A new campaign fronted by clothing brand The North Face aims to make outdoor exploration accessible for a more diverse audience.
In theory, anyone can access outdoor spaces – but, in reality, engaging with nature in the UK has traditionally been a pursuit of the middle classes.
There are a number of reasons for this, but at it’s heart, outdoor exploration has been largely gentrified due to the cost of equipment, the physical inaccessibility of natural beauty spots and the likelihood of diverse populations living in urban areas.
But nature should be for everyone – and The North Face’s latest campaign aims to make this a reality.
Partnering with The Outward Bound Trust – an educational charity that helps young people to defy limitations through adventure – the brand will be enabling thousands of young people to experience exploration in the UK through a series of events and activities over the next year.
It is part of the expansion of The Explore Fund across Europe, with similar schemes also launching in Germany and Italy.
The project will see kids from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds given the opportunity to experience nature through school trips and events, learning skills like kayaking, hiking and orienteering.
‘Exploration is within everyone, but some face more barriers than others,’ reads the website.
‘By removing obstacles and empowering people, we change the way that we think about the outdoors, ourselves, and our place on the planet. We open ourselves to the wide range of cultures and experiences that connect us.’
The aim is to encourage equality and even provide career opportunities for young people who would never normally have access to outdoor sports. The belief is that getting young people outside at an early age will ignite their imagination and create a curiosity for the natural world.
‘We’re excited to be developing our work with The North Face this year,’ says Nick Barrett, Chief Executive of The Outward Bound Trust.
‘It’s great to work alongside an organisation who shares our passion for outdoor adventure, and genuinely wants to help develop and diversify our sector.
‘We’re excited to see how our program unfolds, and about the opportunity to not only offer more young people the chance to experience real exploration in the wilderness but help them to progress a career in the outdoors as well.’
‘For over five decades, The North Face has been pushing the limits of exploration,’ adds Amanda Calder-McLaren, Brand Comms Director at The North Face.
‘The Explore Fund is how we turn our purpose into action.
‘We’re thrilled to be launching The Explore Fund by announcing a very special diversity project with The Outward Bound Trust, designed to support young underprivileged people living in city environments to access the outdoors.
‘We firmly believe that advancing diversity in the outdoors will make for a kinder, more connected world.’
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