South East Lancashire Orienteering Club (SELOC) recently started a new initiative to boost a number of areas within the club to great success.
Towards the end of 2018, the club committee undertook a review to look at everything from membership numbers, member experience and the number of events that ran. Where membership numbers had stayed stable over the last few years, for only a small club it would only take a couple of families to move out of the area for numbers to become a concern. Together with looking back at the local event offering, the committee devised a new strategy.
The new strategy focuses on delivering a series of local Saturday events on consecutive weekends to not only give club members more local opportunities to orienteer but to appeal to potential new members giving them more than a one-off orienteering experience. Each event will see yellow, orange and technical (light green) courses available thus providing the ideal introduction for new people or a good challenge for existing members. Alongside an added emphasis on club members volunteering and promotion through local social media networks, the plan was ready to commence.
The series got underway at Lever Park, Bolton followed by Haigh Hall Country Park, Wigan on consecutive Saturdays. With the parks only 6 miles apart and running in the early afternoon, it made it ideal for people to be able to travel to both and still attend commitments that usually fall on a Saturday morning.
The first events proved to be a great success with almost 100 people attending each venue. Of the people at each event, over half were new to the sport attending as families or couples who had seen the events via social media. The introduction of club certificates, stickers and sweets for young children also had a very positive response. The club members also played a great role in sharing the event through their networks on social media, leading on an event aspect or simply volunteering on the day providing tips and advice to the many new faces.
One family commented: “Thanks to all involved at SELOC for making my family and I feel very welcome last week at Rivington and today at Haigh Hall. It was all about giving our daughter new experiences and she has really enjoyed finding the checkpoints and receiving her certificates.”
The next part of the series moves to the Bury area with events starting at 12 pm on both Saturday 30th March at Chesham Woods and then Saturday 6th April Nuttall Park. Both venues are only 3 ½ miles apart so ideal for anyone local to try orienteering for the first time.