COVID-19 and OutdoorLads Response
Coronavirus Update - 30th September 2020
If you're anything like us, you've probably been finding the question of what activities you can do, where, and with how many people, pretty confusing..
We've drawn up a handy little table which hopefully goes some way to helping us all to decipher this.
Worth noting, that these are our MAXIMUM group sizes at present, and we do know that some leaders and members will prefer to continue with smaller sized events, and that's fine. That way, there's something for everyone!
We're working behind the scenes on a way to re-start our climbing events, which we hope to be able to do shortly. In the meantime, the figures below for climbing are what we expect to be able to have on climbing events once they re-start, but may be subject to further revision.
Our Covid-19 Master Plan document is available here.
Cycling update - 17th September 2020
Given the new 'rule of six' implemented this week in England, Cycling UK have advised that group cycling events should not exceed a maximum capacity of six attendees. You can view their up to date advice page for affiliated groups here.
We are therefore limiting the capacity of cycling events to six attendees (including the leader). Multiple groups of six are permissible, providing the groups do not come in to contact with one another.
Coronavirus Update - 10th September 2020
New rules and regulations for Covid-19 in England and gatherings of groups of 6 come into force on Monday 14th Seotember.
Your board of trustees have assessed this latest update. We have also stayed very close to our peers and their updates - national organisations such as the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) the Ramblers and Sport England.
Sport England have gained clarity from government and they've advised that from 14 September, people can continue to:
- take part in organised sports and activities
- take part in organised outdoor sports and physical activity events
- use leisure facilities, including gyms and pools
Therefore, we will be making the following changes:
- Day walks (Lowland and Mountain) – no change to current guidelines. Maximum 20 attendees (including the Leader)
- Cycling – no change to current guidelines. Maximum 12 people including the leader.
- Camping events – as this not is a sport, despite the best of intent our leaders, we will need to postpone or cancel events with six or more attendees
- Team and social events - #StayinMore virtual events only
- All other events – as per previous guidelines
This is possible as there is an exemption for such activities in groups of up to thirty, although we are capping it at lower numbers. We know that these larger groups are not for everyone, and that’s fine – there is still very much a place for micro events of six people, and we’d welcome leaders who wish to put on micro events and encourage members to attend them.
In Scotland, from Monday 14th there is also changed guidance, with a maximum number of six people from two households allowed to meet. We’ve not yet been able to determine if there is an exemption for organised activities, and so the assumption for now must be that events will not be able to take place, unfortunately. In Wales, we can run the same events as we can in England (although currently camping also remains feasible!)
It goes without saying that coronavirus is still with us, and we should all continue to take all the precautions including social distancing, regular hand washing, not sharing equipment / food / snacks. Most importantly, leaders and members MUST NOT attend an event if they or anyone they live with or are in a support bubble with, shows any symptoms of Covid-19.
We are, as you are, disappointed with how this all seems to be going backwards. However, as an organisation we have to put the wellbeing of our member and our leaders first.
Although we don’t know when it will be, OutdoorLads WILL, eventually, be back to full capacity – great events, great days out, great weekends away with amazing volunteers making that all happen! We are doing everything we can as an organisation to ensure there is a bright future for OutdoorLads. Next year will be our 15th year as an organisation and charity and we hope in our hearts that we can celebrate that with you all, knowing we got through all of this.
Coronavirus Update - Micro Events - 17th July 2020
Our micro events in England have gone very well so far, and members have asked quite a few questions! Today, we've put together a short FAQ on the four most common questions - so have a watch!
For those of you who like it in writing - the answers are below as well:
Can we have micro events in Scotland now?
The great news is that yes, we can! Scottish micro events will be a maximum of five people from five households. If two people from the same household are on the event, the maximum overall can be lifted to six, and so on, up to an absolute maximum of 15 people from five households.
Why can’t we go to the pub/cafe during or after a micro event?
Unfortunately, the rules in England allow 6 people from up to 6 different households to exercise outside but whilst 6 may go to the pub they can only come from 2 different households. So , sadly, we cannot include the pub on an official OutdoorLads event.
