This winter we’re urging people to support the #SaveOutdoorEd campaign and sign this petition, which aims to get the government to take action to save the outdoor education sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The outdoor education sector has suffered enormously in the pandemic, with many jobs
and businesses in danger, but that’s only half the picture. People have also lost
opportunities to get outdoors, boost their mental and physical health, learn about the
natural world and gain skills and confidence – and in a time of climate crisis, valuable
ecological educational opportunities have been missed.
The #SaveOutdoorEd campaign aims to make a difference. Its profile is growing and it has
led to a number of petitions and calls from MPs for the government to address the damage
being done to the outdoor education sector by Covid-19.
Supporters of #SaveOutdoorEd are calling for a clear roadmap for resuming school trips,
along with financial support for the sector, where Covid-19 restrictions have endangered
Some progress is being made. A new all-party parliamentary group for Outdoor Learning
was recently formed, led by Aberconwy MP Robin Millar and Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who recently urged the government to review its ban on residential trips.
TYF was founded in 1986 and was the first company to introduce coasteering as a
commercial activity. We welcome around 40 schools each season – approximately 200
children a week, and employ over 30 people each year, including seasonal instructors and
year-round staff in our office and our St Davids shop.
Our activities are not only about boosting physical and mental fitness: we also have a strong environmental focus and build education about the environment and the natural world into its activities. Our high adrenaline activities are preceded by a “mindful minute” in which participants tune into their surroundings.
In 2014 TYF became one of the first certified B Corps in the UK in recognition of its social
and environmental performance. We’re also ocean literate and carbon literate, meaning we promote an understanding of the oceans and our influence on them, and an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, working to motivate people to reduce emissions.
Bonnie Middleton, marketing manager, TYF, says the loss of outdoor education during 2020 has had multiple effects. “We are not only concerned about protecting jobs in the sector; we’re also aware of the lost opportunities to raise awareness of environmental issues at a time when the climate is in crisis,” she says.
“We cannot miss another opportunity to engage the younger generation with nature as this could have a detrimental effect on their commitment to making positive changes in their lives. On top of that, people have lost valuable opportunities to boost their resilience, optimism and mental health through time spent outdoors. Outdoor activities have been shown to have multiple benefits, including lowering blood pressure, boosting self-esteem and relieving stress and anxiety. People need these now more than ever, and we’re eager to be able to welcome people back and resume our activities in a safe and supportive environment.”
With this in mind, we have revised our procedures to ensure all equipment is disinfected
between uses, and that social distancing it built into its travel arrangements and activities.
“We’re confident we can keep people safe on our trips,” says Bonnie. “We now hope people will get behind the #SaveOutdoorEd campaign and urge the government to review its rules about overnight trips and to take action to protect jobs in outdoor education. Outdoor education staff and the activities they provide have a hugely positive impact on people and the environment, and we want that to continue.”
Anyone wanting to support the campaign can sign the petition urging a revision of
Department for Education guidance at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/330559
To find out more about our bespoke educational experiences for schools click here.