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Backbone – 3 year community leadership programme

Backbone is a global training and consultancy organisation, established in 1995 to provide opportunities for marginalised groups to become environmental role models and leaders, with particular reference to black and minority ethnic (BME).

The aim is to “Entice & Excite” people from marginalised communities to engage with nature. They are based in Scotland.

Backbone’s leadership projects have been successful in empowering participants to take control of their lives and work with their own communities to educate, protect and sustain our natural environment.

We first supported Backbone’s Community Leadership Programme (CLP) in 2010 with Rangers engaging the participants during their inland water module. Since then, each year we have provided National Park resource to continue this engagement, raising awareness of the areas special qualities and providing information on our outreach engagement support.

At the start of the module inland water didn’t mean much to me – but now I think we take it all for granted, we here in Scotland can enjoy the recreation and beauty that waters have to offer anytime we like and we don’t! Backbone Participant

The project

Backbone proposes a 3-year collaborative journey of learning and engagement, using existing best practice from their established model. They aim to provide training and support for 12 to 16 multi-cultural leaders from across Scotland, to help them gain competence and confidence to develop and deliver local environmental/outdoor activity projects. Participants will work with a wide range of Scotland’s marginalised & isolated communities as identified by our key partners.

Why Backbone?

The Backbone CLP model will provide tailored environmental activities for those who cannot access mainstream opportunities due to religious/cultural reasons and for those who lack confidence.

A maximum of 16 leaders from a variety of backgrounds across Scotland will be recruited to commit to a 3 year training programme. Through this they will engage at least 500 people per year from isolated and marginalised community groups, with the natural environment.

The training will take place in a variety of natural environments in Scotland to include Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Cairngorms National Park, National Nature Reserves, woodland and forests and Regional Parks.

We benefit through:

  • Achievement of our equality outcomes, ‘A greater diversity of people, including young people and those who have a real or perceived barrier to accessing the Park, will learn about and help to conserve and enhance the Park’.
  • Increased engagement for marginalised, isolated and “hard to reach” communities and groups, supporting locally led environmental projects.
  • The multiplier benefits of pooled partnership resources and model for training.
  • More volunteers from Black and Ethnic Minority communities, with these volunteers developing projects for specific marginalised groups.

At first I did not think that hiking and camping in the woods was for me at all but now I know that I can even take a group of women out – my confidence is getting much higher – Backbone Participant

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