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Getting families outdoors

At Outdoor People we have a passion for getting outdoors... and we believe everyone, especially children and families, should be able to get outdoors every day. Walking, exploring, picnicking, camping, scrambling, hiking up mountains, wandering round cities, playing in the street, lying in hammocks, building dens, making mud pies and staring at clouds...

We don’t just talk about it, we make it happen. We organise Wild Walks, take families camping, research the barriers that people face and find solutions to help  these barriers disappear. We campaign year-round so that children have the space and opportunity to get outdoors every day!

Will you help us? You can:

 

Why is it good to go outdoors? And why don't people go outdoors more?

A recent report found 28% of UK households live within 5 minutes walk of a park, rising to 58% of London Households living within 5 minutes walk of a park or playing field. 

However 1 in 6 of London’s children NEVER go to a green space and 25% say they go to the park once a month or less[1].

Why? There are many reasons, but the most common people give are...

'I don’t have time'
'I don’t know where to go'
'It’s not for people like me'

 

Almost everyone agrees children should get outdoors more and that they themselves feel better after being outside.

At Outdoor People we run activities where people, from any background, can come together to enjoy the outdoors. We see the change as families discover the joy of getting outside regularly, feeling healthier and more connected to nature…

'I now go outdoors every day!'
'Now I know I am a Nature Person'
'We explore so much more now and the kids love finding new places to play'
 

How do we support families to make outdoors time part of every day?

Every summer for the last six years we have taken families for their first ever camping experience, for some children their first holiday, to a green, organic farm in the Kent countryside with trees to climb, rope swings and fields to run and run in. We’ve also climbed Snowdon and taken some families to ‘proper’ campsites – more of that to come!

After much perfecting of the formula, we have led #WildWalks – exploring the hidden wild spaces of East London – almost every month for two years, building friendships and creating memories, but mostly simply showing everyone how easy and lovely a short walk and time to play can be.

As we’ve grown we’ve invited previous participants to join the team as volunteers, to help other families come camping and to lead Wild Walks.

During Lockdown we’ve kept in touch with many of these families and been heart warmed to see how many are supporting each other.

This isn’t just random. It isn’t just ‘doing good’. It is about using the latest ‘nudge’ science, alongside the clear and unequivocal evidence that getting outdoors every day is essential, to help people to help themselves.

2020 Plans to support families…

At the beginning of this year we were half-way through a number of grant applications and had income to support three camps and monthly Wild Walks. All that stopped.

But now we have so far raised £3k out of a total of £8k needed to

  • Restart #FamilyWildWalks, taking small groups to explore safely the green spaces of East London
  • Build #WildWalksVolunteers, recruiting people to support others to get outdoors
  • Help Outdoor Families go camping! With social distancing this will cost more, but we are determined that as soon as we can we will be going back to Green Farm and inviting families to join us.

We will also of course continue to campaign to make getting outdoors easy – whether at school, playing on the street or planning big adventures up mountains.

How does Outdoor People work?

Outdoor People is non-profit social enterprise, Outdoor People Ltd., founded in 2014 with a board of Directors to advise and oversee our work. This means we not only apply for grants and raise funds, we also make money by offering goods and services for sale, and use the profits from these to support our purpose – helping more people get outdoors more often, especially families and children.

Alongside raising money to make the Outdoor Families projects happen we couldn’t do this without our amazing sponsors who help us get kit, advice and grow. These include:

Vango, Cascade Designs, Marmot, Stance Socks, Arc’teryx, Colvine Communications, Jumping on Shadows, Green Farm Kent,

School for Social Entrepreneurs

Hackney Council – Funding and training

The National Lottery Community Fund - Funding

But most of all, this work couldn’t happen  without the support of thousands of Outdoor People customers that have bought flasks, games and camping kit over the six years since we started!

Alongside Outdoor Families, we are also the strategic advisor to Outdoor Classroom Day, and facilitate the London National Park City Schools* network. We have written two major reports on the importance of being outdoors and we campaign to make it easier to get outdoors for everyone.

We also make sure our goods and services are in line with our purpose - that is why we have this great outdoors goods store, selling a great selection of some of the best gear to entice you outdoors more often. You can find out more about the services we offer on the Consultancy page.

The shop is based at Netil Market, 13-23 Westgate Street, Hackney, E8 3RL but since Lockdown in March we are now fully online. We do pop ups and collaborations too, lots of plans afoot…

We are hoping to re-open the shop in Hackney in June or early July – it’s a tricky place to make Covid-Safe! – but in the meantime you can order online and either get goods posted or arrange to pick up from Netil House.  If you are near E8 we sometimes do hand deliveries too!

 

Data sources

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/articles/oneineightbritishhouseholdshasnogarden/2020-05-14

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/monitor-of-engagement-with-the-natural-environment-survey-purpose-and-results