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Outdoor Learning Association Project

Exploring the development of a new combined organisation


Outdoor Learning Association Project


Outdoor Learning Association (OLA) Update 31/08/2022


Outdoor Learning Association Project Update




Transformation Group position statement 13 September 2019


The Association for Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC), British Activity Providers Association (BAPA), Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL), and the Outdoor Council (OC) are supportive of and committed to exploring the development of a new combined organisation to represent the interests of the outdoor learning and adventure activities sector across the UK. The interim working title for the project's Transformation Group, representative of the organisations outlined above, will be 'UK Outdoors'.

These organisations recognise that positive collaboration and join up within the UK outdoor sector is desirable in order to maximise the future credibility and impact of outdoor learning in our society and on decision makers within government. The creation of 'UK Outdoors' would pull together significant expertise to create a consistent and powerful voice. 'UK Outdoors' would become a 'go to' organisation for the latest research, standards, guidance, campaigns, good practice and leadership, for the providers and users of organised activity in the outdoors and in wider settings.

In order to work in a more impactful and effective way, AHOEC, BAPA, IOL & OC, support the move to align our smaller organisations and enable a potential transition to one strong, well-recognised, respected and understood outdoor learning brand. We believe this would benefit our members, partners and those organisations and individuals we seek to work with, as well as simplifying our sector for organisations with an interest in funding developments in the outdoors.

We believe that UK Outdoors could provide:

  • A genuine UK-wide organisation for all in the sector
  • One recognisable body for funding into our sector
  • A bigger and more robust lobbying voice
  • One central body for inspection and accreditation
  • One home for: development of standards and guidance, curation of research, support for projects and workforce development
  • Membership benefits of all organisations and individual members, for one fee
  • Enhanced value and quality of service for members
  • More effective administration and communication
  • Events and conferences providing: regional networking, CPD and support for all members without replication, national sharing of best practice, influence and shaping of strategy and a clearer view into the sector for outside individuals and bodies
UK Outdoors Position Statement


AHOEC, BAPA, IOL & OC recognise that each offers unique benefits and a valuable service for existing members. There is a commitment from all our organisations that these benefits would be retained under UK Outdoors.

UK Outdoors welcomes any financial contribution from organisations within the outdoor learning sector to assist us with moving this project forwards. Please email to discuss.


Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres


AHOEC Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres

Membership of the association includes managers of multi activity centres, sometimes in urban areas and Centres equipped for those with special needs.

The aims of the Centres are to foster greater confidence and regard for others through a series of adventurous challenges requiring co-operation set in the outdoors.

British Activity Providers Association Ltd


BAPA British Activity Providers Association Ltd

The British Activity Providers Association is a trade body representing providers of adventure courses, activity holidays, summer camps and day camps. Member centres have all agreed to abide by the BAPA Code of Practice and are subject to regular inspection. The BAPA scheme was the first to be assessed and approved by the Adventure Activities Industry Advisory Committee as meeting the inspection standards required to recommend member centres for Adventuremark and the LOtC Quality Badge. BAPA is also a member of SkillsActive and has taken a lead role in developing initial training standards for new activity centre staff.

The Outdoor Council


OC Outdoor Council

The Outdoor Council is a forum of the principal representative organisations operating in the field of outdoor learning, training and recreation. Its role is to carry out those lobbying, influencing and representational roles on behalf of the outdoor sector that are more effectively dealt with by an umbrella body than by individual organisations.



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