Report by Andrew Evans, Chair of Dartford Orienteering Klubb
Saxons and Dartford Orienteers are working together as a partner to deliver the Find Your Way project. Our aim is to reach out to local community groups, especially those working in areas of deprivation and with people who are less active than average including the local councils' obesity groups coordinators.
Our first two activities were in the last week of July, an orienteering day held at Woodlands Farm Trust and a launch activity at Leybourne Lakes. Find Your Way project leader Kay Hawke had attended the launch of Active Kent in June, a full-day event with speed networking; this led to several new contacts to liaise with ahead of the activities. Across the two events, we gave 45 adults and 51 children a chance to experience MapRun6 as they found their way around a choice of courses at each location. Attendance was helped by publicity on social media by the venue education officer/park ranger, landowner, TM active, each club, and community group coordinators within Tonbridge and Malling DC. Participants received an information sheet developed by Kay which included local follow-on Find Your Way activities able to be done at any time.
We have also set up Find Your Way courses for ADO Services, an outdoor school based in Welling for children with an EHCP (Education Health Care Plan) and in need of social, emotional, and mental health services (SEMH). This means they struggle in normal school and are frequently excluded.
Teacher Robert Jarvis said: "I've done and taught a lot of orienteering at several outdoor centres. I believe it is useful for students because, first and foremost, they are outside moving around, which benefits both their physical and mental health. It's also a useful skill to master since it encourages students to look at and concentrate on what they're doing. Examining the map and paying attention to the finer points, such as which side of the building the control point is on.”
The school provides iPhones to children to undertake the activities using MapRun6.
In the last week of August, we have two Find Your Way activity days at Buckmore Park Scout Camp for parents/guardians of children who are entitled to free school meals within Medway in conjunction with an adventure camp organisation running a six-week programme with a different activity each week, together with our next launch activity, this time at Beacon Wood Country Park.
So Find Your Way has got off to a buoyant start in Kent and South East London.
Find out more about the Find Your way Project here.