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In the Spotlight... British Orienteering Club of the Year Award and Runner-up

Today we are proud to shine the spotlight on...

British Orienteering Club of the Year Award 

As well as celebrating the work clubs do with regard to supporting the progression and development of members, this award looks at how clubs are looking to build through the management of volunteers and partnerships outside of the club. 

Congratulations to the winner of this year's Club of the Year Award...

Pendle Forest Orienteers

Though a modest-sized club of 80 members people comment Pendle Forest Orienteers ‘punch above their weight'... when it comes to what they provide to members, orienteering, and the wider community.  They have made a conscious effort to make the club and the sport appealing to all, being innovative with community engagement schemes, building relationships with local partnerships, clubs, members, and the public becoming a thriving club.   

Even with a small ‘workforce’ compared to some clubs, in 2021 Pendle Forest Orienteers held 22 events, almost one bi-weekly.  In 2022 Pendle Forest Orienteers have 32 scheduled.  These range from free community Come and Try It events, Street O leagues, Urban, traditional ‘O’ events, midweek series, and the return of the Capricorn a historic mountain marathon event the origin of the popular OMM events.  

Pendle Forest Orienteers provide a wide range of opportunities for people to take part whatever their preference and experience of events. Pendle Foreset Orienteers have established strong links with local Active Partnerships, three separate School Sports Partnerships in our area, community groups such as Rawtenstall Market, and local Headteachers.  In 2022 they are working with East Lancashire Scouts to provide more orienteering opportunities to people of Asian background and will be holding free events as part of Eid festivals and Armed Forces Day to connect further with the public.  

Pendle Forest Orienteers are also part of the Find Your Way Project by British Orienteering and have many events and activities planned to introduce Virtual Orienteering into areas of deprivation within our catchment area.  

Pendle Forest Orienteers held an innovative Maprun competition in two boroughs attracting 250 participants and created Christmas, Halloween, and Easter trails in towns for the public to complete during school holidays resulting in over 600 people taking part in 2021.  The Local Headteacher Association used Pendle Forest Orienteers to create a set of 30 courses for the community to get children more active during Lockdown 2 in March 2021 with 12 members planning courses. They work closely with local running and fell clubs to introduce their members to orienteering, holding free Score events in parks local to them for their club night. Some of their members now come to Club Nights and in the past year, eight have joined the club as Pendle Forest Orienteers members. At Street O events, participation from these groups is often over 50% of the attendees.  In August 2021, Pendle Forest Orienteers held a Red course event to attract these types of runners and found members of other O clubs enjoyed them too and have more events planned to capitalise on this.  Pendle Forest Orienteers hold innovative events such as Turf matches vs other orienteering clubs, and Strava challenges, and have an informative club WhatsApp group sharing maps, stories, and reports from races.  

Pendle Forest Orienteers value the power and impact of social media, marketing, promotion, and branding, posting daily across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter good news stories, ‘Get to Know You’ stories, and events and results.  Event posts are placed on local ‘What’s On’ pages, relevant community groups, and shared with the local press.  Pendle Forest Orienteers regularly have over 2,000 engagements on their posts which translates to continued good attendance at events.  

The club holds free weekly Club Nights open to all, with training on both the physical specifics of the sport but also aspects such as S.I, planning, and mapping. In Lockdown, this was moved virtually with a mix of home workouts and activities like route planning, and Trail O-type sessions.   

Pendle Forest Orienteers value the commitment and development of their members, and this is shown in a new 4-year club development plan. They recently have two new trained controllers and are training two Level 2 coaches and established a new Mapping Group with 13 members being trained by a senior mapper on surveying and OCAD use. Recently Pendle Forest Orienteers held a club night for SI training and now has 14 members trained.  The club is mapping six new areas in 2022 and will offer free first aid training courses for members in addition to a new Membership Reward Scheme which will reward members for taking up volunteer roles and attending non-PFO events to encourage wider participation.  

