A Snowdonia-based charity that helps local people gain skills and find jobs in the outdoor pursuits industry has been given a £3m grant to expand to other parts of the UK.
The charity has trained more than 4,000 volunteers and helped more than 500 unemployed people into work since it was set up 14 years ago.
It has helped people in north-west Wales set up clubs for people to take part in different outdoor pursuits including kayaking and climbing and has provided opportunities for people to gain coaching qualifications that have led to jobs in the outdoor activities industry.
A NLCF spokeswoman said the charity had applied for funding from the grant-maker’s UK Portfolio, which support UK-wide ideas that can help tackle long-term social issues and improve the quality of life.
The charity will use the funds to launch bases in East Ayrshire, Newry and Cumbria, with the location of the other two yet to be decided.
Tracey Evans, chief executive of The Outdoor Partnership, said: "We realised that our situation had a lot in common with other areas of the UK where an outstanding landscape was prized by visitors, but where local people have not engaged.
"The success we have had in north Wales has been achieved by breaking down some of the barriers stopping the local community participating.
"We wanted to create clear pathways so that if someone was interested in a particular activity they could move from beginner to instructor, if they wanted to stop at a particular level on that path then they would for example have access to it for recreation within their community.
"We are so excited about working with local organisations in each of the new areas to help them develop their own models."
Joe Ferns, director of UK funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: "By helping more people achieve their potential through outdoor activities and breaking the cultural cycle where local natural resources are seen as something only for tourists, this project will help communities across the UK thrive."