“Annie Berrington’s childhood just outside Skipton sounds idyllic. “It was climbing trees and building dens and even having campfires and things like that,” she says. “It was all picking blackberries and putting frogspawn in your Welly boots and all that sort of stuff. It was a very free range childhood, really.”
2024 is an exciting year to be at Get Out More, with the Reaching Communities programme set to kick off a whole host of new activities in the Keighley area, and the team set to settle into their new premises at the Gatehouse at Cliffe Castle. Read all about it, and more about managing director’s Annie Berrington’s background in the Yorkshire Post here. To keep up to date with what is happening at Get Out More, follow us on Facebook, or why not join our mailing list.
As we head through January, Get Out More is pleased to be sharing one of several exciting developments from the team. After some successful trial sessions with schools in Late 2023, we are proud to be able to use the newly community-owned Weston Woods in Otley as a site for our forest schools, wellbeing programmes and volunteering projects.
Taken from the Menston Area Nature Trust website:
“East Wood, Weston, near Otley (known locally as Weston Woods) is nearly 20 acres of mature mixed deciduous woodland, alive with wildlife including red kites, goldcrests, tree creepers, warblers, woodpeckers and tawny owls. Oak, birch, beech, elder and sycamore are underlain by bluebells, wild garlic, brambles and other woodland flowers…It is valued for the memories of playing there as children, the peace people find there, but also as a place where nature thrives. There is a growing understanding that mature woodlands like these are not only vital for the wonderful habitats they provide, but also play a really important part in holding and soaking up carbon, preventing the carbon dioxide adding to global warming.”
Our first event open to the public is our Holiday Forest Schools, running on the 14th of February. It has already had a fantastic response from families, with places running very low! We also plan to assist in any environmental projects within the wood with the Outdoor Taskforce.
There are so many benefits to being in nature, including but not limited to improved cognitive function, enhanced wellbeing, a boost to physical fitness and even improved social interactions! We look forward to sharing these benefits with the people of Otley and the surrounding area when we bring our projects to this fantastic community-owned woodland.
We are focused on supporting community-led projects like this; hence, a percentage of any ticket sales, alongside a portion of Get Out More’s surplus revenue, will be shared with the trust. We look forward to seeing you in Weston Woods!
As we draw to the end of 2023, we reflect on the last year, which we know has been a challenging one for many; after the pandemic, we are aware of changing needs in the communities in which we work, as many people struggle with mental health issues and the impact of the cost of living and climate crises. We’re proud of the work we have done through the year to support people to access nature to feel good, adapting our programme to meet the challenges. Here are some of our highlights:
Since 2018, young children living in the Better Start Bradford area have enjoyed forest school activities with us in local woodlands all year round and in all weathers; rain, sun and snow. We’re entering the last few months of the programme now and have totted up that to date we’ve run 53 forest school programmes with 25 different nurseries – thats 553 three-year-olds who have taken part in the past 5 years!
Our Yorkshire moorlands are beautiful, and precious carbon stores which can play a vital role in preventing valley flooding. Last winter, two local schools, Harden and Sandal Primaries joined Sam and Julia on visits to the neighbouring moors, as part of a South Pennines Park project funded by Natural England. With experts on hand, children were fascinated to learn about the rich plantlife that lives there and the conservation work being undertaken on the moors on their doorstep.
In spring we launched the Green Spaces programme, a gardening project to brighten up the area around a Keighley community centre, made possible with funding from the Bupa Foundation. Residents from the Highfield area planted trees and made raised beds to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs, which were then used in the community kitchen. “It is amazing. You have changed the whole look of the centre. People say its more calming. They want to spend time here”
Woodland management work at St Ives estate meant our usual forest school site there was off limits. We moved this holiday club to Blackhills Scout Camp in Bingley. With very wet weather days becoming more common, we were glad of the scout huts to provide some inside space for children to access through the day. We’ll be running at Blackhills again in February as well as Saltaire and a new community woodland in Otley. Check out the February dates here
After five great years at Get Out More, Coordinator Julia Babbitt moved on to pastures new, and we welcomed Sue Barker onto the staff team. Sue started as a trainee on our Outdoor Futures employment course, so we’re thrilled that the experience has led her to a job with us. This year, we also thanked John Hamilton and Rachel Shaw for their sterling service on our board and welcomed Cat Thomas and Shabana Bibi as the new Directors
In the June heatwave, we were pleased to attend the Yorkshire Rewilding Festival in Otley. The event brought together landowners, ecologists and campaigners to network and share ideas on helping nature recovery in gardens, parks and estates. Our Nature Journalling workshop under the trees helped delegates relax away from heat, and reinforce their connections with nature and place.
