This much we know
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This much we know

Nick Barrett, Chief Executive

A couple of months ago, we all glimpsed a small wave far away on the distant horizon. Little did any of us know that it would turn into a tsunami that has engulfed the entire globe with extraordinary speed.

This much we know: This tide will turn

Together we’re facing the unknown in this extraordinary period in history, and we’re not sure what will happen.

This much we know: We all have the power to determine our future

This is what we have taught young people day in and day out since 1941 and it stands today. On an Outward Bound course young people do things that aren’t their norm. They learn about their own resilience and the power of good teamwork as they set up camp in a storm or fight their way through a water filled gorge. And by working together they reach the top of a mountain. Those reflection sessions when they talk about what they’ve learnt and how they can apply these behaviours in real life have never been more important.

Because now we are all doing it for real. The way we bring these values to life in 2020 is critical. Heroism, sacrifice, kindness and nobility rarely lie in dramatic gestures. They are to be found in everyday actions – being patient, doing your bit not to spread the virus, looking out for those who are lonely or vulnerable and adopting a positive mind-set. And above all, compassion. We can all be a little more kind.

This much we know: Together we are Outward Bound

Right now, we’re all living in a state of disruption. No life is untouched and I want to thank every young person, teacher, employer and donor who are so generously bearing with us as we work through the complications of postponing programmes.

Everyone at Outward Bound is determined that we will be there at the other side of this to support young people. The challenges that young people face will not have disappeared but will have been made worse by this pandemic. And the need for the values of Outward Bound; for space, freedom, adventure and fresh air will be there.

In the months to come we must all dig deep and remember the force that drives us to achieve our goals. For now, I take strength in knowing that skills learnt at Outward Bound are giving millions of young people across the world the ability to step up to the very real challenge we face now. As we look to the changing future our young leaders will be ready to embrace a new world, one in which we’ll all use technology more effectively, will appreciate the simplicity of face to face contact and have hopefully developed new habits which are better for our planet.

On behalf of everyone at Outward Bound, I want to send you and your loved ones our very best wishes. We wish you the strength and forbearance to overcome whatever challenges you might be facing.

Stay safe.

27 March 2020


There’s no doubt, as a charity COVID-19 will have a significant impact on Outward Bound. Many of you have asked how to help, and on this occasion it’s to make a donation to support young people attend Outward Bound in the future.


Being young has never been easy. Maybe now more than ever. In the past week, we’ve drawn strength from the words of our co-founder and the experience of young people who’ve been to Outward Bound.