Outdoor Project for Disabled People Returnsby Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Jan/2013
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Later this year Scottish adventurer Julie McElroy is running a project which aims to encourage more people with disabilities to access woodlands and green space, and to develop a meaningful connection with natural landscapes.
The Wilderness Weekend (23-27 September 2013) follows on from similar successful events in previous years. In 2011 Julie and the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) took six people to the Isle of Arran, while in 2012 another eight participants were whisked off to Kintail. Julie has again teamed up with the NTS for this year's project, which is being held on and around Ben Lomond.
A keen adventurer, Julie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was a child and is eager to help more people with disabilities experience the advantages of the outdoors.
The project will see disabled participants take part in a range of outdoor activities including a little taste of NTS conservation work.
This time around organisers have upped the challenge too, offering disabled participants the opportunity to camp out over night and complete the Discovery level of the John Muir Award.
Emily Sanderson, Community Partnerships Co-ordinator from the National Trust for Scotland, said:
'After the success of the previous two projects we are delighted to be working with Julie on another Wilderness project, this time at our stunning property, Ben Lomond. The Trust believes that its properties are 'a place for everyone' and we therefore relish the opportunity to continue to open our doors to an ever wider representation of Scotland's community.'
'As a conservation organisation, we see our volunteering opportunities as a great way for people to contribute to conserving some of the most significant sites in the country.'
And Julie added:
'I have always had a love of the outdoors and I am thrilled to be back for the third time running this wilderness project. The third wilderness adventure will be more stimulating and interesting for the disabled participants.'
'More importantly, we are offering disabled participants the opportunity to camp for one night as part of the experience and give them the opportunity to make a start on their John Muir Award Journey.'
Julie earned the highest John Muir Award herself back in November 2011
Julie is now on the lookout for people to get involved in this year's project. Participants must be aged 18 and upwards, and be able to commit to the full five days of the project, from 23-27 September. For more info contact her by email.