Introducing our young ambassador, Kally McHugh-Simpson
Young people and the countryside: barriers and benefits
Hi, my name’s Kally, I am 24, and from September I took on the role of Youth Ambassador for CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester. I know from personal experience that there is so much to be gained from more time spent outdoors. Yet I feel many young people, due to lack of access or familiarity, live nature deprived lives. In fact, only 10% of young people regularly access a wild space. That is why I am carrying out a research project titled ‘Young people and the countryside: barriers and benefits.’
I have spent time researching the amazing benefits nature has to offer young people, mainly through three pathways: indirectly through providing opportunity for physical activity and positive social contact, and directly through a positive impact on mental health, with proven benefits on anxiety, well-being, mental fatigue, and concentration, to name a few.
In terms of the barriers faced to accessing the countryside, I have found that in young people these centre around; spatial barriers, personal barriers including financial barriers, mental and physical disabilities, and a lack of familiarity, and finally representative barriers, as there is a lack of diverse representation within the countryside and most nature activities.
I want the projects focus to be on organisations or individuals who are working on ways to overcome these barriers, such as Black Girls Hike and CPRE’s Knowsley project, run with Incredible Edible. If anyone is involved or aware of organisations or individuals that are increasing young people’s access to nature/the countryside and breaking down these barriers, please do get in touch, particularly if these are groups within Lancashire, Liverpool or Greater Manchester.
Furthermore, if any young person has experience with either the benefits of nature or barriers to accessing it and would like to either share their experience over email or be interviewed, please send me an email. I would love to hear your opinion or experience and would like as many voices as possible to be heard.