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YDMT Inspires

YDMT Inspires Lifelong Change

Mohammed Sharif has spoken about how a training weekend with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) “changed his life”.

In 2011, as a health worker for Bradford Care Primary Trust, he attended a People and the DALES Community Group Leaders training weekend.

The sessions are designed to build confidence amongst group leaders from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, so that they feel able to bring groups out into the Yorkshire Dales independently.

Much of the time is spent learning how to map read, but also include hazard management, risk assessments and where to go in this special place. These weekends are always a lot of fun and are a way of saying thank you to the group leaders who bring their groups out under the project.

Before undertaking the training, Sharif used to see people walking around the Dales with a rucksack on their back and would think to himself ‘Get a Life’. He couldn’t appreciate the joy of walking in the countryside.

However, after the training, during which he climbed Ingleborough and went caving in Long Churns near Selside, he ‘got the bug’. It took him out of his comfort zone and stirred a lifelong passion for hiking, which saw him take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks many times with friends and family, completing 166 Wainwrights, doing a ‘50 Peaks in 50 days challenge’ and subsequently trekking in Kashmir, Turkey, Morocco and ultimately to Everest Base Camp.

Speaking at the latest Community Group Leaders training event at Broadrake near Chapel le Dale last weekend, he said: “If it wasn’t for the People and the DALES project I wouldn’t have gone on to do all these things. 

“The training enhanced my confidence in map reading, leading groups and health and safety, but above all it introduced me to the great outdoors. It has absolutely changed my life.

“I am really appreciative of what YDMT has done for me.”

Judy Rogers, YDMT’s Community Development Worker, added: “Mohammed’s story is really inspiring. It was incredible to hear what he has done since that first training event eight years ago. We never know the impact of projects like this on people’s lives but to hear Sharif’s story makes us realise it can quite simply change lives.

“The other participants were totally inspired by his story and were determined to walk up Whernside (the highest peak in Yorkshire) the next day.”

The training weekend is part of Ingleborough for All, and YDMT’s community outreach project People and the DALES, which enables disadvantaged urban groups from the 10% most economically deprived communities in the country to take part in fun, active and thought-provoking activities in the Yorkshire Dales.

Since 2005 more than 10,000 disadvantaged people have visited the Dales with YDMT, gaining skills and confidence whilst enjoying the health and well-being benefits of spending time in the countryside.

Ingleborough for All is part of Stories in Stone, a four-year programme of community and heritage projects developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership, which is led by YDMT and mainly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Find out more at www.storiesinstone.org.uk

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