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The BEN Rainbow Countryside Scheme plans to provide a range of taster visits and training programmes to help ethnic community groups access the natural environment and independently plan educational group outings to locations across England.

The BEN Rainbow Countryside Scheme has been awarded a Stage 1 Development Grant by Changing Spaces - Big Lottery Fund. If we are successful with our Stage 2 application, we will put into place a £16 million pound 5 year project, with local development workers to work with ethnic minority communities in 29 locations across England.

‘ BEN Rainbow Countryside Scheme BRCS - moving on into the future 7.9.07
We are dismayed to inform you that our application has been rejected by BIG and our Complaint has not led to a different outcome.

However, the future is bright! Moving on from our disappointment, all of us recognise that the brilliant concept of the BRCS has released a lot of excitement right across the country about what can be achieved to open out access for ethnic minorities to the natural environment and lay down the basis for their vast missing contribution. We now have an astonishing 110 interested partners and hundreds of enthused ethnic community groups. The interest continues to grow, with new partners still coming in, because of the feel of the rightness of the approach, attending to both the needs of environmental organisations and ethnic minorities.

We are now reviewing how we can move forward, designing a range of partnership projects with partners who still want to make things happen. We will keep you informed.

Please contact us if you have any queries. ‘

The National Lottery Big Lottery Fund logo

There are currently two publications available to download which will tell you more about the BEN Rainbow Countryside Scheme.

  The BEN Rainbow Countryside Scheme Booklet
14 page full colour booklet - please note file size (5Mb), this document may take several minutes to download
  The BEN Rainbow Countryside Scheme Leaflet - A5, 4 page full colour leaflet - please note file size (700Kb)

The need for the BEN Rainbow Countryside Scheme

The recent DEFRA Diversity Review, undertaken by the Countryside Agency, states:

  • It is assumed that under-represented groups have no interest in the countryside. This is not the case
  • All these groups are keen to enjoy the outdoors once they have tasted the experience.
  • A lack of confidence and information is the biggest initial barrier.
  • A lack of confidence among providers in approaching people from these groups results in a lack of engagement with potential visitors. Little attention is paid to communicating directly with these groups and positive images are scarce
  • Longer term funding for this work is a major issue. Help is needed in targeting visitor groups

About the target beneficiaries

Research tells us that over 25 million people have little or no contact with the countryside. It is particularly true of disadvantaged communities. With equality high on the agenda, the need to address opening up opportunities and building the capacity of such groups to access the natural environment is recognised. Ethnic communities, many of them living in some of the most deprived areas, is part of this overall picture.

BEN, with its expertise in working as the bridging organisation between ethnic groups and the environmental sector would like to take advantage of the extensive resources offered within the Changing Spaces scheme to take on a piece of work that will result in a sea change in terms of ethnic access to the natural environment.

Our target beneficiaries are members of ethnic groups. By working with a critical mass of ethnic groups across England, we aim to, over 5 years, engender a sea change in access to the natural environment by ethnic groups. However, to work towards this end, there is a need to address the 2 sides of the equation - the capacity of ethnic groups and the capacity of provider organisations. In this context, our target group for this application also includes provider organisation s although the outcome of capacity building here also benefits ethnic groups ultimately.

The identification of need for the BEN Rainbow Countryside scheme draws primarily from the DEFRA Diversity Review as it is the most extensive and most recent piece of research funded by government, focusing on diversity issues and visits to the countryside . The following elaborates on the above bullet points, with additional referral to other research and reviews, including:

  • "What about us?" - DEFRA Diversity Review by Ethnos Research and Consultancy 2005
  • Great Britain Day Visits Survey 2003-5
  • Public Attitudes to the Countryside, Countryside Commission 1999
  • Environments for All - Baseline Review of BTCV's work with disadvantaged communities February 2002
  • Environments for All Annual Review 2001-2002
  • Action potential amongst community groups. Qualitative research (for DEFRA's Community 2020), Diagnostics December 2005

Introduction | What BEN will do | Visits and activities | Invitation to take part | Portfolio of programmes | Portfolio outcomes


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