Pupils from a school in eastern England enjoyed new experiences in the outdoors thanks to a grant from the ‘#itsgreatoutthere’ initiative.  

Students enjoying water sports

More than 400 students, including 128 who had never been on the water before, were given the opportunity to experience water sports after a grant was given by the #itsgreatoutthere project.

Dominic Brister, an outdoor education teacher and leader of the parallel curriculum at Stamford Welland Academy in Lincolnshire, applied for the grant and led the project with his school after reading about the scheme online.

The effect on the school

Since receiving the grant the school has been able to provide more outdoor experiences for its pupils.

The #itsgreatoutthere grant allowed Dominic to work with Hou Canoes to source six canoes and modify each of them to seat three people. The grant also covered the purchase of new personal flotation devices and paddles, allowing the academy to roll out a more substantial and sustained programme for students.

Thousands more students are expected to benefit in the coming year from the resources that the school was able to buy, providing the opportunity for learning a wide range of new skills in the process.

Although the academy had an existing programme to give students canoeing experiences through experts at Bushcraft and Beyond, its scale and potential were limited by having to borrow boats. 

Owned by the academy, the equipment is being used every week by several schools, coordinated by Dom Brister, who commented: “Thanks to the investments we made with the #itsgreatoutthere grant, we are now able to engage with more students from tough backgrounds who struggle in classroom settings for a variety of reasons. 

“Through our canoeing initiative, we are giving these young people the chance to experience freedom, while learning key skills. 

“The project is about so much more than canoeing - it’s about leadership, ownership, management and teambuilding skills, all delivered in an outdoor setting which inspires the students.  This has already made a really positive impact and will continue to do so for years, helping many more young people.”

Applying for a grant

Any non-profit organisation can apply for an #itsgreatoutthere grant of between €1,000 and €5,000.

The grants are awarded to initiatives that focus on grass roots projects, which have primarily been developed to take new participants into the outdoors.  

For more information, visit www.itsgreatoutthere.com/grants