DD Charity Blog

A place for us to highlight the great work of charitable groups we are supporting with donations of DD Hammocks Gear each month. We are proud to be working with community engagement programs, mental health charities and more to provide equipment and easy access to the great outdoors for those in need.

14 December 2023

DD Charity Update -2023 Round Up

By Vikki

It’s the most wonderful time of the year once more, when frost is forming and gifts are given – and we’re proud to have continued giving the gift of the outdoors all the way throughout 2023, by working with our DD Charity Partners to help as many people as possible enjoy the magic of the outdoors.

Out final two organizations of 2023 are the London based charity YES Outdoors - who support disadvantaged young people from the London boroughs of Islington, Camden, Hackney and Haringey get out and about while providing invaluable mentoring to make positive life choices – and Fire & Peace; who work to reconnect people to themselves, each other, and the great outdoors, all while providing support for those with addiction and mental health issues.

Read on until the end to find out just how many bits of kit we've managed to get out into the wild and into the hands of those who need it most this year!

Founded in 2014 and based in the heart of bustling London, YES Outdoors is a charity working hard to provide young disadvantaged children of all backgrounds access challenging and gratifying outdoor activities, all while offering personal mentoring, role model support and coaching so that they develop the skills and confidence within themselves to make positive and permanent life choices for change.

With a big belief in providing challenging yet fun activities with a paramount on fair access and equality, YES Outdoors offers a range of outdoor based learning in their Adventure Based Mentoring courses for children aged 11 – 14, spanning 9 months which supports a young person through their school year from September until the summer break. This includes Rock climbing, bicycle maintenance and cycling courses plus residential trips outwith the city. YES Outdoors explains more about their activities below:

‘The programme begins with rock climbing lessons, which will take place once a week after school at The Castle Climbing Wall in Manor House. throughout the sessions, young people learn how to climb with the support of qualified instructors as well as their own individual mentor. Regardless of age, nothing boosts confidence and self-esteem quite like successfully climbing up a 50 foot wall. This is especially true if the young person is afraid of heights, and battling these fears will provide the skills they need to overcome mental and physical struggles throughout life. Our sessions are always supervised by qualified instructors, and young people are always rigged to ensure they’re never at risk of falling more than a short distance. Climbing is as much of a mental game as it is a physical feat. When your child climbs their first rock wall, they may be overwhelmed by all of the ways they can make it to the top. As they climb more they’ll learn how to mentally map out the most efficient ways to navigate the holds. These problem solving and planning skills can easily transfer to everyday life.

The second phase of the programme expands on our wildly popular ‘Break the Cycle’ course, which teaches young people to positively engage in a hands-on activity where they are taught to fix abandoned bicycles. These workshops will be held at Rose Bowl Youth Hub in Islington. At the end of the process, we reward the young people by giving them the bicycle to keep. This programme is suitable for all experience levels and individual mentors work with the young person at their own pace. During the course, with mentoring, young people realise they are capable of practical work; feel proud that they succeeded in a challenge and build confidence and self-belief. Our bike courses are unique in delivering training in bike maintenance as well as road safety.

We have delivered bicycle maintenance programmes to hundreds of young people for over ten years, and have seen a range of wonderful outcomes in many of our previous participants. We aim to transform young people’s lives by raising their aspirations, boosting their confidence, and increasing their pro-social behaviour.  The project is delivered to the highest standard and has accreditation by City and Guilds. It is led by qualified bicycle mechanics supported by our fully trained volunteer mentors - the project enables young people to learn a range of practical, life enhancing new skills. Engaging with positive role models, they learn how to conduct themselves in a workshop. We deliver the project in such a way as to ensure they make new friends, boost their self-esteem, and improve their prosocial behaviour.

The final phase culminates in a trip to welcome in the summer. Our charity’s name is YES Outdoors – and we named it that because we want our programmes to ultimately encourage people to increase their engagement with nature.   We are based in an urban, inner-city environment, and from our inception through to now, a core part of our raison d’être has always been giving young and disadvantaged people access to all the benefits that being outdoors brings.  This is why we culminate with an adventure-packed five day trip to Aberdovey in Wales, where our young people can take part in a wide range of exciting activities."

