Manchester Outdoor Education Trust

Case Study

Funded through the Together Fund, the Manchester Outdoor Education Trust managed and distributed the funding to four delivery partners, providing a variety of activities for young women and girls across Greater Manchester between June and August 2023.

Purpose of the project

  • Delivering activities which have increased activity levels and/or engaged previously inactive young people from LSEGs.
  • Delivering activities which have specifically focused on engaging and increasing activity levels amongst young females from LSEGs.
  • Delivering activities which have specifically focused on enhancing the mental health and well-being of young people from LSEGs.

StreetGames provided this funding, as it was evident that young women and girls across Greater Manchester have several barriers in place which reduce the opportunities for them to experience these diverse outdoor activities, for example, kayaking and bushcraft. The aim of this funding and the work of the groups was to break down some of these barriers and allow young women and girls to experience them. It would be fantastic if some of the participants were to continue these activities.

However, the experience in itself, building confidence, getting them outside, working within a team, and the physical and mental benefits were far more important.

The funding paid for the organisations to deliver a number of sessions, which were promoted widely throughout the StreetGames network in addition to the wider Greater Manchester youth and school network. NACRO delivered a different activity on each of the evenings, so one week was bushcraft, the next orienteering and then cycling. Debdale Outdoor Centre delivered some dragon boating, the Water Adventure Centre kayaking, and Simply Cycling was accessible cycling. Apart from the weather cancelling a couple of the Water Adventure Centre sessions, everything else went to plan and was well attended, which was fantastic. Overall, there were 231 different participants accessing the activities, with a mix of ages and ethnicities.

One of the key things that helped to make this project successful was the enthusiasm, adaptability and understanding from all the partners. In the initial meeting, the idea of a weekend festival was proposed, but the organisations were creative, throwing in suggestions, and as a result, this full programme spanning over a few months was created. This approach was certainly more aligned with the needs of the young people (and organisations taking them), and it allowed the sessions to be more accessible. This also meant that the delivery organisations weren’t stretched and could deliver the activities when they had the staffing and capacity to ensure that the sessions met a high, engaging standard.

Plans for the Future

As a result of the summer series, NACRO planned and delivered monthly sessions all through the autumn as they had a core group of female volunteer leaders who became more active through the summer festival, and there was also lots of interest from the young women they worked with. They used the equipment already purchased to run the autumn sessions; therefore, this funding has created a sustainable offer, which is fantastic.

At the Water Adventure Centre, their session with Manchester Young Lives led to a conversation afterwards with a cup of tea, and this progressed into talking to the young women about how they have been encouraged to become active in their youth club settings and the importance of having young women only spaces to build their confidence and self-esteem. The conclusion was that they all wanted to do more, so hopefully, work can continue with them to plan more for the future!

Regarding the funding, the feedback was that it works well, but it would have been more beneficial if they could use it for more long-term projects, as they had just got momentum up within the 3-4 month delivery and now want to deliver more. In the future they may also use more of the funding to support training the volunteers so that they could become more sustainable long term. More opportunities to work all year round, plus some residential opportunities in the autumn and winter, would also be welcomed, in addition to more funding readily available to support these groups from highly deprived areas in Manchester.

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