Members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority will hear about ambitious new education, engagement and volunteering plans aimed at young people and under-represented groups when they meet in Leyburn next week.
Through educational and skills-based activities, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority aims to inspire 1,500 young people from in and around the National Park to explore and enhance their fantastic environment each year, provide 6,000 people from under-represented groups with activity days, and provide at least 7,000 volunteer days per year, with 15% coming from under-represented groups.
This will deliver a cohesive programme of inspirational, participatory activities that will attract at least 4,000 people each year to find out more about the National Park’s special qualities.
Neil Heseltine, Chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said:
“Connecting young people with nature through educational, skills-based or volunteer activity is how we foster a new generation who understand, love, explore, and advocate for the unique environment of the National Park. Whether it’s school children spending a night under the stars, young people from Bradford visiting a farm or a young volunteer using their voice and influence on how the Park is managed – all of these experiences can forge a lifetime connection with this special place.
“Recreation and Health is a priority work programme for us, and these exciting and ambitious plans will help people manage their health and wellbeing by making a connection to nature or by taking part in recreational activities in the National Park.
“Young people should be the inspiration and catalyst for growing our green economy. Our approach will hopefully support their journey through education and volunteering into employment.”
The promotion of opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park is one of the Authority’s statutory purposes.
- Education and Engagement
Education and Engagement refers to the development and delivery of information and opportunities to educate, empower and encourage everyone (regardless of their background) to experience, learn about and benefit from being in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It includes education, outreach, and recreation and health programmes, and the Authority’s engagement activities relating to these programmes.
The strategy groups the relevant National Park Management Plan objectives into 4 themes:
- Formal Education (work with schools)
- A Yorkshire Dales for Everyone (outreach work with under-represented communities)
- Park Pathways (routes to youth volunteering)
- Inform and Inspire (wider public engagement)
In delivering these objectives we will have regard to 5 key principles:
- Delivery: Our staff and volunteers will continue to deliver high quality activities which enable participants to learn about, love, conserve and explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We will also support others to deliver.
- Health and Wellbeing: Our activities will help people manage their health and wellbeing by making a connection to nature or by taking part in recreational activity in the National Park.
- Partnership: We will continue to work in partnership/collaboration to maximise our delivery reach and to co-design activity which meet the needs of our audiences.
- Targeted Urban Contact: We will maximise resource and impact by building relationships with youth groups and/or community groups in a specific geographical urban area.
- Evaluate and Articulate: Each programme of work will be evaluated annually, using both quantitative and qualitative evidence.
2. Youth Volunteering
Resources will be focused on increasing the volunteer days provided by young people and building pathways to those opportunities through education and outreach programmes.
In terms of this group our core funded volunteering offer is the Dales Young Rangers programme which provides conservation-focused activities for those aged 8-16.
In April 2021, through Generation Green, we employed a Youth Volunteer officer who focused on addressing this gap in our provision. Their role included providing opportunities to volunteer for those aged between 14 and 30. These opportunities were through 2 programmes:
- Dales Action Days (DADs) 14-18 years olds – for groups who wanted to come and spend a day (or a series of days) volunteering in the Park, usually by carrying out a conservation task.
- Up Skill, Down Dale (USDD) 18-30 year olds – for individuals, who could participate in a regular programme of training and events as well as benefit from bespoke placements based on the area of their interest.
Generation Green is focused on young people who are traditionally less likely, due to social, economic and cultural factors, to connect with nature, or engage with nature and nature preservation/conservation.