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Tweet Thursday 23rd November 2017

Stoke-on-Trent’s first permanent orienteering course launched at city park

A fantastic example of partnership working demonstrated by the Potteries Orienteering Club as families are encouraged to search for posts around Hanley's Central Forest Park.

Families can now go orienteering at Hanley's Central Forest Park

A new permanent orienteering course (POC) was launched at Central Forest Park, in Hanley, at the start of half-term and families now have the chance to try out Stoke-on-Trent’s first POC at a city park and anyone who wants to have a go can pick up a free course map from the snack bar at the park.

There are already other permanent courses at Bathpool Park, Ladderedge Country Park and Brough Park in Leek, Downs Banks, Apedale Country Park and Biddulph Grange Country Park, but the course at Central Forest Park is the first in the Potteries.

Lily Taylor, aged six, celebrates tackling the city's first permanent orienteering course with members of the Potteries Orienteering Club. 

Lily Taylor, aged six, of Birches Head, tried out the course with her parents, Rachel, aged 37, and Steve, aged 43. 
The schoolgirl said: “It was fun and I enjoyed finding all the posts with my mum and dad.”

Steve said: “We come to the park a lot because we live nearby. We like it because it’s somewhere green within the city to take Lily. It has a good play area and there are lots of places to explore.

“This was our first time orienteering and it was brilliant. We’ll definitely do it again.”

Peter Munn, of Potteries Orienteering Club, said:  "The club had created the course with the help of a grant after Stoke-on-Trent was chosen as European City of Sport."

He said: “Orienteering is great for families to do. In fact, it’s good for all ages.  You can do orienteering for fun or at speed. It can be taken up as a sport and can be done competitively.  With the course at Central Forest Park, people are given a map and they then look out for the marker posts.”

Peter, who is semi-retired and lives in Porthill, took up orienteering about 10 years ago.

The 61-year-old added: “I do it competitively as a physical and mental challenge. I get to run because I’m trying to find the posts as quickly as I can. The challenge of finding them adds something extra.”

One of the posts that people can track down on the course at Central Forest Park
Stoke-on-Trents Xplorer at Westport Lake

Fellow Potteries Orienteering Club member, Dave Sparks, aged 70, of Newcastle, said: “Orienteering gets me out in the open air and exercising, and I enjoy planning the courses.”

The Club’s Permanent Orienteering Course Manager, John Heaton, aged 65, of Sneyd Green, said:  "There had been a good turnout for the event launch which was run on Saturday 21st October to coincide with the council organising a Festival of Walking (14th – 28th Oct)."

He said “People who took part at the first event weekend were given a map for the ‘O’ Challenge, which saw them track down as many marker posts as they could in an hour. We also ran helper sessions at 11am, midday and 1.30pm on the day to provide guided walks and extra help.

Despite being battered by Storm Brian. We had 40 participants including 30 new faces and one family requesting a membership form. The interest shown by these new faces has made me convinced that other similar projects in other parts of City would be a good idea”.

I asked all new face participants where they learned of this event - it was about two thirds from the Walking Festival publicity and the rest from our efforts in posting flyers through doors in surrounding streets. The power of publicity!”

The grant also included funding for an urban map of the adjoining city centre which will be great for juniors to compete on courses within the park and this is planned for autumn 2018.

With Xplorer events also being delivered by the council with 8 events happening locally between Oct half term and Christmas, as well as a new Get Out Get Active (GOGA) project planned for 2018 Kate Beer, City of Sport Theme lead at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “It is great to see a large compliment of orienteering projects happening and with Xplorer we are able to offer free sessions where younger children and their families can come along and have some fun. It meets our 5 ways to well-being community programme aims and young Beavers for example have also been using events to put hours towards their explorer badge." 

Natalie, a mother from Stoke said: “Xplorer is great and we never knew this place existed. We now come along on a weekly basis. We’re much more active as a family unit, I’ve even bought a pair of walking boots. We’re already looking forward to more xploring more parks in the Spring.”

Natalie Weir British Orienteering Development Officer, said: “Challenging my husband and friend, I recently went along to one of clubs score events and they are a fantastically friendly and welcoming club. It is great to see such a menu of Orienteering opportunities being made available and planned for the next year or so. There is quite a good network of small towns in the locality so the addition of Urban O will hopefully add to what is on offer and hopefully with continued partnership, support and raising awareness of Orienteering in the area the Potteries Orienteering Club can attract new people and grow their membership”.

To find an orienteering club event near you - click here.

For more information about Xplorer and to find an Xplorer event - click here.

Tweet Wednesday 22nd November 2017

How To Coach Young People For An Active Life

UK Coaching and Sport England have created a new animation to assist youth coaches in understanding and help young people positively change their sporting and physical activity behaviours.
Starting a new sport of physical activity or changing from inactive behaviour requires young people to go on a journey of change. Not all young people’s journeys will be easy, simple or quickly successful. Some young people will find ways to make the journey smoother and others will find the journey takes more effort and is a bumpier ride. 
Positive behaviour change can be achieved through coaches using a broad range of approaches that focus on young people as individuals, as part of a group or community or when they are in different environments. By using behaviour change strategies coaches can help and support young people to make better choices. 
Coaches can increase the likelihood of sustained positive behaviour change if they can: 

  • provide information that is easy to understand and at time when young people are likely to be responsive 
  • highlight that it is normal to take part and be active 
  • support young people to plan what to do when challenges occur 
  • help young people feel positive about the benefits of behaviours changed 
  • use simple tactics and strategies that support young people. 

