COVID-safe at Outward Bound

COVID-SAFE AT OUTWARD BOUND

We are continually monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and what this means for Outward Bound.

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

To do this, we have carefully considered the number of young people we can safely have in and around our centres, and how we focus our programmes to make the most of the outdoors and large spaces we have access to.

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

Welfare
Government policy and guidance

Our people

Our adventures

Our centres

More information

OUR PEOPLE

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
  • If young people wish to wear masks this will be permitted, but not enforced

Expeditions

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.

Learning

  • 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

We are now working in schools / organisations own places to deliver an Outward Bound experience. Where we are doing this work 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, such as one way systems and schedules for using common places
  • We will use outdoor space for socialising and mealtimes where appropriate
  • Where outside mealtimes are not possible, we will have staggered mealtimes so that the number eating at the same time is reduced. Our dining tables will be set up to follow social distancing guidelines
  • We will follow guidelines with respect to dormitory capacity
  • We will restrict movement and flow around the centres, using dedicated channels of movement to maximise distancing
  • Where appropriate we will create small ‘bubbles’ of young people in key areas of buildings. For example, the same young people will eat together and sleep in the same parts of the building together

Medical considerations

  • We will screen all participants and visitors on arrival for COVID-19 by using a questionnaire to assess if they have symptoms
  • Anyone displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how small will be immediately isolated and cared for
  • Any staff or other young people relating to any individual showing COVID-19 symptoms will also be isolated
  • Staff will be trained to monitor their own health and symptoms and 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, wearing face masks may be required
  • We will work with the excellent local healthcare facilities should the need arise
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 to confidently bring young people back to our centres.

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