In Wales the guidance is also 2 households only (and we're so far unable to run micro events outdoors.) In Scotland up to 5 households may meet outdoors but just 3 households indoors. We will continue to monitor the situation as government guidance evolves.
I’ve heard that groups of 30 can now meet outdoors, why aren’t OutdoorLads doing so?
This new rule , coming into effect in England and Wales (in Scotland it is initially for children and young people), is aimed specifically at team sports and gym classes. They have to be run under Covid 19 safety guidance agreed with the Government by the individual sports governing body or led by a responsible adult I.e. the gym class instructor. This therefore doesn't cover our activities. We continue to monitor the situation.
We are also in alignment with other organisations, such as The Ramblers, and the BMC who are allowing groups of 6 and no social events ( pubs or cafes) in England.
When can we walk above 500m?
Walks above 500m can now take place, which is great news! Initially these should be of the mountain trail type rather than the more challenging events. Our mountain leaders are working on risk assessments that will be completed before each event. This will enable safe walking micro events in England and Scotland to begin with, and Wales when we're allowed.
Coronavirus Update - 23 June 2020
We wanted to update you with where we are with our organisation’s activities and the impact of coronavirus – and we have some good news.
We have been working on a plan for managing how we get back to the outdoors, which we have all missed terribly over recent months.
We’ve consulted with our volunteer leaders, considered government advice and as a result are today announcing that from Saturday 27 June 2020, we’ll be able to restart some small events again.
We have decided to do this to support the wellbeing of our members, and especially those who have felt particularly isolated during the lockdown. Our Micro events - which is what we are calling them - will operate in line with the government guidance in place at the point the event takes place. That means that initially, these events will be in England only, with group numbers limited to six, including the leader.
Unfortunately, this isn’t simply back to smaller versions of our regular programme of events. It is though, a small, modest way of enabling our members who wish to, to get back outdoors with their OutdoorLads peers in as safe a way as possible. For that reason, to start with these events will be on the “easier” side of things – lowland and hill walks, but not up mountains, and bike rides at the slower, “leisure ride” side.
We had planned, with our leaders support, a programme of over 200 events for when we were back which we were calling “Back with a Bang.” This certainly isn’t that, as it’s become clear as the pandemic continues that there isn’t going to be a date on which it’s all over and normal life resumes. But we still have those “Back with a Bang” events in our back pocket for when the time is right!
We realise that there will be members and leaders who do not wish to participate in OutdoorLads events again yet, and we absolutely respect that. There’s no pressure on anyone to lead or attend any events until and unless they are comfortable doing so, of course.
What we would say is that with numbers restricted for now, if you do choose to sign up, please either attend or if you need to cancel your place , please do so as soon as you know you can’t attend. This will enable others on the waiting list to attend in your place, and means more OutdoorLads will be able to #GetOutMore in the coming weeks,
We’ve provided some further information and guidance for leaders and members on our website.
But for now, we are pleased to be able to support the wellbeing of our members within current government guidelines and to make a small and modest return to running outdoors events for gay, bi and trans men.
Coronavirus Update - 3 June 2020
Today, we've released a video from our Board of Trustees giving an update on the situation with OutdoorLads and coronavirus. It's below, and well worth a watch!
The key messages in it are:
- Our usual events have been postponed, but we have had loads of amazing virtual #StayinMore events put on by our leaders, which is really appreciated.
- BIG Spring Camp 2020 has been postponed until 2021, which we are disappointed about, but feel it's the safest option
- Those who had bought a place on BSC 2020 automatically have a place at the 2021 event!
- We've been busy planning a host of events for when we can put events on again and #GetOutMore again - now's a great time for leaders to plan even more great events!
- A huge thank you for your support during this period to our members, leaders, co-ordinators, who together make up OutdoorLads.
Coronavirus Update - 22 April 2020
The situation with coronavirus generally remains unchanged and OutdoorLads have postponed all events in April, May and June 2020. See the update below, dated 31 March 2020, for more information on events.
