Connecting Communities Through Nature

Yorkshire nature pioneers move to beautiful new home and secure funding to deliver new environmental hub
Paul Drury-Brady
May 10, 2024

An inspiring and innovative nature and outdoors organisation is celebrating on two fronts after securing major funding from the National Lottery and picking up the keys for a beautiful new premises in West Yorkshire.

Get Out More CIC is a dynamic social enterprise that runs outdoor programmes, including forest schools, wellbeing and community engagement programmes. The sessions are delivered for people of all ages in Keighley, Bradford and around the North of England.

Earlier this month the team picked up keys for a new office and community space at Cliffe Castle’s Gate House, a historical grade 2 listing building within the stunning showcase park, enabling Get Out More to start a new chapter in the organisation's growth.

Using nature to bring people together: The Get Out More team are confident that the new facilities will help them to advance their mission of using nature to bring people together and improve wellbeing, communities, employability and the environment. Annie Berrington, the founder of Get Out More and its Managing Director, explained: “Our new premises are in such a stunning parkland location that really changes with the seasons - it makes so much sense for our business and creative growth. It really feels like we are coming home and we are now ready to write the next chapter of our story. And it is so exciting to be working with Bradford Council, Cliffe Castle and the Cliffe Castle Support group in new nature-focused ways over the coming years.”

An inclusive and targeted approach: “This office move, the new facilities it offers and big funding win means we are ideally placed to take major steps forward in ensuring our activities are truly targeted at those at most risk of poor mental and physical health including people affected by disadvantage, social isolation and disability,” Annie added. Reinvesting in the community is central to Get Out More’s work. The organisation is a Community Interest Company, which means a business with social and environmental aims that reinvests any profits back into the communities in which they work. The organisation currently uses any profits to offer free sessions in disadvantaged areas in West Yorkshire and supports local woodland conservation projects through volunteering and donations.

Community-led development: The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded Get Out More £300,698 as part of a three-year funding programme from the Reaching Communities Fund. The fund will support a new ‘Keighley Green Community Hub’ that will support local people to learn new skills, combat loneliness and feel more connected to their community. The National Lottery funded work will mean Get Out More working more closely with the community to shape the organisation’s future direction and will enable a more holistic and community-led approach to its development.

Using nature to build pride: Annie added: “The funding for this project is arriving at the perfect time. We know from our previous projects that our work is not just about nature: getting outside into nature increases employability, gives people access to green spaces and improves mental health which develops resilience.“We want to use nature and outdoor skills to make people feel proud of where they live - this is one of the best ways to improve aspirations for themselves and their community.”

Strengthening community cohesion in Yorkshire: Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Portfolio Holder for Museums and Galleries at Bradford Council, welcomed the news and said: “We are delighted that Get Out More can continue their amazing work here in Keighley, Bradford and around the north - I can’t wait to visit their new premises in the stunning Cliffe Castle Park. Their exciting outdoors work here will mean green spaces are more widely used and valued by our local communities in the long term.

“This new funding is testament to their great skill, fantastic expertise in nature, and professionalism in delivery. We know they are going to a committed and talented asset for West Yorkshire - the whole region will benefit from their energy and hard work.”

Happier and healthier lives: The funding has been secured through The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Joe Dobson, Head of Regional Funding, Yorkshire and Humber, said: “We are committed to distributing at least £4billion in National Lottery funding to UK communities by 2030, and using it to strengthen society and improve lives.

“Feeling part of a supportive community is key to unlocking the potential of individuals and supporting happier and healthier lives, and it’s great to see that reflected in the work of Get Out More in West Yorkshire. Thanks to National Lottery players, people will have more opportunities to connect with others, enjoy the vital social connections that being part of a community brings, and work to together create meaningful change.”

To learn more about Get Out More and their work CLICK HERE