Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Minorities urged to explore moors

Sunder Braganza
Sunder Braganza and his family enjoy the moors in the summer

The first "community champions" have been appointed to encourage more people from ethnic communities to explore Dartmoor and Exmoor.

It follows the start in January of a three-year project by the Campaign for National Parks (CNP) called Mosaic.

The Mosaic project says just 1% of minority groups use the parks.

Zainab Abubakar and Sunder Braganza from Devon said fear of racial abuse, lack of transport and lack of knowledge deter minority groups from the moors.

The CNP aims to recruit and train 200 community champions in England to ensure that at least another 4,000 people from ethnic minorities have a "direct experience" of a National Park such as Dartmoor and Exmoor.

We are missing a huge tranche of British society, along with other groups of British society
Project officer Clare Taylor

Mr Braganza and his family enjoy the moors during the summer months but said a fear of racial abuse deters ethnic minorities.

He said: "It's mostly the fear factor of using the moors.

"They think 'maybe we're not secure'.

"That's the fear factor stopping them using the moors quite often."

Another Devon community champion, Zainab Abubakar, says Islamaphobia means many in her community have concerns about using the moors.

She hopes people from all walks of life will join together.

She said: "I think it would be nice to have mixture of everyone together because that takes away fear.

"I'd be more comfortable walking with a diverse group and not just people like me. Just everyone enjoying it."

Project officer Clare Taylor said: "We are missing a huge tranche of British society, along with other groups of British society.

"This is a short term effort to say 'You are welcome, this is part of your life.'"



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