The OSS has joined a coalition of 36 outdoor organisations calling for greater access to green and blue space for outdoor activities including swimming, walking, water sports, and climbing.
The government has set its sights on getting 3.5m more people active by 2030, through its Get Active strategy. It has also committed to giving the public access to green and blue spaces within a 15-minute walk of home, through its Environmental Improvement Plan. But how will this be made a reality? The Outdoors For All manifesto argues that to meet these targets, rights to responsibly access the outdoors must be expanded. The Outdoor Swimming Society have been both calling for and working on a greater Right to Swim outdoors since its inception, and joining this powerful alliance can take us a massive step forward in achieving this.
The project has been led by Ben Seal, Head of Access & Environment at British Canoeing. ‘Outdoors For All sets out a really compelling case for change,’ he says. ‘We have a real opportunity now to create a lasting legacy for the next generation’. The 12 page manifesto is downloadable, but here is a precis from Imogen Radford, of the OSS Inland Access Group.
Please note that this campaign quotes that only 4% of rivers have an uncontested right to swim – this is a simplification (and without the use of the word ‘uncontested’ the statement is also factually incorrect). The most powerful way to retain and attain a greater right to swim is to go swimming, so we invite you to read about the subtleties of our existing rights in our 3% Access Myth story and to continue to swim.
“The Outdoor Swimming Society sees first hand the barriers to swimming in rivers, reservoirs and lakes. We know how easy they would be to remove and how much free health and happiness that would give millions of people. We are proud to stand united with all our partners in the Outdoors For All Coalition, asking for that change to come now.”
Kate Rew, The Outdoor Swimming Society
“The outdoors really is for everyone and the past few years have demonstrated this. But those in power have yet to fully realise the huge health, economic, and social benefits of this – for too long access to our green and blue spaces has not been seen as a priority and it’s heart-warming to know that so many of us believe this needs to change.”
Dr Catherine Flitcroft, British Mountaineering Council
“Outdoors for All represents the collective voice of the millions of people calling for the right to access nature on their doorstep, and the skills, confidence and infrastructure they need to do it.”
Jon Moses, Right to Roam Campaign
“With a general election on the horizon, it is so important that we speak with a unified voice. Outdoors For All sets out a really compelling case for change. We have a real opportunity now to create a lasting legacy for the next generation.”
Ben Seal, Head of Access & Environment at British Canoeing