European grassroots projects receive #itsgreatoutthere 2024 grants to promote outdoor activities

We're thrilled to announce the recipients of our latest #itsgreatoutthere grants, supporting eight grassroots initiatives with €32,000! These projects will bring outdoor adventures to communities in Montenegro, France, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Germany, Finland, and the UK, with over 1,195 Outdoor Activity Days planned. Thanks to our members for their help in choosing from 149 applications. From packrafting in Montenegro to skateboarding in Germany, these grants will get people outdoors and active.

Launched in 2021, Outdoor Activity Days (OAD) are targeted physical activity interventions in nature, designed to get citizens active, sustainably, inclusively and responsibly. OAD´s are aligned to the latest World Health Organization guidelines on physical activity and are delivered by outdoor professionals, meeting a clear set of criteria. This year we are proud to announce that this year we have planned 1,195 OAD´s!

The eight projects that have been awarded grants are:

Established in 2016 by Balkan nature enthusiasts, Nature Lovers organises mountaineering, skiing, and kayaking activities while promoting environmental conservation. Over 1,000 participants from around the world have joined the group’s initiatives, which include the annual Kayak Fest on Montenegro’s Tara River. As members of ‘Balkan River Defence,’ Nature Lovers is dedicated to preserving Europe’s waterways. The organisation also pioneers ski touring in Montenegro, hosting the Ski Tour Fest since 2021.

Nature Lovers’ latest project aims to empower young people through outdoor education. It will take the form of a five-day packrafting and ski touring school in Montenegro. Each activity will be implemented in a child friendly environment and by professionals with years of relevant experience, aiming for equal participation by boys and girls, and opening up opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Follow the activities of Nature Lovers on Instagram HERE.

Founded in 1993, APART is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to supporting social and professional integration in the Seine-Saint-Denis area. This project, delivered by APART in collaboration with the French Federation of Mountain and Climbing (FFME), aims to introduce climbing as a sport to a group of 10 young individuals from Seine-Saint-Denis, a region in Île-de-France that is characterised by high levels of long-term unemployment and economic deprivation.

The initiative encompasses indoor and outdoor climbing sessions, including rock climbing in designated areas, with the ultimate goal of preparing participants for professional roles as climbing supervisors through the CQP AESA certification course. The programme will involve multiple sessions at climbing gyms, outdoor rock climbing activities, and a three-day mountain trip to further enhance participants’ climbing skills and experiences.

Follow the activities of APART on Instagram HERE.

Planinsko društvo Radovljica (Radovljica Mountaineering Society) is a non-profit organisation based in Radovljica, Slovenia, with a rich history dating back to 1895. The society is dedicated to promoting sports climbing, mountaineering, and hiking in the Julian Alps and beyond. The principle aim of the outdoor camp is to experience nature and build teamwork in an outdoor environment.

In this five-day long camp, kids aged between eight and 15 will learn rock climbing from experienced instructors, enjoy the thrill of scaling a rock face, build trust and teamwork by belaying their peers, camp under the stars, learn campfire cooking, and hike in the natural surroundings of the Julian Alps. Being aware of the increasing sedentary lifestyle of young people, the society’s goal is to promote a love of nature, develop teamwork and communication skills, build confidence and self-reliance, create lasting memories and, most importantly, to motivate and improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Follow the activities of Radovljica Mountaineering Society on Instagram HERE.

Step Out Mentoring, based in Southwark in London, is an early intervention mentoring organisation that focuses on children and young people. It offers outdoor-based one-to-one mentoring, group sessions, and trips to support individuals aged eight to 18 who face disengagement from education and life, and struggle with isolation and loneliness. Step Out Mentoring’s aim is to guide these individuals towards thriving and becoming positive contributors to their communities.

This programme will target inactive youngsters and match them with mentors who have been trained to facilitate outdoor activity sessions. The programme is designed to cater to the needs of communities that face specific barriers to accessing outdoor spaces, and marginalisation through poverty and inappropriate access and experiences of mental health services. Step Out Mentoring creates a safe and nurturing environment, allowing young people to explore their challenges and aspirations. The mentoring sessions will be complemented by four camping trips that will take place throughout the programme, giving participants the chance try a new experience, connect with nature and learn new life skills. Each trip will be facilitated by a trained forest school leader to teach skills such as campfire starting, cooking and whittling, instilling a sense of responsibility towards the environment, and encouraging sustainable living practices and an appreciation for the natural world.

Follow the activities of Step Out Mentoring on Instagram HERE.

Weare1 Association is a Spanish non-profit NGO dedicated to serving the most vulnerable members of society, including women, children, and the homeless. The association operates to provide support and resources to help these individuals achieve sustainability and improve their quality of life.

The Nature Explorers project aims to provide orphaned children in Spain with enriching outdoor experiences and educational activities. Through this programme, youngsters will have the opportunity to explore nature, learn new skills, and develop a deeper appreciation for the environment. The project will focus on fostering their personal growth, building resilience, and creating positive memories. Activities will include interactive workshops on various nature-related topics, such as wildlife conservation, plant identification, and environmental sustainability. These workshops will provide educational opportunities and help children develop a deeper understanding of the natural world.

Follow the activities of the Weare1 Association on Facebook HERE.

The Chill Foundation is a non-profit that inspires young people through boardsports and builds a more equitable outdoor community. Chill Germany´s project expands the organisation’s winter programmes, which are focused on snowboarding, to include summer activities with skateboarding, surfskating, and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

Targeting the Children Residence Center of Bergisch Gladbach, the project will prioritise inclusivity, aiming to create an environment where participants feel valued and supported. Through boardsports, Chill will teach resilience, teamwork, and self-confidence, fostering joy and community. Participants will gain valuable perspectives for the future while finding a community and a sense of belonging in challenging times. By offering a holistic approach to youth development, Chill aspires to create lasting impacts that extend far beyond the confines of the summer programme.

Follow the activities of the Chill Foundation on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE.

Mikkelin Latu is a local branch of Suomen Latu, the largest outdoor recreation organisation in Finland. The group aims to facilitate a communal celebration of Finnish Nature Day in August 2024 by providing an accessible avenue for participation, particularly targeting refugee and immigrant families who are unfamiliar with outdoor activities in the country. This will involve collaboration with the local multicultural centre, Mimosa, which has strong connections to people from this demographic.

The concept involves inviting immigrants to acquaint themselves with and partake in outdoor activities, including the experience of sleeping in a tent. The distinctiveness of Nordic outdoor culture and the concept of everyman’s rights, present abundant opportunities for individuals to engage with and appreciate nature. However, for novices, the lack of prior experience can pose a significant challenge, compounded by the expense of equipment and the need for proficiency in its use. The Sleep Outdoors Night will be organised in the immediate vicinity of the Mikkelin Latu club house next to a lake, allowing a low threshold for participation for those not so familiar with activities in nature.

Follow the activities of the Mikkelin Latu on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE.

Ludotempo – Associação de Promoção do Brincar is a non-profit created to promote informal physical activity and educational programmes, with play in nature as a central pillar. The organisation has a lot of experience of working with children in the outdoors, designing and implementing activities with small and large groups. Ludotempo currently works with public primary schools in Leiria and with six parents’ associations, all of which will collaborate on this project.

Rediscovering the Magic Hill is a project for children aged seven to ten from low-income families. Through five exciting days outdoors, they will explore Leiria’s hidden gem, N. Sra. da Encarnação. Combining physical activities, nature exploration, and environmental awareness, children will connect with nature, learn about their city and area’s history, and contribute to its preservation.

Follow the activities of Ludotempo on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE.

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.

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