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Tweet Friday 17th November 2017

British Orienteering Recognised Centre scheme – 3 years on!

This scheme has been successfully designed by British Orienteering to support outdoor education centres to deliver a positive first experience of orienteering to their customers. As part of British Orienteering’s commitment to supporting the outdoor industry, carefully selected advisors work in partnership with outdoor centre staff to deliver a positive first experience of orienteering to their customers.

There a number of processes that the outdoor education centres have to go through before they become recognised (see diagram 1 below). Recognised Centre Status customers the assurance of a good orienteering experience.

From the outdoor centre’s perspective, being part of the British Orienteering Recognised Centre scheme not only allows them to promote their recognised centre status on all of their publicity and promotional materials and websites but they can stand out from other centres by being able to demonstrate a positive first experience. This allows centres who are part of the scheme to promote added value to their customers resulting in increased bookings at their centre and provide excellent customer satisfaction to those who wish to try orienteering for the first time or expand on their existing skills. British Orienteering believes from talking to the outdoor centres who have already become part of the scheme that being part of the scheme helps to give them the extra edge over their competitor centres and ultimately increasing bookings and sales. 

Jackie Bryson, Chief Executive Officer and Dan Riley  
First day of coaching in the Braich Bryn Engan area

Why we used a British Orienteering Recognised Centre for a training base for our club?

British Orienteering’s accredited Recognised Centres are great places to be used by members, clubs and training camps for all their training needs. They are a great way for coaches from any club or squad to use as a venue and provide comfortable accommodation and facilities.

South Midlands Orienteering Club had 16 people from their club who wanted a weekend of coaching focused on contours at Plas y Brenin – the National Mountain Sports Centre. Plas y Brenin had been successful in achieving British Orienteering Recognised Centre status and met all the criteria necessary to become an accredited centre.

The group from South Midlands Orienteering Club was hosted by Plas y Brenin, with Orienteering Coach Helena Burrows facilitating the weekend. The first day of coaching took place on Braich Bryn Engan, and the second at Newborough on the Isle of Anglesey.

Jennie Taylor, Communications Officer caught up with Helena Burrows, Qualified Orienteering Coach and asked her from a coach’s point of view what she thought the benefits were of taking a group away to a recognised centre for coaching sessions?

Helena Burrows, a Qualified Orienteering Coach, said:

“As a club coach taking a group away to a British Orienteering accredited Recognised Centre for coaching has several benefits.

Firstly, there is always a good map of the site offering potential for coaching different aspects in a safe environment away from traffic.

Secondly, centres will already have a range of mapped activity resources available for younger or less experienced orienteers.

Thirdly, for a residential visit, the group is together in the evening’s which provides an ideal opportunity for reviewing and developing the coaching that has been done during the day.

Fourthly, there is potential access to other activities, for example, canoeing, climbing, high ropes, problem-solving and more with centre qualified staff either to use for other family members or for the group as a break from orienteering sessions.

And last but definitely not least, there is access to different types of mapped terrain not available in the club’s locality which will allow the development of higher level skills. However, permissions for use and access may need to be sought from the local club through their contacts.”



Plas y Brenin Chief Instructor Carlo Forte added: “It was a real pleasure for us to host the group from South Midlands Orienteering Club, and we’re extremely glad they made the most of our resources as a Recognised Centre. Our facilities and location make us ideally suited for club or group coaching sessions, with our Recognised Centre status serving as a real mark of quality.” 




















Outdoor Centres are supported by British Orienteering advisors who work with them to meet a set of criteria demonstrating that the centres provide a positive first experience of orienteering.

British Orienteering has 13 outdoor education centres who have successfully achieved accreditation to the scheme and there are 10 more centres currently going through the process. Hopefully, they will soon be successful in achieving the requirements set by British Orienteering and meet the criteria to qualify and be part of the scheme.

13 Outdoor Education Centres have successfully achieved accreditation to the scheme and include:  

Arran Outdoor Centre (Isle of Arran, West Coast of Scotland),
Cliffe House Outdoor Study and Conference Centre (Kirklees Council, Shepley, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
Dolphin House Activity Centre (Culzean Castle and Country Park, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland)
East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service (Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland)
The Frank Chapman Centre (Bewdley, Worcestershire)
Hill End Centre (Farmoor, Oxford)
Plas y Brenin – National Mountain Centre (Conwy, Wales)
Entrust Standon Bowers Outdoor Centre (Standon, Stafford)
JCA Condover Hall Activity Centre (Shrewsbury, Shropshire)
Kingswood – Colomendy (Denbighshire, North Wales)
Kingswood Dearne Valley (Denaby, Conisbrough, South Yorkshire)
Kingswood Overstrand Hall (Norfolk)
Kingswood West Runton (Cromer, Norfolk)

To find out more about British Orienteering Accredited Recognised Centres to take your club or group to can be found here.

Four recent successes of the Recognised Centres include:

1. East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service and Dolphin House Activity Centre have both been used by local schools for organising orienteering competitions.

2. Cliffe House Outdoor Study and Conference Centre have group bookings and will be hosting a range of Teaching Orienteering and Coaching Courses at their centre with many groups booked in and using the accommodation at the centre at the end of November.

3. Hill End Centre, Arran Outdoor Centre, Dolphin House Activity Centre, East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service have all had group bookings over the last two months and have hosted a range of orienteering courses which has brought in new revenue streams to their centres.

4. Kingswood Colomendy have both recently hosted Youth Orienteering Camps at their outdoor centres with school groups using the grounds for orienteering activities which has also ensured additional income streams from schools using the accommodation and facilities.

More information about British Orienteering’s Recognised Centre scheme can be found here.