Over 20 Mosaic Community Champions came to the Bannau Brycheiniog on Friday, October 12 for a weekend visit to find out more about the National Park – with a view to passing on knowledge and making the area more accessible for their respective communities.
The Mosaic project, led by the Campaign for National Parks, drives to build sustainable links between black and minority ethnic communities and the three National Parks in Wales.
During last week’s visit staff from Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority teamed up with representatives from Campaign for National Parks, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire National Park Authorities, as well as Brecon YHA, to offer a weekend of activities showcasing what’s great about the Bannau Brycheiniog.
Visitors were able to take part in a selection of activities including a climb to Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad and Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve, feeding red kites at the Red Kite Feeding Centre in Llanddeusant, geocaching on Mynydd Illtyd Common near the National Park Visitor Centre in Libanus and a canal boat trip down the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal – which celebrates its bicentenary this year.
Visiting Mosaic Community Champions also participated in social functions, as well as workshops and forums which gave participants the opportunity to express how National Parks could better reach out to black and ethnic minority communities.
The forums commended the Mosaic network, and also praised staff from Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority for their organisation and help over the weekend.
Early feedback suggests that all the visitors thoroughly enjoyed their trip, and that many of the Mosaic Community Champions will return to the National Park in the spring on trips they have organised for members of their communities.
Clare Parsons, Sustainable Communities Manager for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, said: “Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority staff enjoyed meeting the delegates at the event and sharing our special landscape. We hope to use the feedback to enhance services for visitors to the Park.”
Lisa Bainbridge Campaigns and Engagement Director at the Campaign for National Parks, said: “Our Community Champions had the opportunity to get to know each other, as well as the people they’ll be working with from all of the National Parks in Wales. We talked about how we might now start to break down some of the barriers to access, and independently organise days and weekends away. We were also really lucky to have some of our Community Champions from England with us, who were able to share their experiences and give us some great hints and tips.
“Our Mosaic project has now achieved some important milestones with 30 Community Champions now on board in Wales and our first Annual Event a resounding success. We are all looking forward to undertaking some training over the winter and planning our next visits to the beautiful National Parks of Wales.”
Cllr David Meredith, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s Member Champion for Human Rights and Equal Opportunities, added: “It is estimated that only around 1% of visitors to National Parks are from ethnic minorities, but the work the Authority is doing with Mosaic is making real strides to significantly increase that figure. We want to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to enjoy the wonderful landscapes, activities and amenities that Bannau Brycheiniog National Park has to offer.”