Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if an event is suitable for me?

Please check with the organiser if you’re unsure. Consider the details about the demands of the event given by them and be honest with yourself about your own abilities.

We want you to have an enjoyable experience and we also have to consider the safety of our other members, so please find out as much as you can before you make a decision.

Do I need to let the organiser know that I’ll be attending an event?

Some events must be booked in advance. These are marked on the IOG Programme.

Even for events where it is not essential to book, it is requested that you let the organiser know that you’ll be attending an event because they can then confirm the event details with you and let you know of any last minute changes. This is particularly important if you are not yet a registered member, receiving emails from the group mailing list.

If, after you have let an organiser know that you intend to take part in an event, your plans change, please let them know as soon as you can – not only is it polite, but if spaces are limited it means that someone else may be able to join in as a stand-in.

When attending an IOG event, is there anything I should be aware of?

All attendees of an IOG event should follow the instructions and advice of the event organiser, both in following any preparations beforehand as well as during the event itself – please make sure to come adequately equipped with suitable clothing and anything else needed. If you have any questions about what is required, reach out to the event organiser who will be able to clarify anything you’re unsure of.

Those taking part in a group event are personally responsible for themselves at all times and expected to respect the environment, local community, wildlife and other people. To keep our group safe, discrimination, prejudice, bullying or harassment of any kind is not acceptable or tolerated.

When visiting, event participants are expected to respect the countryside, by familiarising themselves with and following The Countryside Code.

Do I have to pay extra to attend an event if I’m not a member?

No. We encourage prospective new members to come along to two or three events so that they can meet some of the group, try out the activities and decide whether to join. This does not include trips away from home, which you must be a member to attend.

Can I bring my children along?

Quite often, yes, but always check with the organiser first – occasionally, some events may not be suitable for families. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

Please see the membership form and notes on the Joining the IOG & Benefits page for details of Child Membership.

Can I bring a friend/guest along?

It’s the same for all people however they find the group – everyone is welcome to try out two or three local events. Many members were initially introduced to the group through friends. After those events or if an overnight trip is involved, friends/guests are then required to join the group. If they are not local to the area, though, note that they may be elible for our discounted non-local concessionary membership. Please see the membership form and notes on the Joining the IOG & Benefits page for details.

Can I bring my dog on a walk?

Dogs are often welcome but please confirm with the organiser first. Some walks go through nature reserves or other areas where dogs may not be permitted. If the organiser requests that no pets be brought, this must be respected – please contact the Members Representative to discuss this if necessary, rather than an event organiser.

All dogs must be kept on short leads and under proper control for the entire walk. Dog owners on an IOG event are responsible for complying with this at all times. This is mandatory because although many dogs are generally well-behaved, they may still cause disruption, even distress, with other people in the group who are not comfortable with any dogs, especially if the dog is not used to walking with a large group of people. Extendable dog leads must be locked to short, to avoid any walker being inadvertently given a burn from a lead, in the case a longer lead becomes wrapped around a leg as a dog is moving around the group. The IOG has had a number of incidents in the past of seemingly well-behaved dogs causing such injuries and also harassing livestock.

The only exception is if a herd of large animals become disturbed by the dog, in which case you are advised to let the dog go for your own safety and the safety of other members of the group.

Please remember to bring water for your dog to drink and the necessary kit to clean up after your pet.

Can I get a lift to the event?

It is often possible to organise a lift to the start point for an event.

If you are already a registered IOG member and are on the group mailing list, please send an email asking if anyone can give you a lift. If you are not yet a fully registered member, you can ask the event organiser to assist.

However, please note that it is not the event organiser’s responsibility to arrange lifts for potential participants and there is no guarantee that a lift will be available for every event.

It is the responsibility of persons sharing transport with others to make arrangements regarding petrol costs and to ensure that the driver has appropriate insurance for the vehicle concerned.

Do you stop for food and drink breaks on walks and cycle rides?

Yes. How often will depend on the type and length of the event. Sometimes we carry packed lunches and sometimes we stop at pubs, cafes or tea shops on route. Check with the event organiser for more details.

For most outdoor events, it’s essential to bring enough water or some other non-alcoholic drink to keep you going through the day, especially when the weather is warm.

If I organise an IOG event, what steps should I take and how can I get it added to the IOG Programme?

Any adult IOG member can organise an event for the IOG programme. You can find useful information and .pdf forms including an attendance register, a route plan, risk assessment and accident report forms through the Organising IOG Events page. If it is appropriate (e.g. if climbing mountains / hills), please complete a risk assessment and leave a route plan and attendance register behind with someone to help prepare for any potential circumstances.

