Outdoor Alliance Wales
For some time prior to 2018, key individuals and organisations had been collectively considering the scope of the outdoor sector in Wales and how it can better promote its values, benefits and principles, which led to the establishment of Outdoor Alliance Wales.
Regional and national engagement events during 2016 & 2017 demonstrated a clear desire for a single network to unite the sector. One that would:
- represent the shared values of the outdoor sector
- better communicate the real contribution of the outdoor sector across several platforms
- including economic, social, health and culture
- improve communication within the outdoor sector
- encourage cross sector projects to deliver against a common goal
- provide a platform with which external sectors and organisations can engage
- facilitate knowledge sharing amongst the outdoor sector
- provide research opportunities to further showcase the benefits associated with the outdoor sector
- act as an advisory forum on issues and opportunities associated with the outdoor sector
The outdoor sector, through consultation and engagement concluded that the most effective model would be to form an ‘Alliance’ of existing organisations that could come together through a ‘portal’ to use the combined ability of all the organisations to promote the sector and collaborate on projects. The case for Outdoor Alliance Wales is detailed in ‘Outdoor Alliance: Proposal for an outdoor sector network‘ (2018).
Outdoor Alliance Wales was established on 26th February 2018 to enable more effective outdoor sector co-ordination to better promote its values, benefits and principles and more efficient cross sector partnerships.
As of May 2020 Outdoor Alliance Wales has 42 member organisations.
Outdoor Alliance Wales is working with its membership and Welsh Government, to establish a coordinated ‘pathway to recovery’ (in line with current guidelines and legislation). As restrictions are lifted it is vital that the outdoor sector works with national and local government to enable
people to return to outdoor recreation in line with current regulations. Issues which need to be addressed are:
- Increased demand for access to the outdoors particularly in designated landscapes, with a particular concern around honeypot sites.
- The need for consistency and clarity in messaging around the safe and responsible enjoyment of the outdoors; to include generic and activity specific safety messages.
- The impact on the emergency services (specifically Mountain Rescue & the RNLI) who may have to deal with increased demand while struggling with reduced response capacity.
- The impact on the outdoor recreation industry which is a mainstay of the local economy in many rural areas.
- Confusion around the interpretation of differing restrictions across the home nations.
Outdoor Alliance Wales has produced two documents which highlight the value of such a coordinated approach and demonstrates a willingness and desire for an effective and appropriate phased pathway to recovery.