This year, 57 people have undertaken forest school training with us, including parents from Keighley and playworkers and early years staff from Bradford. In July, Annie ran a programme for teachers at Skelton Grange in Leeds, as part of the Leeds 2023 cultural programme. In 2024 Get Out More will be running its first Level 3 programme, qualifying people to become forest school practitioners
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! The summer holidays are always a busy time for woodland sessions, with forest schools running throughout the holidays. But blue spaces, as well as green spaces, are good for wellbeing, so Hazel and team led a trip for a group of families and adults to visit sunny Morecambe, as part of our Holiday Activities and Food Programme. For many it was the first trip on a train or to the seaside – we plan to go again next year.
SEPTEMBER: The Outdoor Taskforce continued to meet monthly to develop their skills on environment projects. Amongst coppicing, garden clearance, balsam bashing and hedge laying, group leader Ryan’s favourite task of the year was dry stone walling in September. Working alongside Friends of Park Wood volunteers learnt how to do this traditional skill and the results were impressive. The Outdoor Taskforce will continue in 2024, starting with tree planting in January – join up here
In the autumn, Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust asked Get Out More to run some wellbeing programmes with people with less access to nature. Sue led a group of young refugees and asylum from Keighley College, who enjoyed a series of outdoor sessions including a trip Gordale Scar. The activities broke down language barriers and helped the sanctuary seekers establish relationships. “Back in my homeland, I had no friends but thanks to this I have lots now.”
Winter can feel like a time for hibernating, but getting outdoors with like-minded adults to learn some skills and share a hot drink around the campfire can do wonders for mood and energy. Volunteers from Missing Peace, a peer support social enterprise in Keighley had a good laugh in the woods with us this November. With CNET funding, we’re starting a new Winter Wellbeing group in January for adults who’d like to fight winter blues outdoors. Its free – come and join us!
This month we received the fantastic news which will mean our programme of community activities and wellbeing events is about to step up a gear. Excitingly, we also have plans afoot to move our office base to somewhere with extra space for community workshops and training. We can’t reveal all just yet, but watch this space!
We’re really excited about what 2024 has in store. Thank you to all our participants, practitioners, partners and funders who have supported us through 2023 and we look forward to seeing you again next year.
We wish you a happy Christmas and a healthy new year!
From all the Get Out More Team
Today is Social Enterprise Day – a moment to raise awareness of our pioneering business model and celebrate the more than 100,000 social enterprises in the UK working to benefit people and the planet. But what is a Social Enterprise? Social enterprises are businesses that trade for a social or environmental purpose. Like any other business, we look to make a profit (or surplus), but we then use the surplus to benefit the community and environment around us, from free places on our forest schools for low-income households, to donations to local ‘Friends of’ groups to help them improve the green spaces we access on our programmes.
In 2022, Social Enterprises in the UK reinvested £1bn to help communities and the planet – and Get Out More reinvested £8606 of that in local activities and groups. Its not just a financial benefit; last year 14 brilliant volunteers contributed 90 volunteer days on our projects, we supported 42 people to gain a qualification and 4981 people took part in our programmes – 95% of whom said they felt happier as a result.
To mark Social Enterprise Day this year, we are urging readers to think Social Enterprise this year and support business with social and environmental missions in any way you can.
Christmas is fast approaching. Are you feeling stuck for gift ideas? Why not support local communities and the environment by buying from a Social Enterprise this year? Social Enterprise UK has put together a handy gift guide where you can choose thoughtful gifts with purpose. Whether it’s creating jobs and opportunities for people on the margins, delivering people-powered public services or taking on the climate emergency, social enterprises are showing us that another way of doing business is possible – one that puts people and the planet first. We are proud to be a Social Enterprise and when you buy from Get Out More you are supporting the local community and environment too.
We’re officially still in spring but the hot weather is helping us look ahead to a summer of fun. There is plenty happening at Get Out More over the next few months, and in our June newsletter you can read about ways to get involved! In this issue:
- Holiday Forest School
- Wellbeing walks
- Outdoor volunteering opportunities
- Forest school training
- Staff Changes
Keighley-based social enterprise Get Out More is now recruiting new volunteers for the Outdoor Taskforce, a volunteering programme aiming to improve the green spaces around the Keighley and Airedale area. As part of the Outdoor Taskforce, participants learn new practical skills and develop team working skills, supported unemployed people and those looking for a new job with their employability. The group meets once or twice a month, typically on a Friday. Working alongside fellow organisations Yorgreencic, Aire Rivers Trust and Keighley Big Local on various conservation projects, the group will be planting trees, building dams, fencing, coppicing, dry stone walling, river clean-ups, balsam bashing, learning bushcraft skills and more.