Pendle Forest Orienteers hold free coaching days and have many different social events for 2022 planned to continue club belonging, including quiz nights, social days, and weekly drinks post-training. 

Congratulations to Pendle Forest Orienteers who are this year awarded the British Orienteering Club of the Year.


The Club of the Year Runner-up this year is Bristol Orienteering Klub.

Here are the reasons why Bristol Orienteering Klub are very worthy runners-up...

  • In 2021, Bristol Orienteering Klub put on 27 events comprised of 1 Major, 2 National, 3 Regional, 7 Local Weekend, 12 Mid-week Urban, and 2 Night League events. With Devon Orienteering Club, Bristol Orienteering Klub organised the British Long-distance Championships 2021. Bristol Orienteering Klub provided the officials. Usually a professional job, a Bristol Orienteering Klub volunteer mapped the area to a very high standard. 
  • Bristol Orienteering Klub maintains 43 Virtual Orienteering Courses through the UsynligO app. All of the club's Permanent Orienteering Courses have been inspected and maintained within the past two years. 
  • Bristol Orienteering Klub won the 2021 UK Orienteering League. 
  • Weekly training runs every Tuesday night. They continued during the pandemic, and the organisation of them changed to match current guidelines with weekly Zoom strength and conditioning sessions which started in Lockdown, now a regular Monday night fixture. 
  • Bristol Orienteering Klub encourages progression and development through regular coaching sessions and courses such as First Aid and Controlling.  
  • Bristol Orienteering Klub membership rose from 357 in 2020 to 463 in 2021, (30% up), junior membership rose from 99 to 125, and the number of family groups increased from 66 to 84. This was achieved through: Emailing all lapsed members twice in 2021 – January and March; Welcoming new members personally with a phone call; Answering all queries promptly, within a few hours; A strong publicity team; An excellent website. Bristol Orienteering Klub formed a Welcoming Group in 2021, to improve relationships with newcomers and recruit our volunteers. To attract more newcomers, the club refocused volunteer efforts away from the day of the event into publicity and communications outside events. 
  • Bristol Orienteering Klub will give a grant to every junior who gains a summer training camp or represents their country.  We encourage our juniors to take part in the South West Orienteering Association badge scheme so they can gain recognition and progression. 
  • To encourage Volunteer Support Bristol Orienteering Klub have incentives and positive feedback such as a 50% entry discount for helpers at events. Bristol Orienteering Klub members who volunteer as officials are always sent a letter of thanks from the Chairman afterwards. The club operates a system of volunteer squads.  
  • Bristol Orienteering Klub have good relationships with partners - they have two experienced Permissions Officers, through whom all contact with landowners is channelled. There are close links with the University of Bristol Orienteering Club and offer undergraduates free membership of Bristol Orienteering Klub as a second club. 
  • Bristol Orienteering Klubare is an inclusive club with a female Chair and two other females on the committee, they encourage women to come forward and take leadership roles within the club. They have replaced the Avon Schools Orienteering League with Bristol Orienteering Klub Junior League to make the sport more accessible to juniors who were not attending the participating schools. Bristol Orienteering Klub does not charge a fee for juniors to join. The club looks at each urban event to see if we can make it wheelchair friendly. 
  • Planning for the Future Bristol Orienteering Klub will use technology to make the delivery of events easier by adopting the Pre-entries App, card payment for EoD using the contactless Zettle App, and extending the use of Si Droid and tablet for local events. Bristol Orienteering Klub is aiming to recruit a Club Development Officer. Not just for beginners but to coach experienced members. They are also considering a separate Schools Development Officer.  

Thank you to all who submitted nominations for British Orienteering's Annual Awards this year. 

Many congratulations!  Fantastic and inspiring work! Well done all.


This afternoon will celebrate the final award. 

British Orienteering will be shining the spotlight on the winner and runners-up of The University Club of the Year Award at 14:00.