Be inspired by the British Orienteering

Jennie Taylor, Communications Officer at British Orienteering, answer how they worked with WOD 2018 and her thoughts for WOD 2019.

What kind of target did you have with World Orienteering Day 2018 in the UK?

I didn’t set a target as such but as an organisation we did want to encourage as many schools, clubs and community groups to take part and use the whole week as an awareness and profile-raising opportunity for the sport of orienteering.

What did you do to receive the target? What kind of strategy did you implement?

In 2018 British Orienteering featured a national PR campaign to encourage and celebrate orienteering activities on World Orienteering Day.  I did a range of coordination work as well as the communication to clubs encouraging them to deliver World Orienteering Day activities. As an international campaign World Orienteering Day is something that our clubs and volunteers want to support.

Did you receive your target, or did it become better than expected?

Yes, the third World Orienteering Day in 2018 proved to be a great success!  There was a great take-up by clubs and schools to organise events and activities throughout the week.  I received some great feedback from our clubs about some of the orienteering events and activities they had put on to contribute to the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) overall participation targets.”

Here is a brief snapshot of some of the comments I received from some of our orienteering clubs who took part in World Orienteering Day/Week across the UK last year (2018).

  • Lagan Valley Orienteers (Northern Ireland):
    “Almost 100 runners of all ages and levels of expertise took part in The Lagan Valley Orienteers Wednesday Evening Event in the Stormont Estate on World Orienteering Day on 23 May 2018. The weather was beautiful, and a great time was had by all.”
  • Bristol Orienteering Klub (South West, England):
    “To celebrate World Orienteering Day, more than 350 local school children joined Bristol Orienteering Klub at Oldbury Court for coaching and running in the glorious sunshine. We look forward to making it even better next year and introducing a whole new group of young people to our exciting sport.”
  • Octavian Droobers Orienteering Club (West Midlands, England):
    “Octavian Droobers had a most successful event at Kenilworth, in Abbey Fields Park and around the town. 113 participants plus many friends and families had a great time and organisers, with lots of help from club members, were very pleased with the number of newcomers especially juniors running on the 5 courses.”
  • Tinto Orienteering Club (Scotland):
    Free to enter the event had 4 short courses around the park and was attended by about 50 mostly Brownies and Beavers in groups of 3 or 4. A lovely sunny evening was enjoyed by all and many did all four courses on offer getting more proficient as time went by. Three club members also competed at the Scottish Championships on May 26 & 27.”
  • Airienteers (Yorkshire and Humberside, England):
    “We organised a three-course event: Sprint, Orange and Yellow courses. 32 people attended the event of varying ages and abilities.”
  • Eryri Orienteering Club (Wales):
    “We ran two events, one ‘closed’ and another ‘open’. Wednesday 23 May 2018, as part of a training event for local school-based cadets, we ran a 13-checkpoint score event on a local military training area (Kinmel Park Training Area), for 28 young people as an introduction to competitive navigation.  Thursday 24 May 2018, as part of the club’s summer series, 33 runners took to Llyn Padarn near Llanberis, for a 22-checkpoint score event.”
  • East Pennine Orienteering Club (Yorkshire and Humberside, England):
    “On World Orienteering Day it was orienteering as usual at Manor Road Junior, Infant and Nursery School, Golcar, Huddersfield, except that we invited grown-ups in to have a go with their children. In total over 130 children and 30 adults had a go at “counting cones” and 11 different short courses around the wonderful grounds.”
  • Wrekin Orienteers (West Midlands, England):
    “We used World Orienteering Day to publicise our Summer Series Urban race.  This resulted in a radio feature.  We had contacts from three new schools.  39 people came to the event.  Now that World Orienteering Day is a week-long event, we can use it more effectively and will plan for next years to be bigger and better.  Thanks to IOF and WOD.”
  • Edinburgh Southern and Interlopers Orienteering Clubs (Scotland):
    “We held two schools festivals for Primary 4-7 children, with 5 schools attending in the morning and 3 after lunch. We were aware that there were several pupils with limited mobility, as well as one with special vision needs, so we adapted our score course to ensure that a number of the controls were accessible by wheelchair.”
  • South Ribble Orienteering Club (North West, England):
    “Our club organised a score event for the local sports partnership. (Lancaster and Heysham). It is an annual event and serves as a qualifier for the Lancashire School Games. We had 20 schools take part and a total of 180 children enjoyed the event. Each participant received a certificate which included the WOD logo. During the briefing, it was pointed out they were part of a worldwide event.”

What kind of promotion did you do?

Initially I communicated the dates of the World Orienteering Day/Week campaign on the British Orienteering website and sent an email communication to all clubs asking them to “save the date!”  I coordinated a range of website news items to promote WOD with clubs, provided various resources for our clubs to use such as a press release template for them to send out to their local and regional press, suggested social media postings and banners, as well as various emails to prompt the registering of their events and activities on the IOF World Map.  I increased communications with our clubs to encourage momentum to generate postings/photos of activities on social media on the run up to and on the day.  I also promoted all the resources provided on the WOD website.

At the end of the week, I published a “thank you message” to all who had taken part and helped contribute with putting on orienteering events and activities during the week.  I then worked with all clubs and schools who had taken part and collated an overall snapshot of UK activity with a “thank you” quote from Göran Andersson, IOF Project Coordinator for World Orienteering Day.  Working with IOF to promote our UK activity and involvement world-wide on their e-newsletter was great for British Orienteering.

Did you have any partners to carry out WOD?

Yes, we engaged with all our partners to help spread the World Orienteering Day message on their websites and on their social media platforms.

We worked with another of our partners Bishop Sports who helped us by rolling out an email campaign to all of their school contacts with the promotion of our ‘Xplorer Schools’ product and orienteering equipment schools could purchase from their website to take part in orienteering. This provided a great way for us to reach all primary schools in the UK and make them aware of World Orienteering Day and encourage them to take part by ways and activities in how they could get involved. Take up was good and I was delighted to see many schools register their activities on the World Map on the IOF website.

Did you have any financial support?

We had no financial support or budget to put towards our activities and relied very heavily on the support from our partners and clubs in putting on events and activities.  We are thankful, though, to receive funding from Sport England and Sport Northern Ireland which fund my role and the rest of the development team in England and Northern Ireland which make this coordination work feasible.  I communicated widely with our Club Publicity Officers and Club Fixture Secretaries who were very proactive.

Is WOD a great tool to develop orienteering in UK? If so, please tell me how!

I think as an international campaign with a fixed date World Orienteering Day / Week gives a point in the calendar around which effort can be focused on development and raising the profile of the sport of orienteering within the UK.  The resources that are made available to download from the World Orienteering Day website have proved very useful. World Orienteering is a great way to celebrate the sport of orienteering – and presents a great opportunity for local clubs and schools to be part of a world-wide initiative.

What is your plan for 2019?

In 2019, British Orienteering will repeat our PR campaign and encouraging initiatives with schools and our clubs with the aim of generating excitement and a large-scale impact in the number of people participating in the sport during World Orienteering Week.  We will be again working with our partners to help support us on delivery and targeting schools and community groups.  I will also be working hard on getting external national publicity and promoting our events through our own website with links to the World Map on the IOF website.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all clubs, schools and community groups in the UK who took part in World Orienteering Day last year.” 

“British Orienteering is looking forward to help support the International Orienteering Federation achieve their participation targets and will be promoting World Orienteering Day / Week again this year.

Save the dates! 15 – 21 May 2019.  How are you planning on getting involved this year?