Meet the team
On top of being a shop, we are a social enterprise. That means we deliver a wide range of services that we charge at the same rate as other consultancy organisations, but with the difference being that all profits support us to grow the Outdoor Families community projects.
Whatever your budget, if you want to help children play and get outdoors, we want to help you!
Outdoor People can offer a range of consultancy support to help you and your organisation get more children and families get outdoors, including:
- Research (what are the facts and figures we need?)
- Programmes (set up and strategic delivery, from local to global)
- OPAL Primary Programme An award winning change programme making playtimes great
- Fundraising and bid writing (Specialising in Government grants, but experienced in all aspects of consultancy
- Workshops and insets for staff and partnerships (Making outdoor play part of purpose, managing managers who manage risk, why children are important)
- Training (in campaigning, using social media, managing risk, programme development)
- Policy and purpose development (what exactly is the change you want to make?)
- Campaigning (Planning, asset development, building momentum)
We have a core team of four plus a range of partners we've worked with regularly (including photographers, artists and wordsmiths) to respond to a very wide range of opportunities.
We have a tiered cost rate depending on whether you are a charity, a school, a small business or multinational.
The Outdoor People Team
Cath Prisk, Outdoor People's Founder and Director, is a well respected thinker and advocate for children and the outdoors.
She has led large scale programmes, campaigns and research in the UK and globally, supporting children's space to play and independent mobility, supporting schools and other services and working with Governments, corporates and charities.
Cath's passion is making the outdoors easy, especially for children, which is why she set up Outdoor People.
Key previous roles:
- Global Director for Outdoor Classroom Day
- Director of Play England
- Director of Play Projects at the National Children's Bureau
- UK Policy Manager for the Sector Skills Council Lifelong Learning UK
- London Skills Policy Manager at the London Development Agency
- Deputy Head of two Children’s Centres
- Teacher in London and North Yorkshire.
"As well as ‘doing’, I love making the case. My teaching career began in Aberdeen, where I did my PGCE, followed by teaching roles in Inner City London and North Yorkshire. I have also studied child development as well as play theory.
I love our outdoors shop as a place to meet real families, but am equally passionate about writing papers that shape policies and programmes, or leading debates with an audience at a festival or conference.
Alongside Outdoor People, I am an advisor to the London National City Park campaign steering group and for Free Range Urban Kids, I was a founder of and Director of The Wild Network, and support various small charities that advocate for play.
I am a keen adventurer whether at home or further afield. I go camping, walking and hiking up mountains whenever possible, but also spend far too long on Twitter and try desperately to fit in a bit of hammock down time whenever possible!”
You can read Cath's Linked In profile, with full job history, here: Cath Prisk on LinkedIn
Here she is on Channel 5 news...
And from the 2017 Outdoor Classroom Day Campaign
Speaking on the fantastic podcasts:
Loose Parts and Risk Taking: Improving Children's Play
Cath also blogs for Children and Young People Now as Fair Play Blog, which builds on her previous work on Love Outdoor Play. She has also had articles published in Children and Young People Now, the Telegraph, the Independent and the Guardian and has been interviewed on various broadcast media (including Channel 5 about kids connecting with nature, the Today Programme (14/8/2014) about street play, Woman's Hour about anti-social behaviour and, most excitingly, Newsround about neighbours stopping outdoor play.
Cath is particularly proud of her review of the academic collection of essays Philosophy at Play which can be viewed here and was published in the International Journal of Play, and more recently her review of Teacher Tom's Second Book in the same publication.
Other members of the team include
Tom Sheppard - Tom has worked as a journalist, editor, playworker and youth worker and has an MA in Anthropology, Youth and Community work. He's also a dab hand at consulting with children and young people and is by far the most organised member of the team. He is Head of Operations for Outdoor People and also in charge of our communications.
Dr. Harry Cusworth - Having recently completed his PhD Harry is our academic researcher. He's fascinated by children's play, language development and cognitive psychology. He's also a great playworker and researcher with young children. Harry assists with all policy and research projects, writes super engaging text and is a brilliant facilitator and presenter. He's also a whizz at knowing all about the kit. We all live kit, but Harry really really loves it and knows just how to set up, fix, make do and build the right kit for adventures near and far. Harry is also in charge of fixing our bikes.
Beth Martin - Beth is a real rennaissance woman who is equally at home designing signs, whittling, fixing up huge community spaces and researching and writing elegant reports. She's in the middle of her MA and her focus is environmental development. At the same time her passion is getting kids connected to nature and she's a natural working with families. She is also our long-distance travel expert having cycled to Hong Kong, yes from London, and had multiple adventures along the way... During lockdown she set up the North London National Food Service, building it as a cooperative business that serves over 1000 meals a week to people in food poverty. She's recently been promoted here to being in overall charge of our community programmes because she is just brilliant.
We have a number of other colleagues and associates that we love working with on campaigns, literature reviews, fundraising and workshops, as well as access to playworkers and other children's professionals, so if you need a team, or have an idea you wish to discuss, do contact us.
James Dowdell, Head of Product, Sophie Forge, Senior Project Manager, Semble (Formerly Project Dirt)
Juno Hollyhock, Chief Executive, Learning Through Landscapes:
"We were lucky enough to have Cath take our two most senior managers through the ‘Managing Managers who Manage Risk’ course. This was a very comprehensive course which covered context and background in sufficient depth to inform the detail of the programme. The course also covered the legal requirements and links to the Health and Safety at Work Act as well as clearing up some popular myths. Scenarios were used as an effective way of testing new knowledge and these were well chosen for our field which made them extremely useful. Cath led the course at a pace which responded to our needs and allowed us to explore some issues in more depth but move through those that we already grasped. We were delighted with the presentation and would certainly recommend Cath to anyone. Managing managers who manage risk is a tricky area but Cath tailors the course very cleverly so you come out really understanding what your responsibilities are….and indeed what they are not."
Kathryn Scott, Public Health Strategist, London Borough of Hackney
"Working with Outdoor People has been brilliant. The project benefited from a massive injection of enthusiasm and creativity, which seems to be part of Outdoor People's DNA. This came as part of a package with all the less exciting, but necessary essentials you need from a partner - professionalism, rigour, sector knowledge and an awareness of monitoring and evaluation. Highly recommended."
Charles Ross, Outdoors Industry, Activist