John Griffiths, the Minister for Natural Resources, Culture and Sport, will today (Thursday, 17 July 2014) join in with an event to celebrate the achievements of a Programme to help people get fit in the great outdoors.
The Come Outside! Programme, funded by the Welsh Government, aims to provide opportunities for people in more deprived areas to live a healthier lifestyle, develop new skills and enjoy the fantastic natural environment in Wales.
The Minister was attending the Come Outside! Summer Celebration event at Parc Penallta, in Caerphilly county borough, organised in partnership with Caerphilly County Borough Council, where people will get the chance to try out exciting new activities such as geo-caching and learn bushcraft skills.
To date, the Programme has supported over 400 people from Communities First areas to get outside and exercise in their local woodland and other green spaces.
The Programme has enabled community and youth officers to involve their groups in over 100 outdoor activity sessions, often engaging with people who weren’t previously participating in any outdoor activity.
The Come Outside! Programme, managed by Natural Resources Wales, works by linking up the expertise of local outdoor activity providers and community groups to promote and run outdoor activities such as mountain biking, gardening and star gazing events.
Juliet Michael of Natural Resources Wales, Programme Manager of Come Outside! said:
“We see the fantastic environment we have in Wales as the best gym experience you can have.
“It not only improves the health and wellbeing of people in these areas, but it also does wonders for the self-confidence of people who take part and inspire and motivate them to make use of the outdoors and develop new skills.
“It’s great when you see people trying out an activity for the first time which brings a smile to their face, and even more satisfying when you meet them weeks later and they’ve continued to do the activity and are really feeling the benefits of it.”
John Griffiths AM said:
“I’m delighted to be able to join the celebration of the achievements of the Come Outside project and to see the work being done to support local community groups in the area to get into the great outdoors.
"Helping people to realise the opportunities available to them for outdoor recreation will deliver benefits to them in terms of their health and wellbeing and will also help to engender a love for the outdoors which will also mean that their local environment will be valued and better looked after.”
Come Outside! aims to inspire, motivate and support people from 15 Communities First cluster areas, across Wales, to enjoy the outdoors, experience the benefits, and value and care for the natural environment.
Through recreation, play, volunteering, outdoor learning/skills development and active travel, the Programme will help develop the skills of over 500 young people not in education, employment or training, to increase opportunities to re-enter education, access training and pursue employment opportunities. The Programme will also support over 1,300 people to develop a more physically active lifestyle.
The programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government’s Homes and Places Division and the Communities First Programme. Natural Resources Wales is the lead partner and hosts the Come Outside! team.