The It’s Great Out There Coalition has unveiled details of a new concept that will be at the heart of the next phase of its long term project to get Europe active outdoors. The coalition has launched #itsgreatoutthere Outdoor Activity Days, which will deliver clear and measurable results for every contribution to the organisation and will allow more companies, other organisations and individuals to get actively involved in the campaign.
Since its launch as an international non-profit organisation in 2017, with many of Europe’s biggest outdoor firms as members, the It’s Great Out There Coalition has grown into a major pan-European movement, inspiring citizens to get active in the outdoors. Through the #itsgreatouthere campaign, the coalition has both promoted outdoor participation to the public, and worked with European institutions to influence policy that encourages active lifestyles. In addition, #itsgreatoutthere has directly helped get more of the public into nature for the first time, with thousands of young people across Europe benefiting from grants that have supported grass roots projects.
From now, the coalition will underpin its work by delivering Outdoor Activity Days, which are targeted physical activity interventions in nature, designed to get citizens active, sustainably, inclusively and responsibly. One Outdoor Activity Day represents a financial value of €40. This figure is based on an assessment of a combination of actors, including: the average cost of a day's activity from supported projects in past years; the estimated cost per person of a fully guided day of activities for a group of at least 10 people (including transportation); and expenditure related to the #itsgreatoutthere grants programme and other coalition activities.
Full members of the coalition now know that their support contributes to at least 125 Outdoor Activity Days each year – direct, positive impacts on the lives of individuals throughout Europe. All coalition membership levels and additional ad hoc support will be defined in terms of Outdoor Activity Days, offering transparency and clear results to every company or individual that supports #itsgreatoutthere.
A company, other organisation or individual can choose to donate any number of Outdoor Activity Days to the coalition. For each donated day, the It’s Great Out There Coalition will ensure that one person spends one active day in nature, in line with minimum criteria and aligned to the latest World Health Organization guidelines that recommend at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week. Those days will be delivered by grass roots partners across Europe, identified through the #itsgreatoutthere grants programme. Non-profit organisations are invited to submit applications for grants for projects that meet the coalition’s criteria, by Wednesday 31 March, at www.itsgreatoutthere.com/grants.
It’s Great Out There Coalition policy officer Margo de Lange comments: “The work of the It’s Great Out There Coalition is more important than ever. During the last 12 months, the impact of COVID restrictions on citizens everywhere has been huge, physically and mentally, and one of the consequences has been a sharp increase in appreciation of nature and outdoor activities. It is essential that across Europe, policy and infrastructure is put in place to give everyone access to nature, but in away that is responsible and sustainable.
“Our project is perfectly positioned to facilitate and lead in this area – that’s exactly why the coalition was founded. We don’t want there to be barriers that stop anyone getting involved in our campaign and the launch of Outdoor Activity Days is a big step, reinforcing our role as a connector, catalyst and enabler, and making it easier to contribute, at any level.”
Elsa Germain of France’s En Passant Par la Montagne, recipient of #itsgreatoutthere grants, adds: “When we take young people outside of their neighbourhoods and on their first steps along paths into the mountains, that is a symbolic moment, and a big achievement for most participants. We find that many of them then go on to do much more in the outdoors after their time with En Passant Par la Montagne, gaining a deep love of these activities that lasts a lifetime. With help from an #itsgreatoutthere grant, we have set them on their way and that is very rewarding.”
In the UK, the Youth Adventure Trust was one of 10 organisations that received an #itsgreatoutthere micro-grant during the second half of 2020. Louise Balaam of the trust comments: “We use outdoor adventure to help young people fulfil their potential, building resilience, confidence and skills for facing the challenges in their lives. Everything that we do is based on different outdoor experiences in the mountains and forests, or at the coast.
“In 2020, we worked with an #itsgreatoutthere grant to get participants outdoors as quickly as possible when restrictions eased, some of whom hadn’t been outside for months. They were able to experience all sorts of activities, but the most important part was simply getting them into nature again, and connecting with other young people. The support of the It’s Great Out There Coalition has been hugely valuable.”
You can view a recording of the public launch event for Outdoor Activity Days HERE.
For more information about the #itsgreatouttherecampaign and Outdoor Activity Days, visit www.itsgreatoutthere.com.