SOA receives Rural Inspiration Awards nomination

Scottish Orienteering has been nominated for the European Network for Rural Development ‘Rural Inspiration Awards’ for the Community Orienteering and Protection of the Environment (COPE) project managed over the past two years by Sarah Dunn, funded by Cairngorm LEADER.

Sarah has worked with communities and schools to offer a legacy to the Scottish 6 Day festival (2017) and British Championships (2018) providing introductory activities to developing orienteering skills and participation in the local communities. A key part of the COPE project was to introducing people to a recreation that has environmental appreciation at its core with a view to increase protection and enhancement of the national park. A principal aim of the project was to facilitate opportunities for participation in orienteering in upper Deeside and neighbouring areas of the Cairngorm National Park and to leave a legacy of expertise that can continue to educate others into the future.

Funding for the COPE project which saw Sarah work on a part time project officer position was secured by Cairngorm LEADER.

Some of the key outcomes of the project include:

  • Mapping of three small new areas close to Braemar, Crathie and Strathdon schools was commissioned through the project and in addition the project officer updated maps of 5 school playgrounds and produced a new map of the Braemar Games park.
  • Several opportunities were facilitated for teachers and other leaders to obtain basic training in introducing orienteering to a school playground setting. Further training was provided in using Purple Pen software and taking orienteering beyond the playground.
  • Taster sessions were held in each of the five primary schools within the area. These were targeted at the P5-7 age group. Following on from this was a successful 4week after-school block of sessions offered in Braemar and Ballater. Pupils from the catchment subsequently took part in the Scottish Schools event for the first time and also participated in the British Championships at Balmoral Castle in May.
  • For younger children the project worked with Outdoor Woodland Learning School (OWLS) to deliver a series of sessions both in school time and also linked to other orienteering activities out-with school. The OWLS sessions enabled the children to engage in a positive, challenging and exciting way with woodlands and initiated learning of sustainability and environmental issues.
  • All of the schools were also invited to participate in a schools festival organised in conjunction with Active Schools. The festival was held near Ballater in 2017 and in Braemar in 2018, with both attended by ~30-40 children from Upper Deeside.
  • A key partnership in the project involved working with NTS at Mar Lodge to develop and install a new permanent orienteering course at Linn of Dee.

Congratulations to Sarah on recognition of her work on the COPE project. A significant amount has been achieved to develop links with MAROC and orienteering opportunities in Upper Deeside and it is great to hear of the nomination for the ‘Rural Inspiration Awards’ on conclusion of the project.