Leaders in Outdoor Experiential Learning

Adventure Learning Programmes


The AccessAbility programme delivers an equality of opportunity for young people by demonstrating that physical and learning disabilities should not be perceived as barriers to participation through a broad range of outdoor experiential learning activities. The project was sponsored by The Big Lottery, Reaching Communities Fund until 2015.

AccessAbility Group

The programme, which has been running since 1997 engages young people with a broad range of disabilities in long and short-term personal development programmes. It empowers young people to reach their full potential through acquisition of new skills, developing new friendships, and having a lot of fun!

AccessAbility engages young people with a broad range of physical, sensory and learning disabilities. Our short and longer-term programmes offer challenging but achievable activities that focus on personal and social development primarily through the medium of outdoor experiential learning. By setting achievable Goals AccessAbility strives to:

·        Promote access of opportunity for young disabled people.

·        Empower young people to reach their full potential through learning new skills and developing new friendships within an exciting but safe and fun environment.

·        Improve the health and general well-being for participating young people.

·        Highlight and address the barriers faced and imposed by society and community towards disability.

·        Deliver accredited and non-accredited programmes and awards.

·        Offer and develop volunteering and mentoring opportunities.

Accredited Courses include:

·        Duke of Edinburgh's Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold)

·        Rescue and Emergency Care (REC) First Aid

·        Awards Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN)

·        The John Muir Award (Environmental)

·        National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme (NICAS)

·        National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS)

·        Open College Network (OCN) courses

·        Paddle Sports Star Awards

Programmes of activity include:

·        Weekend Club

·        Summer Scheme

·        Outward Bound Week

·        Multi activity programmes linking in with the school curriculum

·        BEARS Programme





Venue: Ardaluin House, Bryansford Road, Newcastle, BT9 5PB

Pick up and Drop off: Belfast Activity Centre, BAC

Dates: TBC

Cost: The cost of the course will be £300pp (covers transport, accommodation, food, equipment, instructors and course).

Activities: Skills training to address: communication, kitchen skills, food preparation, washing dishes, money management, washing clothes, use of appliances, social skills, outdoors survival and cooking, gardening, use of outdoor equipment and maintenance.

The programme will address life skills on a very practical level utilising the self-catering accommodation, 6 acres of woodland on-site and Newcastle area. There will be a number of exciting outdoor activities used to keep the participants engaged and ensure that they all have fun whilst learning and developing their skills.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Nicola Campbell at BAC.


The John Muir Award is an environmental award that encourages people of all backgrounds to connect, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured yet adaptable scheme. The Award is not competitive but should challenge each participant. Taking part will develop an understanding of, and responsibility for, a chosen wild place or places. For some this will offer an opportunity to explore values and spirituality.

It was launched in 1997 by the John Muir Trust to:

·        Promote educational, social and personal development through exploration of wild places and involvement in conservation

·        Encourage an environmental agenda within youth organisations

·        Ensure that social circumstances don’t exclude people from opportunities to experience wild places.

John Muir Award Criteria

Four challenges are at the heart of each John Muir Award, to achieve an Award each participant must:

Discover a wild place
Explore its wildness
Conserve - take personal responsibility
Share experiences

Participants should show enthusiasm and commitment, and have an awareness about John Muir.

There are 3 levels of the Award, encouraging progressive involvement. The same 4 challenges above are repeated for each level, with increased involvement in time, activity and ownership.

·        Discovery Award (introductory level) minimum 4 days (or equivalent)

·        Explorer Award (intermediate level) minimum 8 days (or equivalent)

·        Conserver Award (advanced level) minimum 20 days (or equivalent) over 6 months

Financial assistance may be available. If you have any queries about any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact BAC.

Just to say on behalf of myself and Longstone School, we have been involved with the BAC and this project for over ten years. In that time numerous pupils with special needs have completed their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. The experiences and achievements that they have enjoyed has been something that they will never forget. Indeed they have been provided with opportunities that they simply would never have experienced. I believe it is so important for our pupils to be given the chance to see and enjoy the countryside around them in the hope that when they leave school they will have the confidence to explore more by themselves.

Jerome Starrs. Longstone Special School.

BAC gives our students the opportunity to try different, exciting and challenging activities.  Through their participation in the different activities, their self-esteem and self-conference grows as well as their ability to work as part of a team and social and interpersonal skills.  This in turn empowers them with essential skills and attributes for participation and engagement in their local and wider community during both their time in school and post school life.  It also helps them cope with the transition from school to post school life.

Tor Bank School.


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Nicola Campbell at BAC on either 90600132 or email: nicola.campbell@belfastactivitycentre.com



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