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Community Orienteering

To increase participation we need to provide a better pathway for beginners to take up the sport and increase the frequency of the orienteering opportunities available to them. One of the best ways to do this is through ‘Community O’ by starting a weekly club from a fixed location that is easily accessible to newcomers.

You can download a leaflet that explains how we set up a Community O project.

This page will share ideas on how to set up a weekly club and how to maximise the success of your "Try Orienteering" Events. The page "Weekly Club" will provide ideas on what to do. 

Setting up a Weekly Club

  • Use your Participation Managers at British Orienteering to make contact with your County Sports Partnership (CSP) and local Sports Development Officer (SDO) in order to form a relationship with the local Community Sport Network (CSN) and gain support in promoting your club to the local community. From here you can also establish a relationship with the local school sport network, they can also assist you in promoting your weekly club and any associated events in the surrounding schools.
  • Your local SDO can assist you in finding a suitable venue for the weekly club. This may be a leisure facility, local hall or school. Many Secondary Schools are keen to offer their sports facilities to local clubs and may also be able to form a link with your club so that pupils can easily get involved.
  • A ‘Try Orienteering’ event is often a good way to promote a weekly club to newcomers. Try to ensure the venue i.e. Park is close to the chosen weekly club venue for people to then progress into.
  • Publicising the weekly club night at a local ‘Try Orienteering’ event will help to ensure the success of the club night as people can immediately associate it with the well organised and enjoyable event.
  • Do not call this ‘Try Orienteering’ event a ‘CATI’ – it is not understood outside of mainstream orienteering.

For further information about setting up a weekly club please contact your Participation Manager.

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Organising a "Try Orienteering" Event

How to use a "Try Orienteering" Event to attract people to your new weekly activity club.

  • Selecting a local easily accessible area is essential to the events success. Parks are often the obvious choice and can also attract additional people on the day.
  • Publicity material for the event is available at an affordable rate through the British Orienteering Online Print Portal.
  • We recommend you distribute the promotional material through the local County Sport Partnership (CSP) and School Sports Network through the help of your Sports Development Officer (SDO). For information on the roles of these people please see the Key Contacts page.
  • If your club are particularly targeting schools then CSP’s are the key to getting the publicity material out into the right people in the schools and can sometimes also help provide free advertising in local papers.
  • Club Members could also help advertise the event through their work – a simple ‘all staff’ email is all it takes.
  • Send a press release to the local newspapers, including free papers. Ideally you should ‘cultivate’ a good relationship with one of the reporters. Keep sending snippets of news, results etc each week and use these to advertise the weekly club activities. For information on press releases and the media please see the Generating PR page
  • Websites that advertise community activities are also a good place to promote an event and club night e.g. Local Borough Council Website - Events Page.
  • Publicity material needs to go out to the public around two weeks before an event to ensure people receive the information in adequate time but also not too soon before an event. Communicate with your CSP to establish contact with the school sports teams and when they need the material in order to distribute it into their networks.
  • On the event day it is important that people know exactly where the event is taking place. Once people have arrived at the event (car park) they need to know exactly where they are going. Banners, Signs and Arrows are all available from British Orienteering and make the event welcoming. Neon Bibs worn by the organisers and event staff also make it easy for newcomers to approach people for help.  For information on Event Paraphernalia please see the Marketing pages.
  • Making people feel welcome is essential to an events success and assigning people to welcome them will ensure they gain a good experience from the event. Club Volunteers need to be proactive on the day and not afraid to approach people and ask them whether they would like to join in. If spare flyers are available on the day then approach other Park users and explain what is happening, ask them to join in. Finally hand them a flyer.
  • Aim to distribute promotional materials about the next event or club night on the day.
  • Record the details of the participants for further marketing and publicity purposes. You can then send them information about future events.  This is particular useful if your events are sporadic.  

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