COVID-safe at Outward Bound


Further to the Government's latest living with Covid guidance, we have reviewed and adapted our practice and what this means for Outward Bound and young people we work with.

The challenges that young people face have not disappeared during this pandemic and will have been made worse. That's why we're working hard to operate as safely as possible during these uncertain times.

We remain committed to minimising the risk of spreading the virus and are putting in all possible measures so we can work with young people.

We respectfully ask that you continue to work with us to ensure that everyone remains safe.

This page explains how we have adapted and will continue to do so, to carry out our work in a safe and appropriate way.

Medical considerations
Government policy and guidance

Our people

Our adventures

Our centres

More information

Medical considerations

  • Any young people displaying symptoms of COVID-19, will be isolated and cared for, we would welcome that person to then offer to take a Lateral Flow Test for the safety of all at the centre, however we appreciate this is optional.
  • Staff are trained to monitor their own health and symptoms and will inform us immediately of any changes.
  • Should a young person become unwell, our usual procedure of a swift response and escalation where necessary will be put into practice, including wearing face masks if deemed appropriate.
  • We will work with local healthcare facilities should the need arise.
  • In all centres, face coverings remain optional.


Our highly experienced and skilled staff are at the centre of an Outward Bound experience. Through ongoing training and guidance, we will ensure that our staff:

  • Have a clear understanding of all new practice and procedures that we have put in place
  • Are confident in how an Outward Bound programme can be delivered safely and responsibly
  • Are given continuous updates and changes to practice as we follow guidance issued
  • Receive additional training where required in respect of young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Our Adventures

Combining adventurous and challenging experiences in the natural environment with individual development and learning is what we always work hard to achieve. This is what makes us unique and different from other residential experiences. We aim to continue to do this whilst keeping young people safe.

  • All our programmes will continue to be as adventurous as possible and immerse young people in the wild from the moment they arrive
  • Thanks to our locations, we will ensure we are in the outdoors as much as possible (it is well noted that the risk of transmission is lowest outside)
  • We will focus on adventures that involve journeys or time spend in the outdoors which naturally allows for social distancing
  • Where close contact is necessary we have adapted our practices to increase distancing
  • We will provide more opportunity for managed self-led activity
  • We will continue to give young people specific time for reflection and deep immersion in nature, which are already embedded into Outward Bound programmes
  • We will continue to make the most of our unique locations and use activities that take place from our doorstep, meaning there is even less reliance on travelling in minibuses
  • Community living will continue to be an important part of our courses, but managed in an appropriate way

Handwashing and hygiene

  • Handwashing will be built into a formal part of the daily routine with handwashing stations clearly marked and readily available throughout the day
  • We will continually remind young people to wash their hands and think about their contact with others


From our review of the guidance, expeditions will be one of the safest and most appropriate forms of adventure while social distancing is still in place. This is because these take place outside where the risk of transmission is lower, there is space to distance easily and tents provide clearly separated living and sleeping options. Wherever possible, our programmes will incorporate expedition elements and for those who prefer, we can consider a full expedition programme.


  • We will continue to focus on developing rapport, building and understanding the needs of the whole group and each individual young person
  • We will ensure we consider mental health and wider wellbeing needs of young people and respond appropriately
  • We will allow more time for personal reflection for all young people
  • Have less intensity on focussed outcomes and more on ‘letting young people be young people’
  • We will have a specific focus on hygiene, duties, tidiness and personal responsibility
  • We will help young people learn independent living skills

Non Residential Delivery

When we are working in schools / organisations own places to deliver an Outward Bound experience, we will:

  • Continue to work outside as much as possible
  • Restrict public access to any outdoor area used (where appropriate)
  • Follow all of the schools / organisations own guidance.

Our centres

Our centres are vital in helping us deliver our programmes and we have been considering carefully how we manage our spaces. Below is an outline of how we will manage the outdoor places directly surrounding our buildings and our residential setting.

  • All our centres are in wild places with lots of space outside surrounding them, so we will use outside spaces as much as possible to help young people and staff to move around and reduce the risk of transmission
  • We will have a more controlled and facilitated approach to living in an Outward Bound centre

More information

We hope this provides you, your colleagues, parents and young people with the reassurance of the changes we are making at Outward Bound.

Full COVID-19 risk assessments have been carried out as part of our process of developing this document and are available on request.