Minister welcomes National Park pilot bringing representatives from Black and Minority Ethnic communities into public life

At a special induction meeting, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority welcomed four black and minority ethnic representatives from Newport, Cardiff and Brecon.  The four representatives are taking part in a new pilot project, which is being supported by the Welsh Government,  which will see them being mentored by Authority Members to help them gain the skills they need to engage in their town and community councils and local authorities.  

Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority is delighted to be launching its new pilot project which is aimed at improving the representation and inclusivity of black and minority ethnic representatives by introducing them to the democratic process of National Park Authority.

Jasmin Chowdhury and Bhunesh Napal from Cardiff, Zobia Zaman from Newport and Guptaman Gurung from Brecon representing the Nepalese community who live in the National Park, were inducted into the pilot scheme which will enable them to get an insider’s view of the democratic processes and work of the National Park Authority and its Members.

Six National Park Authority Members –  including Mrs Melanie Doel (Deputy Chairman), Cllr Glynog Davies (Carmarthenshire County Council), Cllr David Meredith (Powys County Council), Cllr Paul Ashton (Powys County Council), Cllr Ann Webb (Monmouthshire County Council) and Mr Ian Rowat (Welsh Government appointed member) – have volunteered to mentor the representatives and will offer them support and guidance through the process.

Speaking of the pilot, Carl Sargeant, Minister for Natural Resources said: “The promotion of diversity in public appointments enables us to widen the field of potential candidates and help us to deliver a more representative pool of decision makers for the National Park and Wales more widely. An increase in the number of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people, as well as other under-represented groups, in the decision making processes of our public bodies can only benefit our communities. I’m delighted to support this mentoring project led by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority.”

Cllr David Meredith, Equalities Champion and Member for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said:  “This is a wonderful opportunity for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority Members to share their knowledge as local government decision makers so that our participants can improve their representation in public life.  We will be devoting a lot of passion, energy and support to this project but it’s also a learning process for us as Members.  This new pilot is the first of its kind here in Wales and by the end of the six months we hope that a detailed evaluation will present a better understanding of which mentoring methods worked better than others so that if this is rolled out to other areas or repeated in the Bannau Brycheiniog then BME representatives are mentored and supported accordingly in the future.”

The four representatives will receive at least 24 days of training which will include specific induction sessions that allow them to join in the Member Development Programme for 2015/2016 so that they can learn from existing Members about what the role entails.  They will also be observing meetings and working group meetings and having informal feedback session with their mentors after meetings.