and the means to fully enjoy the recreational benefits of our rural areas,
according to Countryside Agency deputy chair Pam Warhurst.
what our countryside has to offer is a real problem for some people. For those
in towns it might be because of lack of public transport, lack of information,
lack of income, physical disability or sense of isolation. or it may be for
rural people a lack of transport services, social isolation, low incomes and
a sense of powerlessness - their needs often hidden, obscured in what is
perceived generally as a more affluent community.
'We need to reach all these people. What matters is need to overturn and
overcome the barriers that prevent them from visiting the countryside and
recreational pursuits and provide more for them in the countryside and urban
green spaces, particularly those on their doorstep.
'The government's Rural White Paper has set the challenge to: 'encourage more
people with disabilities, more people from the ethnic minorities, more people
from the inner cities and more young people to visit the countryside and
participate in countryside activities, initially by seeking their views on what
they need to enjoy the countryside.
'People need to feel welcome, and that means getting the right sort of
information to them wherever they live.'
The Countryside Agency is taking this seriously, and our initiatives to address
* creating a 'Rural Social Exclusion Advisory Group' to guide our work
and provide links with other key social exclusion initiatives
* increasing the range of recreational opportunities where people want
them - the countryside in and around towns and in our national parks and areas
of outstanding natural beauty
* doubling to£10m the Rural Transport and Parish Transport Fund
to help improve access to the countryside
* endeavouring to reach people who until now may have little experience
of countryside recreation by improving information on recreation opportunities
* starting research that will give us a better understanding of why a
wider cross-section of society are not using the countryside for recreation
* developing a National Park Multi Cultural Initiative to encourage
people from ethnic minorities to enjoy the countryside and research the
barriers that may prevent this
The Countryside Agency believes that recreation and access to the countryside
can play a key part in regenerating and rebuilding communities, contributing to
improvements in health and a wide range of social and economic benefits.
Social Inclusion in Countryside Leisure in the United Kingdom: The Role of the
Countryside in Addressing Social Inclusion - A Report for the Countryside
Recreation Network was commissioned by the UK countryside agencies to develop
understanding of issues of social exclusion and inclusion in countryside
recreation. Copies of the report are available from CRN at£10. Contact:
Countryside Recreation Network, Dept of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff
University, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3WA. Tel: 029 2087 4970, fax:
029 2087 4728, e-mail: email@example.com.
The Executive Summary is available on the CRN website.