Earlier in 2022, Mir Jansen launched a year long Peak District New Beginnings project, backed by the Arts Council England and co-created with refugees in the Peak District and 7 partner organisations, including Peak District National Park, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Voluntary Action Sheffield.
As part of this project they looked to organise a series of walks in various nature reserves and out in the Peak District. She contacted Alpkit for support from our Continuum, where we could pass on donated outdoor clothing and equipment and get it making a real impact to those people that could benefit from it.
“We had some particularly keen people who wanted to take up walking, so I thought that I would organise a walk out in the Peak District bringing those from the asylum seeking and refugee community together. To help build on their confidence and enthusiasm to hopefully start up their own walking group. Being able to access some more suitable outdoor clothing and equipment would make a huge difference."
Once they knew who was coming, they got a list of shoe and coat sizes and at the end of October 11 participants met up at Alpkit Hathersage to look through what kit was available. Whilst it might not have been possible to supply everyone with what they needed it gave them a chance to try it on, before setting off for a little walk around Hathersage to test everything out. It was a fantastic day and we managed to pull out a wonderful selection of outdoor equipment, consisting of walking boots, coats, jackets and trousers. It was a real highlight of the generous donations and how your not-needed, forgotten, or unloved kit can be passed on to make a big difference to other people. To ensure they too can be suitably equipped to get out and feel the benefits of spending time outdoors.
Mir worked alongside Winnie Lutakome at Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) to bring people together for this walk. Winnie is Participation Co-ordinator for their New Beginnings project, which supports refugees and Asylum seekers to integrate into life in Sheffield through volunteering with local charities, employment and education support. They also support with help to participate in social, educational and wellbeing activities through collaboration with other organisations and projects to reduce isolation and promote the inclusion of refugees and Asylum seekers. So she explained why getting involved fitted so well with the work they do.
“We facilitate the engagement of refugees in nature for personal well-being, and for some to develop skills and leadership qualities that can lead to employment, particularly in the environment sector through our Sustain Nature project."
"So being able to bring people to this walk and provide more suitable outdoor clothing will make a massive difference for them. It will certainly enable them to get out into nature even more. We are incredibly grateful for the support.”
It was wonderful to hear back on how well the day went and the positive effect it had and going forward how these outdoor experiences can make a big difference.
When asked what they enjoyed most, there were numerous positive responses. Such as reaching the top of the hills, an amazing group of people and the chance to socialise and meet new people. Learning new skills, trying new challenging walks and learning about the area and interacting with nature.
What's great is that off the back of it there's already talks of doing more, getting back into the hills and trying new locations. So many more adventures to come!
To see what else is happening at the Peak District New Beginnings Project pop to their Instagram here.