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Freelance Professionals Cooperative

Networking, guidance, mentoring, support and representation

A unified sector voice on issues that affect freelancers working in outdoor learning


Following a series of webinars through the Spring 2020 a core group of people joined together eager for a unified sector voice on issues that affect freelancers working in outdoor learning.


Hosted within the IOL membership structure, the cooperative of Freelance Outdoor Learning Professionals is specifically for self-employed & micro-businesses who are providing both clients facing and B2B contract services in the outdoor sector, i.e. freelancers.



To provide professional networking, guidance, mentoring, support and representation for the Freelance Outdoor Learning Community.

Be the home for outdoor learning freelancers who are seeking to be clearly defined as providers of high-quality outdoor learning and experiences, reflective and accredited. Enhancing their reputation with alignment to a professional bodies code of conduct, a set of professional membership standards and accreditations.

A Freelance Charter

A first target will be to create a Freelance Charter – a voluntary adoption document that sets out minimum expectations on both sides in a contracting for work arrangement. Working with employers to negotiate and agree the details, the Charter will be a starting point when setting contractual terms and conditions of work that are clear, transparent, and fair to both parties.


Read this article - Unifying Voices
Click image to read or download this article


Self-employed & microbusinesses providing both clients facing and B2B contract services in the outdoor sector are welcome to join the group. Membership would be not limited by activity but defined by method of service provision to ensure it encompasses the huge variety of professional freelancers operating in the sector

"A simple definition is, a freelancer is one that is available for hire."

Membership of the freelance professionals co-operative is open to all who work in one or more of these ways:

Direct with clients - working with their own booking systems, insurance, safety systems, emergency procedures, etc.

Contracted - providing outdoor learning services, advice or consultancy on a short-term or fixed-duration basis to another business.

Employed - leading occasional or ad-hoc outdoor learning sessions or programmes on an employed basis for a number of organisations.

Members might work in any area of outdoor learning, including adventure sports, environmental education, field studies, health and wellbeing, youth work, adventure tourism and expeditions.


Members will lead, shape and direct the activity of the freelance cooperative. Our starting aims are for:

Advocacy: Provide a unified sector voice on issues that affect freelancers within the sector.

Specialist Advice: Seek partnerships with existing IOL partners and other providers for delivery of business support specific advice and services. E.g. Insurance Liability Cover

Education & Development: Provide signposting and support for freelancers in running their business safely, effectively and incompliance with UK law. This may include:

  • Company Structures
  • Corporation / Income Taxes, IR35 compliance, National Insurance
  • Cash Flow and Seasonality, Tax planning Insurance
  • Legal obligations - GDPR / Safeguarding Rights & Responsibilities
  • Contracts – terms and conditions Working Conditions
  • Employing others
  • Dissemination of good practice
  • Marketing, promotions and business development
  • Arbitration
  • Rates of Pay
  • Debt Recovery
  • Funding and Grants
  • Personal Learning and Development

Mentoring: Provide business mentoring for members who are looking to set up their own businesses and services from established IOL coaches and business leaders.

Join the Freelance Professionals Cooperative

  1. Many events and resources are open to all freelancers within the sector. Check this page regularly to see what is coming-up or “sign-up” to the IOL e-newsletters and receive 3 months free.
  2. To receive regular emails and access all the freelance and micro-business networking opportunities and support from IOL, including professional recognition and listing on the recognised professionals map, you will need to be a member of IOL.


  Join Now



Join the next webinar

IOL Freelance Cooperative

Chair: Stuart Meese

Steering Group - Information

Contact IOL to offer your support.

IOL Link: Neal Anderson



Supporting Organisations

If your organisation would like to be involved and actively support this project please get in touch.


Warwick Mill Business Centre, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA4 8RR

+44 (0)1228 564580



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