Latest #itsgreatoutthere grants continue support for grass roots outdoor participation projects across Europe

We are delighted to announce details of six grass roots projects that have secured funding through the latest round of #itsgreatoutthere grants. Each will receive up to €5,000 to help them introduce new participants to a wide range of activities in nature. The grants awarded ahead of summer 2022 will deliver almost 800 Outdoor Activity Days in Croatia, Greece, Latvia and the UK.

We received some strong applications this year and are grateful for the input of our members and the independent selection committee, who helped us choose the successful recipients. It’s really good news that we are able to support projects in three new countries, and some very diverse initiatives.

The seven projects that have been awarded grants are:

“YSR was born in October 2017 on the island of Lesvos, in response to the massive need for healthy safe spaces, the sense of community and a place to work on mental and physical health. Sports can break down barriers, thus creating a safe meeting space for cooperation between cultures where everyone participates and becomes a family. We work together to build people’s skills by promoting an environment conducive to continuous learning throughout our organization. YSR empowers refugees to believe in themselves and their dreams through their strength. In all our activities, our community is in the lead because we believe that agency is central to empowerment. Climbing To The Top is our outdoor activity program for climbing and trail running. YSR’s goal is to have regular excursions to outdoor climbing locations and trail running days, with the appropriate material and support for our students. In our gyms on Lesvos and in Ioannina, we have built our own bouldering walls, and we go outdoors for climbing to give our male and female climbing teams the outdoor climbing experience. The joint power of nature and sport promotes feelings of wellbeing and reduces the stress of everyday life.”

Summary: At SMaC we believe in the spirit of adventure as an educational tool that allows the unblocking of formative paths for youths. Each year we propose exciting and significant experiences to the young teens which will be taken up again in a didactical manner. This year we chose to follow the course of the Tagliamento river implementing a number of means.
This is an adventure in which we will be combining one day of trekking, two days of rafting and 2 days cycling. This path crosses a number of historical and naturalistic areas, with the objective to promote a culture centred on sustainable tourism, with many open-air activities. Furthermore, we wish to document the entire experience through an ad hoc created website and promote the event across a range of dedicated social channels.

“The Explore Days take place in the first year of our Youth Adventure Programme for vulnerable young people aged 11-16 and are their first full day outdoors with us. For many, it will be the first time they have done any outdoor adventure activities like this. During the day, they will do grass-tobogganing, attempt assault courses and play team games. Many of them are very nervous about trying activities like this but they are fully supported both practically and emotionally by our staff and volunteers. We provide transport and our programme is free, so there are no barriers to attending. The Explore Day is the vital first step on young people’s adventure where we help them to develop resilience, confidence and a love of the outdoors.”

“LTSA is a grass roots sport organisation with 30 years of experience, involving inhabitants of all age and social groups, irrespective of their race, political or religious status. The outdoor activity we are planning to offer is a Nordic walking activity in Pokaini forest. There will be different distances – 5km and 10 km. The target audience will be women who have suffered from violence and are currently in crisis centres. We expect approximately 50 participants (women of different age categories). We have picked this location, as it is known for its strangely arranged clusters of stones. Some visitors claim the stones have an uplifting and energizing effect. We will provide qualified Nordic walking trainers to lead the groups of participants on the hike, along with walking poles.”

“We Go Outside Too was founded in 2020 and is challenging the barriers to accessing the outdoors and highlighting that nature has healing properties for inner city communities. Our mission is to bring the rawness and authenticity of nature to the Black community by aligning mental and physical wellbeing therapy with outdoor activities. The festival is a three-day residential retreat, which will include hiking, yoga, sound therapy, fitness, and nutrition workshops. The event will improve mental health, encouraging local travel and making the outdoors more diverse. We also hope to put on photography exhibitions and to share new experiences with our wider collective, showcasing nature and outdoor activities to people of all ages.”

“The Wanderlust Women was founded in 2021, and is a hiking adventure group. Our vision is to normalise the act of exploring the great outdoors for Muslim women. This year, we want to organise a wild camping expedition. This will actually be two expeditions, one for beginners and one for an intermediate level. The expedition will take place in Lake District, where will first have a skills and training day, and then the women will set out on their expedition to experience wild camping. Many women form ethnic minorities don’t have the opportunity to take park in these sort of activities so we want to make this accessible for them. We will run through all of the skills needed for the mountains and wild camping.”

“MGA-Zadar is an educational non-profit union of hikers, mountaineers, climbers, speleologists, and nature enthusiasts, with a deep commitment to and understanding of outdoor culture, whose main goal is the education of safe and ethical mountain practices through schools and courses for adults and children. The Youth Hiking School is a project that we organise in partnership with Hiking Club Paklenica, aimed to include children aged 10 to 14 years. For six weeks, 30 children will get acquainted with the basics of hiking and acquire mountaineering knowledge and skills in a safe outdoor environment with the instruction of licensed mountain guides, Croatian Mountain Rescue Team members and other outdoor professionals. The project will include lectures with practical classes in the form of six thematic hiking trips with at least one two-day trip, covering the following: terms in hiking and mountaineering, basics of hill walking and staying in the wilderness, nature protection, objective dangers, first aid, rock climbing, and orienteering.”

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.