The Orienteering Foundation


The Orienteering Foundation is a charity established in 2006. It was established partly with money left in a bequest to British Orienteering by Bertie and Elsie Ward. The bequest was made specifically for the enhancement of junior orienteering including events, trips and tours.

The remit of the O Foundation as whole is that, in the future, the trustees can distribute the charity’s income

  • Providing facilities, access and opportunities within the community to encourage and promote orienteering
  • Providing capital and revenue support to increase and sustain participation in orienteering
  • Strengthening the links between orienteering and the community.

Peter Christopher, Chairman of Trustees for the Orienteering Foundation, has given the following update on the foundation’s current activities:

Now that funds are beginning to build up again thanks to the generosity of members of the orienteering world, the O Foundation has been able, once again, to make some grants over the last year.  The trustees extend their thanks to all benefactors.

Early in the year the Scottish Schools Squad was helped with a grant to attend the World Schools’ Event in Italy where some most successful individual and team results were achieved and the squad greatly enjoyed the social and cultural events.

A little later in the year the Ward Junior Home International was held in Northern Ireland and the O Foundation received this kind response from the organisers, Fermanagh Orienteers, explaining how the local community had been involved.

“The teams came together on the Saturday evening for a meal followed by the prize giving.  The individual map (event) was sited at the local Marble Arch Global Geopark and the manager presented the prizes.  This was followed by a ceilidh.  On Sunday the relay prizes were presented by the manager of the Brownacre Leisure Centre.  The facilities of the centre were available to competitors for changing and showers.  Each competitor received a micro-towel as a keepsake of the event (and hopefully a useful item to have in the kit bag).  A grant for prizes, towels and ceilidh was awarded by the O Foundation which enhanced the event.”

Enhancement of events is one area for which the O Foundation awards grants.  The other two main areas are to alleviate hardship and to encourage innovation.  The trustees also hope to encourage orienteers to develop their skills and this was the main value of the Welsh Squad training tour to Sweden.  A report from the squad stated: "We took two lead coaches, five parents, four young ‘control hangers’ and eighteen juniors (aged 14-18).  Our potential GB squad and newer juniors gained invaluable experience in difficult terrain.  The control hangers (aged 19-23) were invaluable and personally gained valuable experience.  We firmly believe in trying to keep our ex-squaddies involved so that they may be able to take over from us in years to come.  The parents, as always, were wonderful as drivers, cooks, map markers and shadowers.  Such an experience is expensive and WJS wish to thank the O Foundation for its support.”

The O Foundation is mindful of the need to keep young adults in the sport and was heartened by the WJS approach which is an example of work done by many other squads and clubs.  Innovative approaches to developing continuing participation for this age group is essential for the future health of orienteering.  The O Foundation would be pleased to learn of new ideas.

A grant was also set aside to help underwrite the Peter Palmer Relays but was generously declined when the event broke even financially.  Well done the organisers.

The trustees make grants to further access and opportunities for orienteering and to promote orienteering within the community.  The three broad principles governing grants are stated above.  However should a donor have a particular interest, donations can be ‘ring fenced’ to encourage a particular activity which the Trustees deem to be within the general guidelines.  Several categories have already been identified and supported:

  • for junior and young senior orienteering
  • mapping
  • support for coaches to gain experience
  • orienteering for disabled people

If you wish to help support the future of orienteering perhaps you would consider making a donation to the O Foundation.

Further information can be obtained from Viv Macdonald, the Orienteering Foundation administrator, who can be reached via British Orienteering who will be able to put you in contact with a Trustee near you.

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