Ryan Passmore – “We are pleased to be continuing the Outdoor Taskforce for the next 12 months, there is no end of opportunities to improve green spaces and organisations that could use some extra pairs of hands on their green projects. Our participants got a lot of personal satisfaction from doing something positive for the environment and helping local groups. Previous participants have found their confidence around other people and working outdoors have also improved through the social aspects of the group, we also hope that participants will gain the confidence in their skills to pursue a career outdoors.”
If you would like more information, or are interested in joining, please fill in the registration form below with your contact details. Alternatively please get in touch with Ryan Passmore at 01535 668588 or [email protected].
The Outdoor taskforce is funded by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund founded by HM King Charles III
2022 has been an exciting year for Get Out More as we bounced back from the impact of the pandemic and celebrated our 10th anniversary with many of the people who have supported our growth over the years. As a social enterprise we are committed to supporting the individuals and communities we work with, so it was rewarding to be able to give back through our Anniversary Awards scheme and to get involved in more environmental projects such as extensive tree planting in our area.
Get Out More produced its first Impact Report, collected from data throughout 2021. The report highlighted the year’s achievements in numbers and showed what a difference taking part in our programmes makes to people’s wellbeing, social and nature connections, for example, 65% of people said they had made new friends and connections through Get Out More programmes.
The Forest Pathways, funded by Dept for Education as part of the governments’ Children and Nature programme, drew to a close in the spring this year. 16 schools from across Bradford took part, with forest school programmes for pupils from Reception classes to Year 11. 23 staff undertook accredited forest school training, leaving a project legacy that will reap benefits in their schools for years to come.
We were very proud to celebrate our tenth anniversary on 22 March with a big outdoor party and tree planting at Riddlesden St Mary’s School. On the same day, the Woodland Trust were launching a new woodland to commemorate Captain Sir Tom Moore, a scheme we to which we were pleased to donate. Read all about it the Keighley News
Hosting an outdoor away day for 65 employees from the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, was all in a day’s work for the Get Out More team this month. Their staff felt energised and inspired by activities on offer and delighted to get together again in the great outdoors after months of working apart during the pandemic. “To say the day was a success would be an understatement. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, we’ve seen an increase in team togetherness, people have formed bonds with others they had only previously seen on a video call and new staff feel immediately part of the team.
Wharfedale got its own Breathing Spaces booklet in May, the latest in Get Out More’s series of self-guided wellbeing activity booklets focusing on different areas of Bradford district. Thirteen social prescribers from Wharfedale GP practices attended one of Julia’s Breathing Spaces walks in Ilkley to understand how ‘green prescriptions’ can support patient wellbeing.
Get Out More team helped the Year 6 children from Beckfoot Allerton Primary to celebrate the end of SATS, during their residential at Blackhills Scout camp this month. Our practitioners led wild games, den building, crafts and campfire cooking, helping pupils to create happy memories of their final days at primary school. Read about our offer to schools here.
The summer holidays saw the first of our family trips with the Better Start Bradford programme, where families from Bradford got to explore some of the beautiful destinations within easy reach of the city centre. In total, Sam and team facilitated 63 children, 38 dads and 25 mums to take part in the trips, including one in Ilkley, where one of the families commented, “The location was also excellent, with wonderful views of the riverside near the park, whilst being peaceful and relaxed. I will definately be going back again with family and friends!!”
AUGUST: The trips continued through the summer in our ongoing All for Play programme, with additional funding from the government’s Holiday Activities and Food ‘Summer of Fun’. Hazel and co organised family trips to Haworth and Malham, as well as woodland activities at Riddlesden St Mary’s Primary School. All sessions were accompanied by a healthy meal, often prepared over the campfire.
SEPTEMBER: As the weather turned cooler the All for Play team began to offer a new kind of session, in response to the cost of living crisis. Running free indoor and outdoor activities simultaneously, with nature-based crafts, outdoor play and a hot meal means our family sessions can continue right through the winter and the weather is never a reason to stop getting out more! Thanks to funding from the Household Support Fund, these weekend and holiday sessions in Keighley are ongoing.
