Creative Campaigning in the Dales

We recently launched Creative Campaigners, a new volunteer network for people aged 20-30 who live locally and are interested in actively and creatively contributing to our environmental campaigns. The launch day was held at the end of July in Malham, focussed around a bespoke guided tour of Hill Top Farm with indoor sessions at Malham Village Hall. 

The launch day was co-planned and facilitated on the day by Saima Bibi and Ruth Garrett, who are also volunteer Ambassadors for Campaign for National Parks (CNP). Bess Holt, a Dales based multi-disciplinary designer and musician, led a creative zine making workshop at the end of the day. By working with our new team of volunteer Creative Campaigners, we hope to build close working relationships so that we can better understand the viewpoints of younger people and bring more diverse voices to our campaigning work.

Friends of the Dales trustee, Mohammed Dhalech who supported the launch day said: “The busy day included a tour around Hill Top Farm, Malham – a traditional livestock farm embracing biodiversity and sustainability, afeatured in Saving our Wild Isles (WWF, RSPB, NT, Silverback Films) with Neil Heseltine and Leigh Weston. What came through in conversations I had during the day was the diversity and the different lifestyles the Creative Campaigners come from, and the passion that young people had for this work.”

Research undertaken by Campaign for National Parks (CNP) indicates that young people who are not involved within their own local National Park or rural community, tend not to stay there − a dissociation that can also lead to disengagement from accessing nature and the countryside. With several of its own youth engagement programmes, including New Perspectives and its National Park Youth Ambassador scheme, the national charity also supported the event, with Harriet Gardiner, Senior Communications Officer for CNP joining the day as a guest.

“I couldn’t have asked for better company on my first trip to the Yorkshire Dales,” said Harriet. It was such a pleasure to meet every single participant and chat about the future of campaigning and the future they’d like to see. The visit to Hill Top Farm inspired genuine, insightful conversation, and there was a real buzz in the air – and not just from the thriving nature that calls the farm home. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and can’t wait to see the contributions from the cohort.”

Young environmentalist and Creative Campaigner, Esther Abramson from Ilkley added: “Caring about the wellbeing of the planet can sometimes feel like a lonely endeavour, so connection and community are really important.”

Friends of the Dales Creative Campaigners, in addition to receiving planned environmental experiences, will also get the opportunity to contribute to its press and media campaigns, create written and artistic contributions for its quarterly magazine, Yorkshire Dales Review and work alongside its staff and trustees to gain hands on knowledge and experience of how the campaigning charity operates.

Photo: Creative Campaigners Launch Day at Hill Top Farm, 29 July 2023. L to R: Mohammed Dhalech, Trustee, Jonny Cunningham, Ruth Garrett, Bess Holt, Josh Burge, Neil Heseltine, Esther Abramson, Leigh Weston, Charlotte Mudd and Steph Carr. Photo credit: Harriet Gardiner.