For the month of December DD Hammocks is proud to have donated 25 sets of our DD Charity Hammocks and Tarps to help YES Outdoors get even more young people out into the great outdoors and into a new, fresh frame of mind - we wish Tony Quinn, the YES Outdoors team and patrons a very happy holiday period, and we hope that the kit is much enjoyed!

To find out more about YES Outdoors and the work they do, you can visit their Website and Social Media.

 The second organisation we have worked with this winter is Fire & Peace - a local Scottish charity based in Glasgow, serving the surrounding areas by supporting it's patrons reconnect to the outdoors to aid recovery from various challenges;

"Fire & Peace Recovery is a Glasgow based charity providing innovative and transformational support to individuals in their recovery from mental health challenges, adverse childhood experiences and substance dependency. The charity was founded with the aim of getting people to connect with themselves, others, and the great outdoors. Fire & Peace organise camping trips in the Scottish wilderness, where their beneficiaries experience respite in nature and engage with a compassionate community while learning traditional bushcraft and survival skills.

 “We truly believe that the best things in life are free, and that taking you away on a wild camping trip to a beautiful location, with no distractions, works wonders for your mindfulness and wellbeing”. - Gerry Ward (Charity Director)

Since Fire & Peace achieved its charity status in 2021, they have hosted countless overnight and day trips alongside setting up unique programmes that support young people (aged 10 - 18), women, adults in recovery, vulnerable adults and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Their trips are heavily subscribed showing that the support they provide is valuable and imperative to many of the individuals they support.

On a Fire & Peace trip beneficiaries engage in a range of outdoor activities including foraging and bushcraft skills workshops, life skills sessions and sharing circles hosted around the campfire. The foraging skills workshops include lessons on harvesting wild plants and working with a range of natural materials to create decorations and understand the local plant wildlife. The bushcraft sessions include traditional fire-lighting skills, traditional cooking methods, shelter set up, and wood and tree identification. The beneficiaries will learn how to set up a camp and a fire on which they will cook hot nutritious meals that the group enjoy together. During our sharing circles we discuss topics like stress, anxiety and depression, and touch on bullying, peer-pressure and social expectations.

 “Fire & Peace has been a massive part of my life and it always will be. I wouldn’t be where I am spiritually, mentally and emotionally without all the amazing, inspirational folk who make up the Fire & Peace family, from its core team to the beneficiaries. The love, the acceptance and the compassion I have been shown is overwhelming. Without you all I wouldn’t be as far forward with my trauma issues because having that safe space to openly release my thoughts and fears without judgement has meant so much to me. There is nowhere else that I would have been able to do that and it’s all down to the amazing folk who create such an amazing environment.” - Anonymous (Trip Attendee)

 We at Fire & Peace, want to thank DD Hammocks for its donation and for supporting our charity's mission. As a grassroots charity we depend on continued support from trusts, foundations and companies like DD Hammocks to deliver our trips. If you want to learn more about the work we do visit www.fireandpeace.co.uk or visit our donation page to leave a one-off or monthly donation here or get in touch by emailing gerry@fireandpeace.co.uk."

In total, this year we have donated 200 DD Charity Edition Scout Tarps and 200 Charity Edition Scout Hammocks! This means we've helped support 17 charities and organizations connect people to the great outdoors with 400 pieces of kit - and we hope to continue the good work into 2024 and beyond.

So if you know of a charity, group or cause with a focus on the outdoors and a passion for helping those less fortunate get out into nature that would benefit from some free outdoor equipment in the New Year, plus a spot on the DD Charity Blog to showcase their work, we would love to hear from you!

Help us support even more people and even more good causes - get involved by getting in touch with us via our DD Charity contact form.

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About the writer


A regular on the hiking trails of Northern Scotland, Vikki loves nothing more than being in the great outdoors. When she's not pulling on her hiking boots or trail shoes, this DD Team Member can often be spotted in the gym or curled up at home with a sketchpad and pencil.

DD Charity Update - June 2024

Summer is here to stay and a heatwave is on the way - so lets get as many people as we can outdoors! This month we've partnered with The Ernest Cook Trust and The Outward Bound Trust; two local UK charities who have a long history of bringing everyone they can into nature! Read on to find out more!
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