Outdoors for All: 42 organisations speak for ‘millions of people’

National governing bodies and organisations join at parliamentary event to celebrate the Outdoors for All manifesto.
07 Mar 24
British Canoeing's chief executive Ashley Metcalfe with Kim Leadbeater MP (left) and Tracey Crouch MP (right)

The RYA was proud to join other national governing bodies from across the sports sector and environmental organisations to deliver the Outdoors for All manifesto to Government on Wednesday (06 March.) The event was held at the Houses of Parliament and was sponsored by Tracey Crouch MP and Kim Leadbeater MP. Both the Secretary of State RT Hon Steve Barclay and Shadow Minister for Nature & Rural Affairs Toby Perkins MP, spoke at the event.

In his speech, Mr Barclay said that people spending more time outdoors to stay healthy was of “great value” and the “right thing to do.” He said the Government is looking at “more permissive access” where landowners are incentivised “to open up their land and waterways.”

Mr Perkins, Labour MP, said the manifesto was “important” and that the passion of every organisation will “drive the agenda on.” During his speech, he said the Labour Party would make sure we all have a right to “responsible access to nature and people from every background can enjoy to the full.” He added that the Environment Land Management scheme was “vitally important” in helping farmers be part of helping people to responsibly access nature.

Ben Seal from British Canoeing is delivering a talk to a group of people.

'Collective voice'

Mr Perkins said Labour shared the Government’s aim of ensuring the public lives within a 15-minute walk of woodlands, wetlands, parks, and rivers. However, he added that an estimated 20 million people currently do not have that access.

Ben Seal, Head of Access and Environment at British Canoeing, said time spent outdoors, in green and blue spaces, is “precious for physical and mental wellbeing.” He said: “[The 42 organisations] came together to create Outdoors for All. We represent millions of members of the public. This is our sector speaking with a collective voice.”

Toby Perkins MP with Ben Seal

Ms Leadbeater, Labour MP, and the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sport, said Outdoors for All was “everything she believes in” and sport and recreation was “always the answer.” In her speech, she said we have a duty, together to tackle health issues, build better communities and combat loneliness. 

Ms Leadbeater shares her passion for sport with Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP. Ms Crouch said, “access is really important” and time outdoors exercising helped her through her cancer journey. She added, the Outdoors For All alliance “totally works” in delivering a single message. “We need to get out there and [find] those people who are from hard-to-reach communities and low income groups, something I’m passionate about.”

Read the Outdoors for All manifesto.