However, we are pleased to announce the introduction of a new category of concession membership on a temporary basis for those whose income has been negatively affected by coronavirus.
We know that the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in is having an impact on all of our members, but some more than others. We want all of our members to continue to be engaged with the organisation and so we are introducing, on a temporary basis, a new category of membership for those impacted financially by the coronavirus. This new membership category reduces the immediate financial burden on members whose membership renewal is due soon, but retains all other benefits and features of full membership.
With immediate effect, full members with a membership renewal due in the following two months (and on a rolling basis) can apply for a one year reduction in their membership rate from £65 to £13. This is available to:
- Those who have been furloughed at 80% of their usual salary
- Those who have had hours reduced or a salary cut as a direct result of coronavirus situation.
- Those are self-employed and have been unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus situation.
- Those who have become unemployed as a result of coronavirus
If one of the above circumstances applies to you, and you wish to take advantage of this offer for your membership renewal which is due within the next two months, please e-mail email@example.com to request it, enclosing (where possible) a letter from your employer as evidence (feel free to blank out any salary amounts or other sensitive information, etc.)
We’ll then adjust your direct debit just for the next payment to £13, and confirm this to you. Your direct debit for the following year will revert to the standard membership fee in place at the time, currently £65.
This offer is for a temporary period only, and will cease at an appropriate point in time in the future.
Coronavirus Update - 31 March 2020
Dear OutdoorLads members, volunteers and leaders,
Like most areas of life at the moment, the coronavirus situation is profoundly affecting OutdoorLads. It has not been easy to plan for, in these unprecedented times, and we have been overwhelmed by the support and positivity of our members. You have offered us donations, and you have given up so much of your time to lead or take part in some of our #StayinMore events. Thank you all for your continued support.
What this means for our upcoming events
However, we must take a bit of a reality check on the potential impact this will have on OutdoorLads, and what it will mean for our short- and long-term future.
Last week, we were in touch with you to inform you that we were postponing three weeks worth of events to allow us time to consider various scenarios. It is now clear we cannot run events for at least the next few weeks, and as the situation is ever-changing, we have taken the decision now to postpone ALL events in April, May and June.
We hope that this will remove any uncertainty for our members tentatively still looking forward to their next weekend away or day event with us. Where overnight events are being postponed, we're working with our external providers to provide alternative dates, and we'll release these as soon as we know ourselves.
While we may be postponing events now, if things change, we are both flexible and dynamic. We're developing a whole program of events to roll out as soon as we can be released into the outdoors. We're so grateful to our event leaders who've displayed such enthusiasm in this process.
Big Spring Camp
We're also looking at alternative options for BIG Spring Camp. This is the greatest event in our calendar, and is one big celebration of all things OutdoorLads. As soon as we have confirmation of when this will be, we'll get it released. In the meantime, we suggest that you refrain from cancelling your attendance on the event to ensure your place is reserved - and instead wait to see if you can make the new date.
How you can help
With our usual activities affected so severely, we're going to struggle over the next few months as an organisation. We want to continue to be here for you, our members, and there are many ways you can help us get through this:
- Donating to our page.
- Waiting for postponed events to be rescheduled and see if you can make the new date.
- If you're due a refund, accepting this as a voucher off a future event rather than in cash.
- Donating any cancelled event payments back to the charity, if you can afford it.
- Continuing to renew your membership if it's due.
- Nominating OutdoorLads as your chosen charity on Amazon Smile.
- Leading a #StayInMore event to help keep members engaged and entertained! (you don't need to be a leader to do this!)
- If you are a leader - planning new outdoors events for later in the year when we can all #GetOutMore again.
- Most importantly - staying safe at home whenever possible!
Again, we would like to say a massive THANK YOU to all those who've led a #StayInMore event. We're so grateful for the effort you have gone through to come up with innovative ways to keep us all entertained while we're all isolated from one another. We have shown that OutdoorLads really is a community of friends with a love of the outdoors and being together (even if just virtually).
#stayinmore (for now....)
The full and current NHS guidance can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
This page will be updated periodically.