Venture Out Wilderness Project – Outdoor Family Experiences

Grant report

by Venture Out









Target Group: young kids, average age 4 and their parents
Impact: 3 – 4 hrs, 8 days

Venture Out

Project description

Venture Out delivered eight family nature day experiences with families and children referred into us through local social care services operating across the region.
Each day experience involved a Venture Out guide meeting the group in a local green or wooded area to undertake a range of fun, social, educational and active nature based activities.

Project Data

Where did the activities take place?

Each of the sessions took place in the west of Ireland in the counties of Galway and Mayo.

When did the activities take place?

The 8 sessions took place over a 4 month period from July 2023 until October 2023.

How many days and hours per day of physical activity were included in the activities

Each experience lasted approximately 3 hours.

How many participants took part in the activities?

Over the 8 experience days, venture out engaged 92 participants

Describe the target group that took part in the activities

Venture Out worked closely with our social care organisation partners on the ground in the region to identify the families most in need of an experience of this nature. We worked with these partners to engage community based parent and toddler groups, women and children linked with domestic violence services and we worked with our local homeless support service to offer families engaged in their service an outdoor experience.
We targeted parents and early years children (1-6yrs) although we had a number of older siblings join the group sessions (6-12yrs).

What was the average age of participants?

Children engaged in the experiences were average aged – 4yrs, Parents were in their 40’s.

What was the physical activity level of the participants?

Each session was delivered outdoors in a community based green or wooded area. Participants would nromally walk approx 500m to get to the base and then they would be active for approx 2-3hrs depending on how long they stayed and how mobile and active their children were.

How many boys/men?

31 boys / 8 Men (Dads)

How many girls/women?

26 girls / 27 Women (Mums)

Money received from the Coalition in €:

5.000 EUR

What did you use the money for (guides, gear, accommodation…)?

All money granted was used to finance this project.
We delivered 8 outdoor nature based experiences.
Funding was distributed as follows

Guides x 3 per session – €450 (150 per guide)
Equipment and material costs per session €60
Travel costs – €50 per session
€4500 total

Project admin 10%- correspondence, project planning, programme design, insurance, misc

Project Testimonials

How did I feel about the project before it started?

Many participants reported being anxious about bringing their kids outside in poor weather or to parks and woodlands that they may not have been to before. One parent and toddler coordinator was concerned that the parent group would not attend due to it being outside, as they normally meet in a local hall, indoors with facilities and comforts. Many were simply curious about the project as they had not attended an experience day of this nature before and would not generally go into such spaces with their children. Some parents reported being anxious about their children getting too dirty or playing in mud and dirt ect

What was a challenge?

Most groups and parents we spoke to were enthusiastic from the start, however many were anxious about weather conditions and days that were forecast ton be a bit colder. We worked hard to ensure we had shelters erected for these sessions and we encouraged everyone to wrap up warm. It was a challenge to accommodate everyone's preferred date and time , however we seemed t5o be able to accommodate most requests.

What was your favourite part of the project?

Many participants spoke about their enjoyment of doing such activities as part of a group, They enjoyed the social aspect and also expressed their interest in attending future similar events and experiences. Many others reported being more open to letting their children enjoy free play in these areas after seeing and learning from the guides about the importance of letting kids play freely in such environments. One or two parents were less anxious about allowing or supporting their kids to play in mud, splash in puddles and climb trees after learning from the guides, and after seeing their children enjoy such activities.

How will this project influence your outdoor adventures in the future?

We have had many reports of the parent and toddler groups we engaged now planning future outdoor sessions within their own group. This was an original aim of the project - to showcase the value of spending time outdoors - and we are delighted to see these participants now looking to the outdoors to spend their time in the future. We would also like to think that participants may now start to view these green spaces within the communities as valuable resources where they can bring their kids and spend time to help promote their families health and wellbeing.

Some Other Things

Would you recommend applying for an #itsgreatoutthere grant?

10 out of 10

How useful would you say the support provided by the Coalition was to your project?

It was a fantastic support.
It helped us engage almost 100 participants from hard to reach cohorts.
We hope the connections and links we have made will help us continue this work.
Without this funding, these children and families would not have had the opportunity to have such a wonderful experience


Barry Dillon