Two of NZ's largest outdoor adventure institutions hit hard by Covid-19

Two of our largest outdoor adventure institutions are being hit hard by Covid-19.

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Outward Bound and Hillary Outdoors have put out emergency appeals for funding in order to survive. Source: 1 NEWS

Outward Bound and Hillary Outdoors have put out emergency appeals to the public for funding in order to survive and continue programmes the companies say are needed more than ever.

Outward Bound, which has been running in Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds for nearly 60 years, has been forced to close for at least the next four months.

School director Simon Graney says they recognised “that apart from the lockdown, under alert levels two, three and four, its very difficult to run any kind of outdoor education programme”.

At least a third of Outward Bound’s annual revenue has disappeared and it's not the only outdoor education centre in crisis.

Hillary Outdoors, known for action-packed school camps and competitions, is also calling on the public for urgent help.

Trust Chairman Mark Copeland says the situation has “put our very existence at threat because not many organisations can survive an indefinite period of zero income which is what we're facing”.

Both organisations have received the Government wage subsidy but say its not enough to cover ongoing costs, let alone retain highly skilled staff in the long-term.

Simon Graney says it takes at least a year to train up an Outward Bound instructor to being fully independent and capable.

It's estimated they need at least half a million dollars each to stay afloat.

Hillary Outdoors Founder Graeme Dingle says the irony is “that the country has never needed these centres more than it needs them right now”.

Mr Graney agrees and has heard stories since the lockdown from past students who have said the skills they gained on an Outward Bound course have been critical to their wellbeing at the moment.

“So, those key course objectives of resilience, compassion for others, responsibility to look out for others... those are skills that are really important right now," he said.