L4L2018 - Steve Evison, Director, Nearly Wild Exploration - Building and engaging with an online community
Help to make better connections between people and the natural world.
Bringing together and promoting all the good things that are already happening.
Making it easier for :
The Providers and Enablers
By facilitating common shared spaces, not ‘owned’ by any organisation
“Building nature back into our lives”
Our approach towards this
To create a long term, tangible link between local business,
community organisations and other who provide a service.
The visitors and urban public who could / do use the service /
So the visitor can find more, do more and gain more choosing
their level of journey and how far from home
The providers can maintain their market and therefore what
• Grant reliance, with no legacy and income to sustain ‘good stuff’ “great projects,
but there is no join up and they don’t last”
• Language of the provides not the public. “I don’t know where to start”
• Split across numerous organisations. “How do you know which website?”
• Split urban to rural. “Visitors say we are great, but we can’t sustain our market”
• Public knowledge – very low confidence – need easy steps that last long term. “I
am a bit unsure where to start, what I am allowed to do”
• Behaviour change – refer to the public, what about the organisations?
• Transport. “I don’t have a car, many Londoners don’t, how do I get there?”
• No clear link for people to make intellectual, spiritual or physical journey from
daily life to the countryside and wild “I used to go to the countryside years ago,
but I don’t really know much about it now so I stay here”.
• Need to build into way people live their lives, not just projects. “What happens
when the funding ends? Will they get another grant?”
• Don’t change what works and those you are engaging well
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
Those you don’t reach, go to them
Go to the people. Live among them. Learn from them. Plan with them.
Work with them. Start with what they know. Build on what they have
Lao Tsu, China, 700 BC
• When is doesn’t work, don’t keep doing same thing!
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different
Portal creates HUB to support Explorer Journey
• Starts where they are – as basic as they want, as
near home as they need.
• Builds into daily life (working day, short
weekends, quick breaks, holiday)
• Help find providers and explorers near and far
on their terms / level
• Framed in the language of the ‘seeker’ (explorer)
not the provider
• As explorers start to make ‘journeys’, helps them
find you and those you work with
Where it starts…
Nearly Wild Camping experience – brings together ‘buyer’ and ‘seller’
Initial approx £10k grant.
Also private loan of £3k (now re-paid)
Now fully self funded
Now approx. 60 locations, 700 members (many of these are family so is actually
4 people), numerous camp nights
Part time work, student placement for year, volunteers, business supporters,
Work with and through partners
So we are using the same model but,
bigger loan, no grant and more time!
• Developing an online portal
• Business model – financially self sustaining
• Not owned by any sector or organisation.
• Then develop other supportive services to the
‘internal market’ this creates
• Develops with the users and so is informed and
influenced them all along so ‘speaks their language’
• Provides a legacy vehicle
• Builds links and breaks boundaries - Urban, town,
rural link through mix & breadth of providers
…and develops into
Feedback so far…
• We have been her before (NWC) so know we have to keep going as overall signs
• Generally very positive, from smaller groups & business to big membership
• Bigger public organisations often positive but unwilling to commit. Had the same
with NWC for which we are now getting more enquiries than we can cope with !!
• Already got Corporate relationship with NAAONBs, Small Woods Assoc, number
of business and social enterprises.
• Number of issues still to sort (e.g. listing on number of portals – short term issue
if get volume).
• Right track, keep going but going to need to keep adapting.
• Viable legacy vehicle,
• Market & income benefit for
those you work with
• Join up across AONB offer,
• Long term link into urban areas
• Routes to new partnerships
• Huge networks (you retain the
• Lots of product and successful
• Lots of links and opportunity
• Significant rural reach
Supporting the portal will: support those who sustain the countryside; join
up your joint offer to the public; build on what you have done; help the
concept go further, faster and better.
The “right move” for the natural world !!
If you commit to work more actively with the
NAAONB and us on this…
• Help us get listings (Yours, your projects and small sole traders, farmers and others who
are the real local ambassadors)
• Legacy support vehicle – write us into all your projects
• Give us feedback and helpful insights
• Consider how we can help you in other ways and bring us in
• And if you all put just a very small amount of finance in, we could do a
• 46 AONBs. If all put in just £200 = £9200 to fund the next stage of the portal.
• If all put in £400 then joint stands, develop the portal and some supported
coaching / product development.