Standing room only at Westminster for launch of Britain on Foot

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 29/10/2012

Britain on Foot (BoF), a national campaign to get the general public active in the outdoors, was revealed at a packed launch event in Westminster last week.

Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, Dan Jarvis MP, Labour Shadow DCMS Minister, and Conrad Bird of the Government’s GREAT campaign, were among speakers who addressed over 120 representatives from the outdoor industry and outlined the importance of the assembled organisations and the wider sector in improving the nation’s health and rebuilding the economy.  

Britain on Foot is the brainchild of the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA).  It will be a long-term initiative that encourages the public all over the UK to take part in outdoor activities, leading to increased levels of exercise and better health.  The OIA intends that BoF will reach beyond the core outdoor consumer audience and inspire the wider general public to sample outdoor activities, improving their own lifestyles and benefiting the whole industry, the wider economy and the health of the nation in the process.

During the event, OIA chief executive Andrew Denton outlined the concept behind BoF and revealed the Britain on Foot Guide Book.  The book provides an overview of some of the projects being run by organisations that will carry BoF branding in 2013, as well as key contact information and ‘what next’ advice.  The launch was co-hosted by John Mann MP and David Rutley MP, Co-Chairmen of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Mountaineering, and supported by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC).

Along with Mr Mann and Mr Rutley and Andrew Denton, other speakers at the launch of Britain on Foot included: Dan Jarvis MP, Shadow Culture Minister; Dr William Bird of Intelligent Health (joined by ‘Beat the Street’ children from George Mitchell School); Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health; Conrad Bird, GREAT Campaign Manager, from the Prime Minister’s Office And Cabinet Office Communications team.

Alongside movers and shakers from all parts of the outdoor industries, the launch of Britain on Foot attracted a large audience of other influential and enthusiastic individuals and organisations.  Attendees included senior representatives from Visit England, The Ramblers, the BMC, the National Trust, the Open Spaces Society, the European Outdoor Group, Sport England and the Tourism Alliance, and Alan Hinkes, Kenton Cool, David Hempleman Adams and numerous MPs.  The occasion was also used as an excellent opportunity for networking, and guests discussed the ways in which their businesses or organisations could help spread the key messages of Britain on Foot.

Andrew Denton, chief executive of the OIA, comments:

“We are absolutely delighted with the response to the trade launch of Britain on Foot.  To have so many influential people together in the same room was fantastic - from the outdoor industries, all shades of the political spectrum and from different departments within the Government.  Even better than that, without exception, everyone was keen to support Britain on Foot and make sure that it is a campaign that has legs and travels far, wide and for a long time. 

“This project will only succeed if the trade gets behind it in a big way and I am hugely encouraged by the response of our sector so far.  I think that this event demonstrated clearly to all that we are gathering significant momentum and I am confident that colleagues from across the outdoor industries will develop exciting and impactful initiatives for 2013 that will introduce Britain on Foot to a huge audience.”

Benedict Southworth, Ramblers chief executive, said:

“Since our inception in 1935, we have been committed to getting the country outdoors. That is why the Britain on Foot campaign is so close to our hearts. We’re keen to help as many people as possible discover the sense of freedom, health and well-being that comes with walking and our ‘Get Walking Week’ and ‘Big Welsh Walk’ are just two of many great initiatives which will be supporting Britain on Foot in 2013.”

Dave Turnbull, chief executive of the British Mountaineering Council, added:

“The BMC calls on the Government to get behind Britain on Foot in a big way.  Britain on Foot has momentum and with suitable support could be a great thing for the nation.  There’s no better way of enjoying our countryside than getting out in the hills so let’s all grasp this opportunity and make the most of Britain on Foot”.

To register an interest and receive regular Britain on Foot updates and news, visit www.britainonfoot.co.uk and complete the online form or follow @BritainonFoot on Twitter. To request a BoF Guide Book, email bof@theoia.co.uk,   



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Anonymous User
18/11/2012
A healthy population is good. It will save the national health money and be positive for individuals. BUT NOT more walkers in the hills please! Erosion, parking issues, congested roads, lack of peacefulness would all be increased. Local walking yes! walk to work yes! Cycle to work yes! Walk along towpaths Yes! but please leave our lovely hills alone.
Anonymous User
19/11/2012
Much more natural land and seascapes need to be protected and re-initiated. The opportunities to experience green, natural environments must be made a very high priority, including putting aside land currently earmarked for building, agriculture, horticulture and forestry to construct natural nature reserves and corridor networks between them. This needs to be managed in conjunction with an education program about our natural environments and how best to appreciate them when out experiencing them.
Anonymous User
19/11/2012
"BUT NOT more walkers in the hills please!"
Freedom to roam, but only for the self appointed chosen few?
Not sure I like that idea. Paul J
Anonymous User
24/11/2012
Oia who is that?

Never heard of them

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