Some behaviours are more resilient than others and therefore can be difficult and require a lot of effort. Changing inactive sporting or physical activity behaviours to becoming more active can be complex and therefore requires coaches and young people to keep going, persist and not to give up in developing new active behaviours and habits.

Find out more about the guidance and top tips for coaches in this short animation

New short animation
Tweet Tuesday 21st November 2017

Hill End Centre has achieved British Orienteering Recognised Centre Status

British Orienteering is delighted to announce that Hill End Centre has been accredited to their Recognised Centre scheme. 

Hill End Centre has been recognised by British Orienteering the National Governing body for the sport as providing a positive first experience of orienteering to visiting groups. End Centre is one of an increasing number of recently accredited centres awarded British Orienteering Recognised Centre status.

Amanda Warwick, Programme Tutor from Hill End Centre, said: "Hill End is located only four miles from the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford, the peaceful, tranquil quality of our location is a world away from urban life. We offer visitors the opportunity to be closer to nature, with the space and time to explore and appreciate the wonders of the natural environment.

We are passionate about all learning and offer a wide range of unique educational opportunities for all peoples learning and development. Hill End welcomes many different groups including schools, corporate volunteering and away days, toddler groups and adult classes and workshops.

Hill End is delighted to achieve Recognised Centre Status as we believe that orienteering is an excellent medium through which we can deliver our core aims and objectives to the diverse types of groups that we deliver to."

Dan Riley, National Participation Manager for British Orienteering, said: “Our Recognised Centre scheme is designed to work with Outdoor Centres to understand how orienteering is used as a tool to deliver a wide variety of educational outcomes. We are pleased to recognise Hill End Centre as delivering a positive first experience of orienteering to visiting groups. Hill End have demonstrated themselves to be a dynamic organisation. Even before they achieved Recognised Centre Status they have taken it upon themselves to deliver Teaching Orienteering. Additionally, they have been supporting a project in the nearby Vale of White Horses to deliver orienteering to older adults. I am confident they will continue to contribute to raising the profile of orienteering within their sphere of influence.”

British Orienteering are also appreciative of the support given to Hill End by Ed Nicholas of Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity.

Recognised Centre Status is awarded to Outdoor Centres who can show a consistently high standard of orienteering across a range of criteria that covers orienteering delivery, staffing, resourcing as well as policies and procedures. These are examined in detail by British Orienteering advisors and accredited to outdoor centres only if they meet the standards.

British Orienteering, the National Governing Body of the sport, provide specialist advisors to help Outdoor Centres across the country to provide the highest standards in orienteering delivery.

As part of the Recognised Centre scheme, British Orienteering provides approved outdoor centres with: 

  • A Recognised Centre plaque to display at their centre which confirms that the National Governing Body of the sport of orienteering is satisfied with the standards in orienteering being delivered by the centre
  • Use of the British Orienteering Recognised Centre logo on all their correspondence
  • A high profile listing on the British Orienteering website
  • Opportunities to host British Orienteering workshops, training courses and camps
  • On-going access to a wealth of orienteering knowledge and expertise.

British Orienteering, the National Governing Body for orienteering in the United Kingdom, launched their Recognised Centre scheme in 2015. The scheme aims to raise the profile of orienteering within the outdoor industry and recognise high quality experiences being provided by centres across the country.

For more information about the scheme and how to join visit the dedicated Recognised Centre section here

Tweet Monday 11th September 2017

The Peter Palmer Junior Relays: The Results

The Peter Palmer Junior Relays took place at the weekend (Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 September) in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield.  24 teams took part from 15 different orienteering clubs across the UK. 

For the second year running a team from West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC) - Crummock won the Peter Palmer Trophy, and a team from South Yorkshire Orienteers (SYO) - Killer Bees won the Joan George Trophy (for the team whose ages add up to 90 or less).  Suffolk Orienteering Club (SUFFOC) Rising Sun won the Norwich Orienteering Club Anniversary Trophy.

All teams enjoyed the challenge of running the first 2 Legs in the dark and there was a great atmosphere created by the cheering crowds which helped make it a thoroughly enjoyable event for all concerned. 

All photos by Robert Lines

Thanks to everyone who took part and all the helpers who got up at 4 am to make it happen.

Which Club will face the challenge of putting on the event next year?

The full gallery of Robert's photos can be viewed here

All photo credits:  Rob Lines.

Thanks to everyone who took part and all the helpers who got up at 4 am to make it happen.

Which Club will face the challenge of putting on the event next year?

British Orienteering would like to say thank you to all the volunteers who helped with hosting this year's Peter Palmer Junior Trophies Relays at the weekend.  Thank you to all the juniors who took part and contributed to making this a fun weekend.