The It’s Great Out There Coalition (IGOTC) has confirmed the appointment of its first policy officer. Margo de Lange will join in September and will lead the day-to-day management of the coalition. For the last five years, she has been working at the European Network of Academic Sports Services (ENAS) and she brings extensive knowledge and experience in European public affairs to her new role.
Founded by the European Outdoor Group, IGOTC is an International Non Profit Association that has been initially funded by membership fees from many of Europe’s leading outdoor businesses and has a clear mission: ‘Get Europe Active Outdoors’. With a base in Brussels and led by a small executive team and voluntary board, the coalition runs the #itsgreatoutthere campaign to encourage more people to lead healthier lives by getting active in the outdoors.
Margo holds dual Belgian and Dutch nationality and two master’s degrees in international law. As policy and project officer and then development manager at ENAS, she was responsible for motivating students and staff to get active. During her time with the organisation, she helped transform it from a purely voluntary structure to one with employees, while helping to build membership from 80 to 130.
She has been working closely with European policy makers and has developed a network of key contacts within the European Union. She has a lifelong love of the outdoors and will combine that with her skills and experience in the new role at IGOTC.
She noted, “At various moments during my time at ENAS, we have shared the stage with EOG and the It’s Great Out There Coalition to motivate, activate and advocate for physical activity together. I have come to know how this ambitious coalition has a clear mission to mobilise the masses by connecting them to the pleasures and benefits of being outdoors.”
Its Great Out There Coalition secretary general Andrew Denton added, “Margo’s track record is excellent and when we met, she demonstrated real passion and vision for what we are aiming to achieve with #itsgreatoutthere. She has a deep understanding of the challenges we face, and, crucially, an appreciation of how to meet those, particularly through working closely with public and private stakeholders.”
Working independently, Margo will use an office in Brussels, close to the heart of European decision-making. As well as managing other areas of the coalition’s work, a large part of Margo’s role will be to build awareness of the benefits of promoting outdoor participation at the European Commission and among NGBs, NGOs and other stakeholders. She will also work closely with coalition members to continue the development of the public-facing #itsgreatoutthere campaign.
Applying for IGOTC grant support
Any non-profit organisation can apply for an #itsgreatoutthere grant of between €1,000 and €5,000. The grants will be awarded to initiatives that focus on grassroots projects, which have primarily been developed to take new participants into the outdoors.
The It’s Great Out There Coalition encourages potential applicants to team up with partners from the outdoor industry such as brands, retailers and activity providers, especially those who are already members of the coalition. Grants can be awarded to support projects that reach citizens of all ages and from any background.
However, one priority is to support ideas that will help young people access the outdoors for the first time, particularly those who are based in the inner cities or live in circumstances that mean that getting access to the hills and mountains is difficult. More detail here.