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New project could help young people make lifelong connection to nature

Young Rangers at Lake GormireYoung Rangers at Lake Gormire

The North York Moors National Park Authority has been given initial National Lottery support* for a grant to help encourage families and young people to learn more about nature. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, made possible by National Lottery players, would allow the Park to double its current outreach provision, reaching more than 300 additional children over the duration of the project.

The North York Moors Explorer Club provides families with the opportunity to learn more about the special habitats of the North York Moors, whilst undertaking practical conservation work to protect and enhance them. The Club has been so successful that a waiting list has been introduced. For older children and teenagers there’s the Young Ranger initiative, which combines practical volunteering tasks (such as clearing vegetation and path repair) with fun activities and learning. Again, the popularity of the group means it now needs to expand, so the National Park Authority is delighted to have been given the green light from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to further develop its Education programme.  

Heather McNiff, Head of Education and Youth Engagement at the National Park, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, this initial development grant of £13,300 from the HLF will allow us to reach out to schools and community groups who might benefit from our youth engagement work, so this is really excellent news. We’ll also be providing additional training to staff and gathering further evidence of just how much difference these groups make to families living in North Yorkshire and Teesside.”

The Authority will seek final approval for the full grant amount of £173,000 in the New Year.

“Our Explorer Club has been extremely popular,” continued Heather, “with 14 families taking part in the current project, even though it was only designed for 12. The full grant would allow us meet this growing demand, as well as reach out to new areas and communities.”

The planned project would run for three years, aiming to work with families and young people from just outside the Park boundary, including Scarborough, Whitby, Teesside and Catterick. As the increasing scarcity of public transport into rural areas often causes difficulties for young people, help getting to the Park would be provided, as would any specialist equipment required.

“We know that young people are leading increasingly inactive lifestyles and spending less time in natural environments. We need to make it much easier for people to reach and connect with nature, and volunteering opportunities – which are fun and practical without being competitive – are ideal for this.”

To find out more about joining the Explorer Club with your family, or becoming a Young Ranger, please visit Alternatively, contact the Education team on 01439 772700 or


Media contact

Nina Beadle, Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority 772700

About the North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952 it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres) the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 7.9 million visitors a year.

The National Park has two visitor centres, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby and Sutton Bank National Park Centre, providing opportunities for cycling, walking, eating, picnicking, shopping, crafts and wildlife-watching. The centre in Danby also houses the Inspired by… gallery, which features regularly changing exhibitions by artists who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

To view other press releases and for further information about the North York Moors National Park, visit

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

*HLF Heritage Grant applications are assessed in two rounds. The National Park’s ‘Building a lifelong connection to nature’ project has initially been granted round one development funding of £13,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £173,000.

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.