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Club of the Year Award Winner 2023: South Yorkshire Orienteers

British Orienteering are delighted to announce that the Club of the Year Award Winner 2023 is South Yorkshire Orienteers!

The Club of the Year Award has been designed to recognise Clubs that:

  • Provide opportunities for everyone to experience high-quality activities at all levels.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the development of participants, coaches, and volunteers.
  • Take an innovative approach to the promotion of orienteering activity throughout the wider community.

South Yorkshire Orienteers

Over the past year, South Yorkshire Orienteers have continued to provide an extensive range of activities for not only it’s members, but also to attract prospective newcomers to the sport. From their popular weekly club nights, to harnessing the talent of their juniors, and really valuing the work of their volunteers, here we explore about why they are truly worthy winners of this year’s Club of the Year Award.

Using events to introduce newcomers to the sport

South Yorkshire Orienteering Club run an extensive programme of events. Their popular Saturday Series events are particularly successful at introducing newcomers to the sport. Their monthly Wednesday evening events are also very popular – for example they recently had 155 participants at a rainy mid-week night event!

“Perhaps our most successful initiative is our weekly club night.  We have around 80 participants each week ranging from complete beginners to GB squad members. We have been particularly successful at encouraging the parents of our young juniors to join, creating a thriving adult beginners’ group! Club night activities range from intervals, circuits, race prep & analysis, map games, all types of technique coaching and all disciplines of orienteering.”

The Club also work really hard to encourage members to compete on behalf of the club at relays, junior competitions and the Compass Sport Cup (CSC)! This paid dividends in 2023 as they won the Yvette Baker Trophy, the Peter Palmers Joan George Trophy, the Compass Sport Cup Final and numerous relay titles!

Coaching opportunities and developing juniors

The Club offers more traditional coaching sessions at weekends, where they venture to areas further afield to focus on orienteering technique training. Recently they hosted their first coaching weekend away in the Lakes, which sold out in a matter of days!

Their members play a key role in the Yorkshire and Humberside Orienteering Association’s (YHOA) Junior Squad and the Northern Talent Squad, which facilitates a good performance pathway for juniors.

Nine of South Yorkshire Orienteer’s juniors represented England at the Junior Home Internationals (JHIs) in 2023. In addition, 12 juniors and two senior members of the Club are in the current GB squads, which is a reflection of their fabulous junior coaching programme.

“The social aspect of our club is very important. Our Wednesday events often have a post event social. We also hold an annual Christmas lunch, where we present our club awards and an annual summer BBQ event. We have WhatsApp groups to facilitate lifts to events and to arrange social runs.”

Harnessing volunteer engagement

South Yorkshire Orienteers really value their volunteers. On the club committee is the post of Volunteer Coordinator, thereby ensuring that they treat volunteer management as a key issue in club decisions. Helpers receive a free-runs at events and key officials receive vouchers, a personal thank you note and a lottery scratch card. They celebrate the contribution of volunteers in their newsletter and at their annual awards ceremony.

Coaches' children attend club night for free and the coaches get free entry to Wednesday evening events. The club also offer regular workshops on organising, planning, using condes, SI etc and offer mentoring. Juniors are really encouraged our to take on volunteering roles, including planning events.

Developing local partnerships and encouraging newcomers to the sport

The Club works with a number of local partners to support the development of orienteering by offering a wide variety of orienteering activities to schools and the local community. These include the Sheffield Federation for School Sports, the 4 Sheffield School Sports Partnerships, Cliffhanger, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, the Festival of the Outdoors and a wide variety of local community groups.

Saturday Series events are held in disadvantaged areas of the city and the Club offers free entries to local schools. Working closely with Sheffield University Orienteering Club (ShUOC), the Club also supports the development of student orienteering in the city.

Looking ahead they are particularly keen to increase participation from ethnic minorities and improve the ethnic diversity of the club. They have recently signed up to the Find Your Way Project and intend to use this as a vehicle for developing orienteering in disadvantaged areas of Rotherham.

We would like to once again congratulate South Yorkshire Orienteers on winning their award.


It’s important to us, to recognise the other clubs who were nominated for the Club of the Year Award 2023. Here they are, alongside some of the comments regarding their contributions over the past year.

Nominees for the Club of the Year Award

Lagan Valley Orienteers

In May, LVO hosted the 2023 British Sprint, Middle and TrailO Championships. On top of an already busy calendar, this major event was a massive undertaking for the club, so it was very encouraging to gain high praise from participants, including those in the British squads and previous major event organisers.

Even with all this activity, LVO managed to take a step back and reflect, carrying out a Strategic Review. The outcomes from this review have now formed the clubs 5-year Strategy. Fruits of this work are already being seen in the likes of the implementation of social, coaching ‘Club Meets’, which has attracted a real range of participants including non and new members.

Swansea Bay Orienteering Club
“This club is a wonderfully welcoming club to belong to. Everyone is so friendly. I have come to orienteering rather late in life (74) and they have encouraged me to become fully immersed in the club, which has given me a whole new perspective. I have started running again which I thought I would never do again. All of the members ranging from beginners to a world champion are so approachable and helpful.”


Next up, we will be sharing details of our University Club of the Year Award Winner 2023! Check our website or social media daily for the latest updates.