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Cumbrian Girls Can – Walk in the Lakes with refugees

[P]eople come from all over the world to walk in the Lake District and experience the spectacular landscape, yet some locals rarely get to go.

One approach to entice  locals to the national park’s phenomenal nature and landscape is by inspiring local women and families to get active in the Lake District by supporting the Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign, a campaign that is empowering millions of women up and down the country.

This Girl Can in Cumbria is a partnership known as ‘Cumbrian Girls Can’ made up of a number of organisations that have come together to create opportunities and celebrate Cumbrian women of all abilities, shapes and sizes as they get active and do their thing.

As part of the ‘This Summer’ campaign Cumbrian Girls Can put a call out to local organisations in Allerdale to see if there were any groups supporting people who had never ventured into the Lakes, but would like to get out and about and get active.

West Cumbria Refugees Support Group was one of the groups that came forward, and on Sunday 10th June, a group of refugee families from West Cumbria, supported by an interpreter and guides from the Lake District National Park on a walk in Keswick.

Aftab Khan, from AWAZ Cumbria said: “We were really pleased these families could take up the opportunity to visit Derwentwater. The guided walk was a great way for them to find out more about Cumbria, and experience what the national park has to offer. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of this initiative.”

Katie Harper, from Cumbrian Girls Can said: “Cumbrian Girls Can is about supporting women to overcome barriers to being active. Enjoying being active with family and friends is really important to many women. We were so lucky with the weather; it meant we could involve the families in some interactive activities, and to take in the spectacular views as we walked.

It was great to see this community group include being active into their schedule. We would love to hear from other community groups doing similar to we can share their stories this summer”.

David Pickup, Strategy & Partnership Adviser, Lake District National Park said: “To work with partner organisations to help a group of refugee families to discover the inspirational landscape of the Lake District National Park has been wonderful. I hope the group will feel confident to continue exploring, and being active within the National Park.”

The families have enjoyed a walk around Derwentwater taking in the atmosphere from Keswick Mountain Festival and have undertaken interactive activities learning about walking in the lakes and what you might need. Furthermore we’ve been able to discuss the public transport system here in Cumbria and the families have learned about the bus route from Workington to Keswick so that they can come again.

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