BMC To Hold a Symposium


28 – 30 March at YHA Haworth

The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is holding a symposium (28 – 30 March) at YHA Haworth, near Keighley, West Yorkshire, to celebrate and support black and minority ethnic (BME) adventure in the great outdoors.


The weekend symposium in the heart of Bronte country aims to provide inspiration, ideas and skills to black and minority ethnic people who want to get more active in the outdoors. It’s also for anyone looking to help people from BME communities to get more active in the outdoors – such as outdoor instructors and walking leaders.


Research shows ethnic minorities in Britain participate less in the outdoors than the rest of the population.  The latest Natural England survey found that visits to the countryside and natural environment among the BME population was just 27%, compared to 41% among those of white ethnicity.


The good news is there are signs this is changing – according to Sport England, BME participation in ‘mountaineering’ is increasing, while the profile of black and ethnic minority adventurers is growing. In 2010, for example, Hackney-born Dwayne Fields became the first Black Briton to reach the North Pole.


But there is still a long way to go before activities like hill walking, climbing and mountaineering are truly representative of the population at large. The ‘BMC Equity Symposium 2014: Breaking Down the Barriershopes to help to change this.

There will be a mix of indoor and outdoor practical sessions, workshops, discussions and a line-up of inspiring speakers. Topics will cover a diverse range of subjects from funding and families to spirituality and heritage.


Top UK volunteer Chamu Kuppuswamy will lead a discussion about Anglo-Indian perspectives on the countryside; accomplished climber and ex-BMC Vice President Rehan Siddiqui will give a keynote speech; and Jeremy Henzell-Thomas, founder of UK Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR), will lead a plenary discussion on spirituality and the outdoors. 


A workshop on taking part in adventurous activities will be led by GB junior climbing team captain Molly Thompson-Smith and her father Tony Smith. There will also be practical workshops on the surrounding moors and crags led by Mountain Training qualified instructors on navigation, group leading, first aid and rock climbing. Some of the sessions will also be women-only.


There are still a few places available for the symposium. Find out more and hurry to book your ticket via the BMC website  


The symposium starts at 7pm on Friday 28 March and finishes at 4.30pm on Sunday 30 March.  The cost is just £30 for BMC members and £40 for non-members which includes two nights of accommodation, all meals, plus access to the activities on the timetable.


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