Your movement matters

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Eight of the UK’s leading walking, climbing and outdoor leisure organisations have joined forces for a ground-breaking research project examining the demographics of people who go walking and climbing.

The project is called Your movement matters and it’s all about understanding who is and who is not participating in the different styles of walking and climbing. Every type of movement counts, from walking in local parks or climbing at an indoor wall to camping, hiking and rock climbing adventures in the mountains.

Whether you participate once a year, every day, or don’t know how to get started, your movement matters to us. We want to know more about your experiences and what you do.

Take the survey: Your movement matters

The aim is to build a clear picture of what participation currently looks like to support the development and implementation of evidence-based diversity and inclusion strategies within each organisation.

“We know that we have a challenge with equity and diversity in the outdoors,” said John Cousins, Chief Executive Officer of Mountain Training UK & Ireland. “We have some headline statistics about those who participate less and they are particularly people from an ethnic minority background, women and those with a disability or long-term health condition. When it comes to taking action to change those headline statistics, there’s not enough detail to help us understand what’s making a difference or which groups of people are participating in which activity. This research project will allow us to close the data gaps, establish clear baselines for participation in each style of activity and develop the resources available to support driving lasting change.”

The research is being carried out by Leeds Beckett University and data is being collected through a survey. The survey is an opportunity to find out, much like the recent census, more about the age, gender, ethnic background, sexuality, disability status and faith of those who walk, climb and camp. It will also target those who are not currently participating to better understand what barriers prevent them from taking part.

Kath Hipwell, Chief Executive of the Association of British Climbing Walls said, “No one is defined by a single characteristic, so the ability to view this data in its entirety will allow us to build a better picture of the individuals who do and don’t participate, in our case, in indoor climbing, and why. This will enable our member climbing walls to better understand the needs of different groups and make relevant adjustments to their offer to make sure everyone is made to feel welcome in climbing and enabled to participate.”

An article on UKClimbing's website gives some further background to the work underway.

Survey respondents can choose to be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 voucher for Ellis Brigham.

Take the survey: Your movement matters

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Key facts:

Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment survey found that engagement is unequal; low income, ethnic minority and older age groups are less likely to frequently visit natural green spaces.

A report commissioned by Ramblers Scotland and Paths for All has identified 12 critical barriers and/or facilitators to participation in recreational walking. These include ill and poor health, negative attitudes towards walking and lack of knowledge of routes and options.

A report published by Scottish Natural Heritage found that the level of weekly participation in outdoor recreation among members of the BME community is lower than the average for all adults.

Research conducted by Sport Wales shows that the pandemic appears to have widened inequalities in sport and physical activity across gender, socio-economic status, long standing illness or conditions, and age.

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland research found that the benefits of outdoor spaces are not being realised equally by all, with only 50% of those from Northern Ireland’s most deprived areas visiting the outdoors at least once a week. This is in stark contrast to the national average of 70% and rising to 82% in the most affluent areas.

A report by Sport Ireland found that 61% of those with a long-term illness or disability regularly walk for recreation, this is 66% lower than the general population.

Further information:

For further information about the research project please contact Nicola Jasieniecka, Media & IT Development Officer at Mountain Training,

Research Funded By:
Research Funded By

Research Conducted By:
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The funding organisations are:

Association of British Climbing Walls – Promoting the professionalism, health and growth of indoor climbing.

BMC (British Mountaineering Council) – The representative body for walkers and climbers in England and Wales.

Camping and Caravanning Club – The world's oldest and largest Club for all forms of camping.

National Indoor Climbing Award Schemes (NICAS) – these are UK-wide climbing and bouldering schemes designed to promote climbing development and accredit individual achievement on artificial climbing structures.

Mountain Training – The network of UK and Ireland awarding bodies for skills courses and leadership qualifications in walking, climbing and mountaineering.

Outdoor Industries Association – The trade body for manufacturers, retailers and other organisations that provide products and services for the outdoor leisure pursuits market in the United Kingdom.

Plas y Brenin – Plas y Brenin National Outdoor Centre is a world-renowned provider of adventure sports training. From a base in the scenic heart of Snowdonia, Plas y Brenin’s work is focused on developing inspiring coaches, instructors and leaders in adventure sport, be they volunteers or working professionally in the sector, to better support people, from all backgrounds, to get active in the outdoors. The centre also offers an extensive programme of personal skill development courses in rock climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering, kayaking, canoeing, sea kayaking and mountain biking.

The Ramblers – helps everyone, everywhere, enjoy walking and protects the places we all love to walk. It is the only charity dedicated to looking after paths and green spaces, leading walks, opening up new places to explore and encouraging everyone to get outside and discover how walking boosts your health and your happiness.

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