner city areas and young people. This programme of work is called the 'Diversity Review'.
Research from the Diversity Review (2005) found that some people are less likely to use the natural environment for recreation and other purposes and the under-represented groups were found to be disabled people, black and minority ethnic people, people who live in inner city areas and young people.
The Diversity Review undertook a number of key research studies.
A new national Outdoors for All working group has been set up, bringing together users and providers of services for people living in deprived areas, the elderly, those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health illness and people from black and minority ethnic communities.
The aim of this is to ensure high quality opportunities to access the natural environment are readily available and meet the needs of all people in these communities.
The purpose of the working group is to:
commission robust evidence of the need and priorities for access (in all its forms) to the natural environment, and barriers to access, for people living in deprived areas, the elderly, those with physical or mental health disabilities, and people from black and minority ethnic communities;
design innovative projects to improve the provision of existing access services or deliver new services;
help build new delivery partnerships and, test and evaluate new delivery models;
secure funding for evidence programmes or to implement delivery projects;
help improve the impact, reach and quality of access services for the diversity sector, striving to achieve consistency of provision across the country; and
share good practice across the diversity sector and celebrate success.
Natural England works with a range of partners to help deliver projects which aim to ensure that people living in deprived areas, the elderly, those with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health illness, and people from black and minority ethnic communities all have opportunities to access high quality natural environments. Each year we capture some of the stories from these projects in annual case story reports.
For more information on Outdoors for All, contact: Sarah Preston, Outdoors for All lead at email@example.com