If you are organising something beyond a basic walk or cycle event, you should familiarise yourself with the group’s Liability Insurance information. If there’s any question regarding whether an event is already covered, please raise it with the group’s Secretary. They will be able to clarify and help work out what additional steps may be required, if an event isn’t covered by default.

Once you have details of your event, contact the Programme Editor (‘Lou’ Rawcliffe) at Future dates in the Programme calendar that already have an event planned are indicated as “busy”. These are shown to help you choose a date. However, some of these events may not last all day or may be moveable, so check with Lou if you require a specific date.

Before the event it is important all participants are made aware of the demands of the event so they can make an informed choice on whether to attend.

On the day, if the group needs to break into smaller sub-groups, please ensure that each sub-group has a designated organiser to report back to the primary event organiser.

If there are any issues, incidents or accidents that occur in relation to an IOG event, please report them to the committee through the Members Representative and Training Officer.

Do I need to be first aid trained to participate in or to organise an IOG event?

There is no formal requirement that participants and organisers involved in basic IOG events, such as walking and cycling, are required to be first aid trained.

That said, the Training Officer arranges at least one local Outdoor & Wild Country First Aid Training weekend course annually and all members of the group are strongly encouraged to attend. This is a two day course that conforms to the requirements of the MLTUK, BCU, RYA and other outdoor governing bodies. It focuses on dealing with incidents far from medical help with the minimal equipment you would carry while participating in or leading outdoor activities. The emphasis is on practical skills with plenty of hands-on practice including lots of outdoor scenarios.

If the dates selected for the IOG course in a particular year are inconvenient, the Training Officer can also provide members with a list of alternative dates for the same course run throughout the year for other members of the public, when contacted directly. The IOG significantly subsidises the cost of this course for any member who wishes to attend, whether it is the IOG or public course that is attended, and this can be tailored to personal circumstances. Please do ask the Training Officer for further details. Any participant may also pay an additional small fee to take an assessment at the end of the course and achieve a formal First Aid at Work accreditation, for use professionally.

Being trained in first aid is everyone’s responsibility – not just event organisers or the committee – and the more members we have that have been on a course like this, the better the outcome is likely to be in an emergency. Please, therefore, if you can spare a weekend’s worth of time, do give serious consideration to signing up. It will no doubt also prove greatly beneficial across daily life too.

IOG Membership

I am having problems filling out the IOG membership form to email to the Membership Secretary, and I don’t wish to print out and post the form. Are there any other alternatives?

The Membership Secretary will try to help with common form-filling issues, if you send an explanatory email. Sometimes simply switching the application you’re trying to use to fill out the form can solve the issue – try using Microsoft Edge, if you’re using Windows. Alternatively, you could print the form, and either complete the fields before printing or fill them in by hand, then scan or take a photo of the finished form. You can then email the scan or photo direct to the Membership Secretary. Another option is to attend a monthly social meeting – you can request a printed membership form there, and fill it out. If either the Membership Secretary or Treasurer is in attendance, you can pass on the completed form there and then, with your payment. If all else fails, you can email the Membership Secretary and type out the information which should have been entered into the form. If doing this, however, please ensure that you include an acknowledgement that you have read all the accompanying notes on the latest IOG Membership Form and confirm your consent.

I want to renew my membership, can I just pay the annual membership fee or do I also need to fill in a form?

Please return a completed IOG Membership Form, available from the Joining the IOG & Benefits page, to the Membership Secretary along with your annual membership fee to renew. It is important that you read and acknowledge the information on the membership form, which may have been updated since the previous year.

How do I change the email address I use for the IOG Mailing List?

At any time, you can email the Membership Secretary with your new email address and confirm that you would like it to replace your old email address as an IOG Mailing List subscriber.

How do I join the IOG Private Facebook Group?

Once your IOG membership registration is processed, you can submit a request to join at any time by clicking the Join Group button on the IOG members-only Private Facebook Group page, which the group uses for sharing photos and general chat.

How do I join the semi-official IOG WhatsApp Group?

When you have joined the IOG Private Facebook Group, look for the stickied Announcement post at the top of the Discussion tab in the group which contains a link to let you add yourself to the WhatsApp group. Please be aware that by doing so you will be sharing your mobile number with everyone else in the WhatsApp group, as that is how WhatsApp works.

How do I leave the IOG Mailing List, Private Facebook Group and/or semi-official WhatsApp group?

If you fail to renew your membership before August, at the end of the IOG year, you will be automatically removed from the IOG Mailing List and Private Facebook Group, as you will no longer be a group member.

