Diversity in the Dales – our countryside is open to all

December 19, 2018

In September Rosie joined Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) as our new Outreach trainee. Working across two projects, Green Futures and Stories in Stone, she’s been helping to reach groups of people from diverse communities and welcome them to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside. 

Diversity in the Dales

Hi, my name’s Rosie and I started work at YDMT in September 2018.

My job at YDMT is Outreach Trainee, a role which works across both Stories in Stone and Green Futures. The work we’re doing aims to create opportunities for individuals and groups from some of the most deprived communities in the country to come to the Yorkshire Dales for fun, active and thought provoking activities. I’ve had an incredible first few months here doing everything from tree maintenance with young people from Skipton to making Stone Age axes with school kids from Austwick.

YDMT Outreach Trainee Rosie planting trees

It was understanding the aims of YDMT that drew me to apply for the role. I really like the fact that the work isn’t just about conservation and preservation for its own sake. It’s not just freezing the landscape in time without reference to the diverse communities which belong to it. It’s about listening and reflecting, being purposeful and creative in how we respond to the people at the margins as well as those at the centre of our communities.

Interfaith Women’s weekend

Rosie and Diako at the Interfaith womens retreat

Ribblehead recently played host to a group of 20 Muslim and Christian women who came together to explore their faith and share time together against the wonderful natural landscape on the doorstep. Organised by Judy from our Stories in Stone team, women from different backgrounds and religions had the chance to celebrate diversity, counter stereotypes, and find solidarity in shared issues. This aim meant that a really interesting set of skills were required to support, affirm, and enable conversation; it was great to shadow Judy and learn how she did this.

To me it felt like a brilliant example of how YDMT works towards being custodians of traditional Yorkshire culture and heritage, while also understanding that part of that history must also include visitors and ‘off-comers.’ It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It’s about drystone walls and asylum seekers. It’s about rag rug making and it’s about the call to prayer. It’s about encounters and people.

It was incredible to witness how weekends like this work to diversify and demystify the Yorkshire Dales for a group of women on the edge of the Dales community. Visitors have always been part of the landscape – significant stories themselves within the landscape of the Dales – and I’m really excited to continue learning and experiencing what YDMT can achieve in this way.

Trees for all!

As the tree planting season continues Rosie’s got her hands full taking groups tree planting. She’s also learning more about the Dales landscape and the native species that inhabit it – with First Aid and Mountain Leader training, Forest Schools and bush craft qualifications.

We’ll hear more from Rosie in the Spring when lambing season brings opportunities for more groups to experience this magical time of the year. Keep up the great work Rosie!