Grass roots projects across Europe secure #itsgreatoutthere grants to get more people active in the outdoors

We are delighted to confirm details of eight grass roots initiatives that have been awarded #itsgreatoutthere grants of up to €5,000. Between them and through the rest of the year, the projects will deliver over 1,300 Outdoor Activity Days in six different countries – Hungary, France, Croatia, Austria, Ireland and the UK. We received 37 applications for the latest round of grants and once again, it was a tough job to shortlist and select the successful projects. We’re grateful for the help of our members in completing that task.

Launched in 2021, Outdoor Activity Days (OAD) are targeted physical activity interventions in nature, designed to get citizens active, sustainably, inclusively and responsibly. OAD are aligned to the latest World Health Organization guidelines on physical activity and are delivered by outdoor professionals, meeting a clear set of criteria.

From orienteering and outdoor based climate workshops, to rock climbing and family adventures in nature, the 2023 #itsgreatoutthere grants will support a wide range of activities over the coming months, getting people from many backgrounds active in the outdoors. We’re really looking forward to receiving updates from each grant recipient and hearing of the positive impacts of their work. We hope that their stories will inspire even more people to explore nature.

The eight projects that have been awarded grants are:

Orienteering as sport among other outdoor sport activities provide opportunities and places for social contacts and relations and help in the inclusion or integration of special groups. Especially it has been highlighted for people with physical and/or mental disabilities, young people with autism, disengaged youths or for the reintegration of youth at risk.

Organize Local O-School Days at 4 schools in Western Hungary.
Competing – or better say rivalring within young people would help to grow a culture of respect and recognition of each other‘s nature, especially when we maximize the mental aspect of our orienteering sport and promote navigation skill versus athletic ones. For schools it is a way to complete the cultural, but also and above all social training of young people.

About the organisation
Sibaris’ Club (Hungary) is a team of young sports and nature loving experts with different experiences including sports management, marketing, life sciences. Sibaris‘s goal is to raise awareness in sports and nature, to help the youth and community. We believe that even the smallest impact in childhood can be life changing later in life, therefore we aim to involve children from a very young age how to live a healthy lifestyle in terms of sports and outdoor exercise. We have a wide network of national and regional sport organizations. One of our main goal is to support active recreation that is non-competitive physical activity for the purpose of wellbeing and enjoyment. It could include activities that are performed in built and natural environments.

Refugees in the French Alps often face acute social, cultural, and economic isolation and marginalisation. To facilitate their integration into their host society, YAMBI wish to organise overnight mountaineering outings during which locals and refugees can get to know each other and build social ties. Particularly, these mountain excursions are the occasion for refugees to practice a physical activity that positively impacts both their self-esteem and physical and mental health, in contact with locals with whom they can practice French, learn about the local culture, sports, and environment, and build lasting friendships and relationships. These outings in nature are also the occasion to sensitise refugees about climate change and the necessity for a greater protection of the environment.

About the organisation
YAMBI facilitates integration of refugees in the French Alps through mountain activities and socio-professional support. In line with the United Nations, which recognize sports as a factor of social integration, we believe that the shared practice of mountain sports can : – Help refugees overcome the ordeal of asylum and strengthen their self-esteem, self-confidence, thirst for success, and desire to integrate into their host society; – Help deconstruct prejudices and highlight the benefits of collaboration, living together, and cultural enrichment. This approach is based on the therapeutic dimension of sports as well as the strength of the symbolic parallel between the effort required to climb a mountain and the difficulty of the path towards integration into a host society.

The project aims to plan rock climbing trips with families with children ages 5-18. Our trips would include lessons in outdoor sport climbing and bouldering, lessons on ethical acting in nature, and promoting outdoor activities in Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istria counties. Many people from the city of Rijeka live in small flats with hardly any access to green surfaces. That‘s why we‘ve decided to show them the advantages of living on a border of the sea and mountains where you can practice climbing any time of the year – be it on the sea or in the amazing scenery of the woods.

About the organisation
Our Sport Climbing Club started off in late 2019. as an idea of its sister Mountaineering Association, to involve kids in indoor and outdoor activities through climbing. A group of volunteers gathered around and started building a low-budget bouldering gym, creating holds by ourselves and trying to create a fun space for kids. We had a hard time starting since we opened our bouldering gym when Covid started, and just when we settled and finished all the work, we were forced to move out. Finally, now almost 1 year after moving into another space, we are counting around 70 children, ages 5 to 17, our first goal of involving kids in indoor activities is going great, and the only thing that is left now is the outdoor activities.

Urban Uprising Outdoor will support activity for one group of 7-10 young people as a graduation event for our 10 week Climb programmes. Outdoor Sessions are offered after our 6-10 week indoor Climb programmes for at-risk and disadvantaged young people age 8-18. The Climb programme introduces them to indoor climbing with a professional instructor and a trained volunteer coach to work with them on personal issues, challenges and skills, as well as offering additional support. The Outdoor Session allows the group of young people to experience climbing in a natural environment, enjoy a group trip away and gain confidence to explore the outdoors. We have been running these as day trips with support from Climb Scotland for several years but have the opportunity this year for a 2 night trip.

