Outdoor Citizens: How We’re Supporting Their Community


We believe everyone’s happier outside, which is why free events like the Youth Hostel Association’s (YHA) Festival of Walking is so important. It’s a chance to bring walkers from all backgrounds, cultures, genders and locations across the UK together to celebrate our great outdoors. 


That includes groups from the Outdoor Citizens Community – a network supported by YHA to offer small charities, nonprofits and organisations the tools to access the outdoors. As part of this year’s Festival of Walking, we’re funding four groups in the Outdoor Citizens Community to help reduce barriers to enjoying our landscapes.  


Read on to learn more about the four groups we’re supporting this year, why their work is so important and how we’re helping them make it happen. 

Grassroots: Batley & Dewsbury

Grassroots’ mission is to tackle inequality by bringing more opportunities to the local community and helping women and children confidently enjoy our outdoor spaces. To do this they offer weekly Sunday walks for women and girls aged 16-66 on trails in and around the Dewsbury and Batley areas of West Yorkshire.  


The Grassroots team focus on these areas because they’re in need of more support, have diverse populations with different cultural backgrounds and are recognised as asylum seeker resettlement areas. These communities benefit greatly from the social nature of walks – both from the physical activity but also in building confidence to use the green spaces which is not otherwise a common activity.  

How we’re supporting Grassroots:

As part of the Festival of Walking, Grassroots will be leading a day walk from YHA Helvellyn for South Asian women who are new to hiking. Their eight-mile walk will give them the chance to connect with nature and each other. Plus, a group setting is a great environment to get more comfortable with walking without the worry of prejudice.  


Cotswold Outdoor’s funding will help cover the cost of transport to reduce barriers to getting involved. From this springboard, together we hope it’ll boost confidence and encourage participants to return with their friends and family.

Love Her Wild: Essex & Manchester

Love Her Wild is a nonprofit women’s adventure community, helping women experience the benefits of nature, increase confidence and protect our planet along the way. Like us, they believe the outdoors should be accessible for all to enjoy.  

How we’re supporting Love Her Wild Essex & Manchester:

The funds from Cotswold Outdoors have enabled Love Her Wild to put on two exciting walking weekends for women from culturally diverse communities with little walking experience this September. The two-day ‘Out in Nature’ guided walks will follow paths and trails around the beautiful Peak District and include a night spent at YHA Edale or YHA Castleton. All while learning key navigation skills and building confidence to get out there and explore. 


“Thanks to Cotswold Outdoor’s support, we’ve been able to remove financial barriers for the women joining the event.” - Bex Band, founder of Love Her Wild 

Women Outdoors C.I.C In Partnership with Women’s Aid

Women Outdoors’ mission is to inspire women to get outside and connect with nature and each other to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. They’ve teamed up with Women’s Aid to offer hiking events especially for women who have been victims and survivors of domestic abuse. The hiking events are expected to offer lots of benefits including: 


  • Increasing self-esteem and confidence    
  • Reducing stress, anxiety and depression   
  • Offering a feeling of belonging and connection   
  • Improving fitness   
  • A chance for joy and fun   


All the hikes will be led by Emma Winter, a qualified mountain leader who will provide information and knowledge on conservation, plants, landforms and human history throughout the walks.  


As most of the participants from Women’s Aid experience financial barriers to enjoying the outside and come from deprived areas, it’s a great opportunity to help improve access. With the hikes starting in July and August and continuing on each month, the team plan to build a strong community of female walkers. Cotswold Outdoor have helped fund the transport necessary to get out into nature and support their walks as part of the Festival of Walking.  

We’re really proud to be able to support groups doing such important work in improving access to our great outdoors. We hope everyone attending these events and more across the Festival of Walking has a brilliant experience in nature. To learn more about the festival, click here. For any help and advice on finding the right kit for your walking adventures, stop by your local Cotswold Outdoor store and our experts will help you make the right choice.  

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