Outdoor People is a non-profit social enterprise based in Hackney, London. We are on a mission to make getting outdoors easy, especially for children and families.
Our Outdoor Families programme is a year-round programme, connecting families from across London with nature, gradually increasing their range of experiences - from weekend walks exploring local green spaces, through to a weekend camp in the countryside.
Every summer for the last six years, we have taken families living in London for their first ever camping experience, for some children their first holiday, to Green Farm Kent.
We are looking for volunteers to support our family camping trips throughout the summer. There will be a weekend camping trip in April for training and camping gear preparation. We will then host 2-4 camping trips throughout the summer, funding dependent. The first camping trip will be in the May Half Term school holidays - 31st May to 4th June. All camping trips will be at Green Farm Kent (near Ashford). Food and travel expenses are available for volunteers.
We encourage parents and carers who enjoy camping (and feel quite confident camping with their family) to sign up as volunteers and bring your children along too!
Ideally you will be interested in some or all of the following:
+Camping and outdoor adventures
Our volunteer roles and responsibilities include:
+Organising, maintaining, repairing and proofing outdoor gear
+Preparing the campsite for families
+Driving the minibus from London or to visit our local dairy farm.
+Leading activities such as story-telling, foraging, adventures and outdoor play, arts and crafts and visiting farm animals.
+Putting up tents and distributing equipment.
+Keeping the compost toilets clean.
+Managing the waste produced.
+Preparing and cooking food.
+Organising and distributing food stocks.
+Packing down tents - airing and cleaning them! - and stock taking.
We appreciate not everyone has the time to commit to join as a volunteer for a full family camping trip, which is typically a full week including set up and pack down. As such opportunities to volunteer can range from a one-day trip to the farm or up to 5 days of camping. Not all volunteering opportunities will involve working directly with families, some are more suited to folks that love a bit of graft in the outdoors. We will chat with you about the roles you think are most suited to what you love about camping and the outdoors.
It is our priority to ensure that we offer inclusive volunteering opportunities. We will do our best to adapt all roles and responsibilities to suit your needs and circumstances. Some of the tasks can involve heavy lifting and lots of walking, but only within your own ability (and following manual handling practices).
This programme has been running for the last 5 years, based in Hackney. Over that time 107 families have joined Family Wild Walks, 49 families have joined Outdoor Family Camping and 247 children have benefited in direct activities, half under 7 years old.
Lack of knowledge and confidence is often cited by parents as a key factor in why they don’t spend more time outdoors with their children, these trips give families the confidence to go camping again and again by themselves. Even simple tasks can seem daunting to first time campers, especially for those who have grown up in cities. For many families it is their first time feeding chickens and pigs, sleeping outdoors or using a compost toilet!
While it’s true some families don’t go away camping or on outdoors adventures together, the underlying societal issue is how children's freedom to play is restricted. There is lots of evidence showing that many children simply don't go out to play. One in seven of London's children NEVER go to a green space and across the UK 73% of children play outdoors for less than an hour a day.
Inequality of access to nature has been further exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Natural England Survey reported that 60% of children spent less time outdoors since the start of the pandemic and 73% of children from lower income households spent less time outside compared to 57% of children from higher income households (September, 2020).
“We love family camping because it’s a big group of us from all different backgrounds which makes us feel really comfortable as a family. If we could replicate that in every visit to the countryside it would be great!”
This is why we go on camping trips as a community.