Boots and Beards
1179. Nav Bakhsh
1180. Kashif Butt
Nav Bakhsh and Kashif Butt, from Glasgow, founded the ‘Boots and Beards’ initiative in 2016 to bring together people from BAME backgrounds to experience the outdoors, facilitating walks and fitness programmes for over 400 people.
Cousins Nav and Kashif conceived the idea after realising how little they were getting outdoors with their children, and the benefits that nature-based activities can bring for wellbeing and mental health. Their fortnightly family walks soon grew to include other Muslim and BAME families, and after an initial grant and training from the Forestry Commission, Nav and Kashif set up ‘Boots and Beards’ in 2016. Initially aiming to provide particular support to men as a means of improving their mental health, the organisation runs a series of tailored programmes for men, women and families, such as badminton and climbing classes and bootcamp fitness sessions. They have also developed a youth programme in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh award, the first BAME organisation in Scotland to have partnered with the programme.
In a personal letter to Nav, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The ‘Boots and Beards’ initiative you established with your cousin Kashif is enabling hundreds of people to regularly benefit from getting outdoors and enjoying the beauty of the Scottish countryside. Your work is both improving access to the natural environment and boosting the wellbeing of the families who take part.”
In a personal letter to Kashif, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through your love of the natural environment, you are bringing together families and making a real difference to both their physical and mental health. You should feel very proud of the success of your initiative, and how you are connecting people through nature and exercise.”
Nav and Kashif said:
“We are humbled to be nominated for the Points of Light Award. We will be sharing this special award with our other volunteers and members who have chosen to join Boots and Beards, together to explore the great outdoors and look at ways of making the community healthier and stronger.”