To celebrate our 10th birthday, we gave away over £5000’s worth of rewards in our Anniversary Awards, including training bursaries and forest school places. Interpretation business, Enable2 CIC were the deserving recipients of a Get Out More Wellbeing Day to allow their hardworking team a chance to recharge. On a beautiful autumnal day at Blackhills, they enjoyed a nature-based activities and campfire – read all about it on Enable2’s blog
Our new Outdoor Taskforce were in full swing by November, volunteering on projects to support the environment such as hedge laying, tree guard collection and woodland maintenance. This programme, is designed to support unemployed people into jobs in the outdoor sector and met weekly through the autumn. The funding from the European Social Fund is finished, but Ryan will be carrying on the Outdoor Taskforce into the new year and are welcoming new recruits.
Its been a very rewarding year for Get Out More. Not only were we finalists in the Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber Awards in Oct, we won the Big Impact category of Participate’s ‘Cheers for Changemakers’ Awards this month. Annie and Susan collected the award and werw humbled to have been chosen amongst such a great range of businesses and are displaying our trophy with pride
Thank you to all our participants, supporters, partners and funders who have helped make this year so special. We look forward to seeing you again in 2023.
We wish you a happy Christmas and a healthy new year!
From all the Get Out More Team
Get Out More is seeking new Directors to join our Board at an exciting time in our development. We are an award-winning social enterprise with a ten-year track record of running successful nature-based programmes in communities and are looking for two new Directors to join our dynamic team.
The social enterprise is led by a team of six non-executive Directors and a Board Advisor who bring their experience and skills to provide invaluable support to guide the organisation to success, including our strategic priority to secure new premises to enable the next stage of our development. The Board of Directors meet quarterly to review our strategic direction, measured against our key performance indicators. Directors also provide advice to the staff team according to their own expertise from their field of work or personal experience. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and are particularly interested to hear from individuals who meet any of the following criteria :
- People who live within Bradford district who have experience of our programmes
- People who reflect the diversity of the communities whom we support
One of our Directors, John Hamilton, is stepping down after five successful years as Chair of the organisation so as well as a vacancy for general board members, we have a vacancy at the head of the board and would love to hear from experienced professionals who would like to share their skills to lead the organisation to further success.
In a video message to others thinking of joining the Get Out More Board, John said,
“Joining Get Out More was an opportunity for me to put back into the community where I live. I work in a commercial job and I felt I needed to do something altruistic and help out where I can. I’ve been Chair of the Board of Directors for nearly five years now and I think there is a natural cycle to these positions. The time is ready for someone else to come in with some new ideas, new opportunities, new thoughts to help take Get Out More to the next level. The thing I most get out most from working with Get Out More is the opportunity to work with some great people and be close to the value they add to the community.
If you were looking to work with Get Out More you would be working with some really great people, who are dedicated to improving the lives of others. You’d have a lot of fun and you’d have another way of using your skills, talent and experience in a wholly different way than you might otherwise do. So if you are thinking about it, I’d say, go for it!”
Further details of the positions and how to express an interest are outlined in the Role Descriptions below.
Get Out More Board Director is a non-remunerated post but reasonable expenses will be paid.
Managing Director Annie Berrington would welcome a chat with anyone interested in applying for a board position to discuss the role, what we are looking for, the commitment and any further questions. Contact us to arrange an informal discussion.
Get Out More was delighted to be a finalist in the Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber Awards 2022. We were one of just three organisations shortlisted in the category of Social Enterprise of the Year, an award that recognises organisations who have demonstrated an outstanding track record of delivery, growth and innovation.
Managing Director, Annie Berrington said, “It was a thrill to be a finalist in such as prestigious category, as it shows that we have established the organisation amongst our peers in the region. Get Out More is a successful business that has survived the pandemic and come out stronger, supporting communities to thrive through connecting with nature. In 2022 we celebrated our tenth anniversary, an 82% growth rate since inception and a positive track record of expansion to now work with people of all ages across Bradford district. We are so grateful to the support of staff, board and beneficiaries to help us get to this stage in our development.”
As a team we attended the awards ceremony at Shay Stadium in Halifax, a fun event attended by successful social enterprises from right across the Yorkshire and Humber region. Although we did not win, we were honoured and humbled to be selected amongst such high-achieving enterprises. Congratulations to all the winners, including Bramley Baths who won Social Enterprise of the Year.
A busy and eventful spring has led us to an even busier summer as we are heading into the holidays. The mix of warmer weather and longer days give us a sense of peace and relaxation, but also it gives us opportunities to spend more time outdoors and continue to run a whole host of outdoor programmes! You can read all about our latest news in July’s newsletter and find out how you can get involved.
We hope you are enjoying getting outdoors this summer
Annie and the Get Out More team
In this months newsletter:
- Holiday Forest School places!
- Annivesary Awards
- Wellbeing Wednesdays
- Remote teams getting out more!
- HAF Programme for summer
- A Summer forest school play project update