With regret, I have to formally announce that all IOG activities, meetings and events on the programme are suspended indefinitely with immediate effect. I have asked Lou to update the online programme with this news and we will be updating our social media to reflect this too.
This has been a difficult decision to take and, on behalf of the committee, I want to express how heartbreaking it is for us to have to do this for, as far as I know, the first time in the history of the group. Events truly are unprecedented.
I do not wish to waste time justifying the obvious, but for comparison – both British Orienteering and parkrun have suspended all events, and the Ramblers have ceased all group-led walks until the end of May. Our group is popular enough that every walk attracts a large enough number of people that we cannot continue the group’s regular activities, without risking the safety of members or the public.
I’d like to thank all the event organisers who will be impacted by this decision for their patience and understanding.
Does this mean we should all be imprisoned entirely? No. The latest published advice states that, apart from people who are in households with symptoms or who have pre-existing health or age conditions that put them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, going for a walk or cycle independently can continue and is an excellent way to maintain health and well-being – provided independent walkers, in very small numbers, stay over two metres away from others. I also want to draw attention to the risks of car-sharing – whilst this is usually a good thing for the environment, it really should be avoided at all costs, for now.
We all have many other IOG members contact details and I would encourage members to stay in touch, follow the Public Health England guidance  which will be continually updated, and also check on each other. The IOG social media will remain available and is going to be a good way of keeping us all from getting cabin fever.
Please can I request members not use the IOG social media to co-ordinate unofficial events, however.*
Formal group activities will be resumed as soon as we can be sure it will be safe for all to do so. If you have any spare time, do consider donating some of your home time to the Ramblers efforts to secure old footpaths, with their Don’t Lose Your Way campaign.
Many thanks for your understanding, I hope all of you and your loved ones stay healthy and get a tonne of jobs done at home in the meantime!
Ipswich Outdoor Group Chair
* UPDATE: Whilst the group’s outdoor activities remain suspended, we encourage our members to get out and enjoy the countryside, following local restrictions wherever it is safe to do so. We have created a new “Living with COVID-19” category for our group’s online newsletter, to share how our members are spending their free time during this period.
From Tuesday, 6 October, members are encouraged – with some qualifications – to advertise their rule-of-six private walks and cycles to other members using the group mailing list, so long as the local area remains not under government lockdown restrictions.
To be clear – all posts to the newsletter on this website and to our public Facebook page whilst the group’s outdoor activities are suspended are NOT from official IOG activities, and should be viewed as reports from our friends within the group making the most of their own private walks, abiding by the relevant coronavirus guidance.