About the organisation
Our mission is to empower young people to improve their own life chances. Climbing creates a progressive safe space where young people can consistently take risks to develop confidence and other key life skills. Our team of 3 part time staff and 150+ active trained volunteers work with climbing centres & community groups to support 100+ disadvantaged young people a year by providing rock-climbing experiences and mentoring that are inspiring, challenging & supportive. Our objective is to improve their health, wellbeing, confidence, life skills & resilience by sharing skills, building connections and taking risks. We currently run beginner, intermediate & outdoor taster programmes in Glasgow and Edinburgh, beginner programmes in Aberdeen, Bristol and Cambridge.

Venture Beyond enables marginalised children & young people to get active with innovative outdoor, safe expeditions led by experts who incorporate environmental elements. Where traditional classroom techniques have failed, nature-based activation delivers the type of sensory, experiential learning that motivates & upskills them; its therapeutic value supports physical & mental wellbeing–especially recovery & resilience. Venture Beyond transforms & enrichens their education AND challenges their mainly sedentary, indoor lifestyles. Designed to take them out of the comfort of familiar surroundings into a process of self-discovery & adventure, it improves confidence & interpersonal skills to enhance their school-life & beyond. An essential intervention, it breaks barriers & broadens horizons.

About the organisation
Olive Academies Foundation works in partnership with the Olive Academies Trust to provide engagement opportunities for excluded children & young people with special education needs. Established in 2021, its vision is to help vulnerable Olive pupils participate in outdoor projects & experiences with physical activity, connecting them with nature & learning, broaden their horizons & develop essential life skills. Also disproportionately affected by the cost-of-living crisis we help them, through therapeutic interventions & enrichment, avoid a life of crime & exploitation so they can fulfil their potential in education, employment & society. The Foundation´s core objective is to raise funds to be distributed, via grants, to the Trust for these projects, outside of the statutory curriculum.

The HPCA workshops are our climate education workshop for schools. In Austria and especially in Vienna there are schools with many kids that have a migrant background. Those kids often never had the chance to stand on skis or go into the outdoors. This is why we are planning to host a semester long HPCA Workshop with a class with a high percentage of migrants. We want to combine climate change workshops and showing the kids the great outdoors. We want to show them first hand the effects of climate change, but also provide them with an opportunity to try out climbing, mountainbiking and skiing. We will work together with the Austrian Alpine Club, mountain guides and our athletes to provide the students with an amazing experience in the mountains.

About the organisation
In 2007, pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones founded Protect Our Winters. POW quickly brought on other concerned athletes, individuals, resorts, brand partners and passionate outdoor enthusiasts. Since then, POW has grown from a kernel of an idea into a worldwide network of more than 420,000 supporters.. POW Austria was founded in 2015. POW helps passionate outdoor people protect the places and lifestyle they love from climate change. Together, we are a community of athletes, scientists, artists and business leaders advancing non-partisan policies that protect our world today and for future generations.

VentureOut were established as a registered charity in 2016 to design and deliver a range of outdoor, nature-based experiences and interventions to support the wellbeing of those from disadvantaged and marginalised communities. We currently run wilderness based personal development programmes from young adults in recovery, we deliver a 1 to 1 services for young children and teens in foster care, while we also offer urban adventure projects for families and teens in local green and blue spaces. We work closely with many social care organisations on the ground and would like to offer a number of family focused outdoor activity days to help promote participants health and wellbeing while also introducing them and the services that support them to the many benefits of time spent, active nature

About the organisation
Venture Out Wilderness Project CLG is a registered charity. We aim to inspire personal growth & development through the design, prescription and delivery of outdoor, nature based therapeutic programs to people of ages living within disadvantaged and marginalised communities. Our Vision is a socially-just, sustainable society, more integrated with nature and the outdoor environment. Our Mission is to promote transformative outdoor learning experiences that enhance personal and interpersonal development, creating a deeper understanding of our interdependence on nature. We currently have a number of core programmes from our Ember wilderness based expedition, and our Unearth 1 to 1 support intervention, through to our Branching out Weekly urban adventure programme for teens & families

Project is revitalization of Tuhobić trophy. Tuhobić trophy was organizated yearly 25 times till 1990”s, but whet Croatian war stared, trophy was stopped. Now we want to revitalize that tropy, and oragnize it every year. Plan is to invite kids and older competitors in natural park Učka in Croatia to competite in mountain orientiring. For young competitors that will be end of Mountering school for kids, duration of school is this school year where they have learn hiking skills in theory and practice on hiking trips. Goal of this manifestation beside sport part is to promote outdoor activityes.

About the organisation
Mountaineering association TUHOBIC was founded in 1965 among educators and pupils of an elementary school in Rijeka. The goal was to create opportunities for those children who wants to participate in mountaineering activities. Till today about 10 000 children participate in Tuhobic’s activities. All these years one of the main activities was work with children and developing love for a nature, wish to stay in a nature, and to hike or climb up to mountain. But that sport activity was not only sport. Like always sport is frame in which young individuals get to know the world, nature, social relationships and find ways to find a constructive place in the community by learning social intelligence. We are active in few sports: orientiring, sport climbing and hiking

As a reminder, Outdoor Activity Days (OAD) are targeted physical activity interventions in nature, designed to get citizens active, sustainably, inclusively and responsibly. OAD are aligned to the latest World Health Organization guidelines on physical activity and are delivered by outdoor professionals, and meeting a clear set of criteria. We’re excited to find out how the latest #itsgreatoutthere grants will make a difference and introduce more citizens to outdoor activities for the first time. We are sure that every project will help to continue our successful tradition of inspiring thousands of new participants around Europe.

You can read more about the #itsgreatoutthere grants programme HERE.