The BMC held a highly successful Equity Symposium over the weekend of 25-27 March at Plas y Brenin in North Wales.
The aims of the weekend were to
- Identify barriers to participation that under-represented communities face and
- Consider ways to remove barriers to participation.
- Looking at ways to inspire people from under-represented communities and provide positive role models.
- Share information and good practice messages and consider ways to disseminate these amongst under-represented communities.
The weekend was a mix of activities, presentations, discussions, consultation and feedback sessions.
On the Saturday groups went on a variety of differentiated hill walks, depending on experience and choice; as well as a range of rock climbing activities.
These were followed by a series of presentations from people with experience of getting into climbing and hill walking. These presentations served as illustrations of the routes different people have taken into the activities.
Presentations were given by:
- BMC Vice President Rehan Siddiqui - which included a film he'd made specifically to encourage people from BME communities to climb.
- Mumtaz Khan on her experience of doing the Walking Group Leader award and setting up a community walking club in Bradford, Yorkshire, called Onna Walks.
- Trish Mellor talked about how she'd got into mountaineering, done a Mountain Leader Award and showed slides of some of the amazing places that these activities have taken her.
Sunday's theme was "moving on" and how to gain the skills to take things further.
The day started with a series of focus group activities involving all the participants and led by people from their communities. The groups looking at what they saw as barriers to participation and how these might be removed.
After that, everyone did activities that included group sessions at the climbing wall, navigation games, what to take on the hill, and what to do in an emergency.
Final day presentations included how to use the internet to research and find out information about climbing walls, clubs, instructors and awards.
Adnan Zaman gave an inspiring presentation about his experience of growing up in Ashton Under Lyne, how he got into climbing, did an SPA (Single Pitch Award), and then eventually wanted to give something back to his community and share with them this amazing activity he'd stumbled into.
The weekend was rounded off by considering the sorts of messages and information that people from under-represented communities might respond positively to, take note of, and find helpful.
Click on the links below to access the information:
Rehan Siddiqui's film encouraging BME communities to climb
BMC Climbing Wall Directory
List of BMC Affiliated Clubs
Parent's Guide to climbing, hill walking and mountaineering
A guide to Getting Started
Mumtaz Khan's Onna Walks
Walking Group Leader
Climbing Wall Award
Single Pitch Award
Mountain Leader Award
BMC says thank you
These sorts of events cannot happen without the support of a great many volunteers and organisations.
The BMC would like to say a great big thank you to all the volunteers who very generously helped at the event by giving their time to take activities, give presentations or facilitate discussions; to Andy Say and Mountain Leader Training England for their help and support; to staff and volunteers from the U Project, Oldham Community Leisure and Oldham Community Health Service; for Plas y Brenin for being great hosts and ever supportive staff; and to Sport England for financial support.
Alan Keane from Oldham Community Leisure Ltd said the following about the event: "The Borough of Oldham has a diverse range of communities with differing cultural backgrounds; working alongside the BMC has helped us understand the barriers these groups face accessing more adventurous activities.The presentation from Adnan was particularly inspiring for the U Project team; it has given us commitment to work within our communities to develop similar opportunities for anyone wanting to pursue outdoor leadership roles. It has been a privilege to work alongside the BMC and the Plas Y Brenin staff."