Greenspace access for recreation, engagement and nature connection are all key factors that support physical and mental health and wellbeing. Although this is widely understood, groups of people still face significant barriers to accessing greenspaces, including those from ethnic minoritised backgrounds.
Nature Nurtures: Wild Walks is a partnership pilot project between London Wildlife Trust and Black Girls Hike, supported through Natural England seed-corn funding, that delivered nature engagement and wellbeing-centred activities across Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve. The initiative focussed specifically on young women from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic backgrounds (aged 16-25), who are currently underrepresented in the environmental and outdoors sectors. The pilot scheme expanded knowledge and understanding to inform future initiatives and improve equitable access to greenspace and recreational opportunities for girls and young women.
The sessions were reported by participants to positively support the young women’s wellbeing, confidence in exploring the outdoors, and engagement with nature, promoted social opportunities for young women to find like-minded groups they can relate to, and encouraged diversity and equity in the environmental sector. The pilot project demonstrates the benefits for young women from ethnic minoritised backgrounds and enabled the wider Nature Nurtures programme to gain additional funding and be offered across London. This report presents the outcomes and evaluation of the project and uses it to share key insights and lessons learned for future delivery to better support equity on access to greenspace.