21st November 2006
Social inclusion is top of the agenda at a major conference in the Cairngorms National Park later this week.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is hosting the two-day event at the Badaguish Outdoor Centre, near Aviemore on 23 and 24 November.
Titled ‘A Park for All’, the conference is bringing together people and organisations from various backgrounds who traditionally find it difficult to access the Park. The aim of the event is to identify the issues and barriers that groups and individuals face in accessing the benefits of the National Park and will look at creating opportunities for under-represented groups to engage more with the area and what it has to offer.
The conference will also highlight some of the good practice that is happening across the Park already in terms of inclusion work and draw on the experience of recent activities by the Big Issue Foundation Scotland, the Badenoch and Strathspey Youth Forum and the Upper Deeside Walking to Health Scheme.
Claire Ross, the CNPA’s Education and Inclusion Manager explained: “The Cairngorms National Park is a place where there should be the opportunity for everyone to experience the benefits, whatever their background or ability. As part of our inclusion work, we want to work with our partners to create these opportunities. This might be through marketing, community engagement, improving access, learning and education and outreach programmes.
“This event will bring together those who we want reach out to including young people, people on low incomes, and people with disabilities, but will also involve other partner agencies and organisations who will help us deliver our work.”
Keynote speaker at the ‘A Park for All’ conference is Professor Paul Spicker, the Grampian Chair of Public Policy at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Professor Spicker has written widely in the field of social policy, having published twelve books, several shorter works and over 50 academic papers. His research has included studies relating to benefit delivery systems, the care of old people, housing management and local anti-poverty strategy. Professor Spicker, also has experience of housing and welfare rights work and has been a consultant on social welfare in practice.
On the Thursday afternoon delegates will be able to experience some of the outdoor activities on offer in the Park, giving them a taster for things like archery and zipwire at Badaguish or a ranger led walk at Cairngorm Mountain.
On Friday there will be presentations from Professor Spicker, the Big Issue Foundation Scotland, the Badenoch and Strathspey Youth Forum and the Upper Deeside Walking to Health Scheme, as well as Peter Argyle, Chair of the Cairngorms Economic and Social Development Forum and Alan Smith who manages the John Muir Award in the Cairngorms. Participants will also be looking at what projects are planned for the future, and how they might be involved in them.
‘A Park for All’ follows on from a recent workshop involving 30 youth workers which highlighted the range of youth work happening across the Park, and identified the opportunities for strengthening links between young people and the National Park.