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Launch of OUTO Changemaker Programme to Challenge Outdoor Inequality

Opening Up The Outdoors returns to support more UK changemakers making the outdoors a fairer space

Five leading outdoor brands, alongside national charity Hatch Enterprise, are calling for UK changemakers working to make the outdoors a more diverse, accessible and equitable space for all, to apply for their Changemaker Programme, which returns for its second year this October. 

The programme offers skills support and development and mentoring to people of colour who are at the start of their journey and looking for advice and guidance on how to set up, launch and grow their special enterprise, business or organisation. 

Jade Baker, Co-Head of Programmes at Hatch Enterprise who will deliver the support programmes says,

“What’s become abundantly clear in the past few years is how spending time outdoors is so important for our mental and physical wellbeing. But for a lot of people of colour from the UK, getting out in nature is not as easy and necessarily welcoming as it should be. 

“Whether that’s being made to feel like they simply don’t belong in the outdoors, hostility and discrimination from others, or simply lacking the confidence or networks to try something new, these are barriers that the changemakers we’re looking for on the programme can help to challenge.”

The issue of making the outdoors somewhere that could be accessed by all continues to be a challenge. A study by Natural England found that nearly six in ten (58.4%) white people had visited the natural environment at least once a week over a 12 month period compared to four in ten people who were not white over the same period. According to the 2021 census for England and Wales, there were about 9.5 million people who identified themselves as Black, Asian or minority ethnic or as having multiple ethnicities. 

The Opening Up the Outdoors Changemaker Programme is an initiative formed by outdoor brands and experts, allies and changemakers with a shared passion and love of the outdoors who are committed to creating momentum for the progression of continued inclusion within outdoor spaces. 

Last year’s successful pilot of the OUTO Changemaker Programme supported eight founders and changemakers working across the diverse outdoors space. These included founders like Haroon Mota of Muslim Hikers, a grassroots initiative created to help empower Muslim communities to get outdoors more, Yvette Curtis whose Waves Wahines is on a mission is to provide girls with affordable and supportive access to surfing, and Marlon Patrice, founder of We Go Outside Too, who supports intergenerational Black community members across Birmingham, the Black Country, and the West Midlands to take part in walking and holistic workshops. 

The second Changemaker Programme starts in October 2023 and aims to support fifteen changemakers across the UK in their initiatives to further break these barriers to the outdoors down, and get more people from ethnically diverse communities participating in outdoor activity. 

Over three months, the changemakers will take part in a bespoke development programme, accessing mentoring and masterclasses to grow the impact, sustainability, and reach of their community group or business. They’ll then be able to apply for development grants of £1000 to invest directly into their organisation. 

The programme will be delivered by Hatch Enterprise, an award-winning enterprise support charity that over the past decade has supported more than 7,800 founders from underrepresented backgrounds to launch or grow their businesses and organisations in the UK.  

The Changemaker Programme opens for applications on 8th August 2023, and closes 24th September 2023, and can be made on the Hatch Enterprise website.

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