You can, however, leave any of the groups at any time yourself by simply unsubscribing or leaving them through the appropriate website / app. For the IOG Mailing List, look for the unsubscribe options included at the end of any email from the list. For Facebook, log into the Private Ipswich Outdoor Group Facebook Group and simply select the “Leave group” option from the pull-down menu in the top right. Similarly, to leave the semi-official IOG WhatsApp group, from the pull-down menu in the top right of the group, look under the More sub-menu and click the “Exit group” option.

IOG Membership Key Tags

Where can I collect my IOG membership key tag?

IOG Members who have renewed by the end of July will be able to collect their personalised key tag for the next year from a location in Ipswich town centre by September at the latest. Please contact the Membership Secretary for the specific detail, or if you are a new member.

I do not live around Ipswich / I find it hard to get into the town centre. Can my IOG membership key tag be posted?

Unfortunately not. All of the personalised key tags are given to the pick-up location in bulk, and they are already supporting the group enough by helping us out with key tag collections so we will not be imposing on them further. Even before they were handed over for distribution, the cost of postage to deliver key tags would be much too high for the group to do so individually and, even if that cost were paid by the members requesting this, the amount of volunteer time required by an already hard-working committee is too much. Instead, we recommend that you ask a local group member friend to collect the key tag for you on your behalf and post it to you, if required. Thanks.

I know I’ll miss out on the local retailer benefits but I still do not want an IOG membership key tag. Can I opt out?

Some members live too far from Ipswich to want to collect a personalised membership key tag, or would simply prefer not to have one created in the first place containing their personal data. This is no problem – simply do not tick the checkbox requesting a personalised key tag on the IOG Membership Form, before you submit it to join or renew your membership.

I joined the group halfway through the IOG membership year. Can I still get a key tag?

The personalised key tags are produced once a year so we cannot supply you with one until the start of the next IOG year. However, if you contact the Membership Secretary, they will help you with a suitable interim arrangement so you can prove your registered membership status until the next IOG year.

I failed to renew my IOG membership before the deadline expired to get a new personalised key tag for the next IOG membership year. Can you squeeze me in / add me to the order anyway?

No. The deadline is a hard one, after which the order to the supplier is submitted and cannot then be modified. You can contact the Membership Secretary, who can supply you with an email to confirm your registered membership status for the IOG year and supply you with the discount code(s) that can be found on the rear of the key tag. In future, we recommend you both complete the membership form and pay the membership fee to renew in good time. 😉

My key tag has broken, can I get a replacement?

No. For cost reasons, we can only order key tags in one bulk annual order at membership renewal time – by the end of July. It is suggested that your key tag will survive longer if you store it in a wallet, rather than on an actual key ring. If it does break, you can either show the pieces if you have them, or contact the Membership Secretary who can provide a suitable interim arrangement so you can prove your registered membership status for the rest of the IOG year.

My key tag from a previous year has expired, what should I do with it?

Key tags can be kept by members as a souvenir. Alternatively, key tags can be disposed of with your general waste if no longer wanted – don’t forget to shred or cut them up to prevent anyone reading the personal information on the key tag first. Unlike our original plastic key tags (any key tag that Expires 08/20 or before) that we would send back to the supplier for secure disposal and recycling, our key tags from 2020 onwards are now made of a degradable material.

What is the environmental impact of IOG membership key tags?

From 2020, IOG membership keytags are degradable and made from a green, environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. The degradable key tags eventually begin to wear down leaving no damaging toxins behind. Degradation occurs in nine months to five years, depending on the environment.

IOG Mailing List

Can I promote a commercial business or post classified adverts / fundraising links to the IOG Mailing List?

Short answer: no. With typically hundreds of members, the mailing list is already very busy. If we approve one member sending an email with classified ads, fundraising links and/or promoting a commercial business, then we would have to let everyone. This may quickly become overwhelming – most members don’t know everyone else in the group, so sending an email to the mailing list doesn’t just go out to the members they know, it’s also potentially another 100+. However, if you wish to include an unobtrusive link in your email signature so that members will see it when you’re sending unrelated emails on relevant IOG topics, then that is likely to draw less attention.

We are less strict about the content members post to the IOG members-only Private Facebook group, but please consider whether a post will be relevant or of interest to our outdoor group members, rather than posting something unrelated, which might be considered spam. Members would undoubtedly be keen to hear about promotions in a local outdoor shop, but less so regarding a business that is unrelated to outdoor pursuits. If you have something non-outdoor related to sell, you’re more likely to get a response by posting somewhere relevant like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

You can always send direct emails (we recommend using Bcc:) to any of your friends from the IOG to their own email addresses which, as it wouldn’t be through the IOG mailing list, would get the message to them without landing in the mailboxes of the rest of the group.

IOG Liability Insurance

The information provided below related to the group’s liability insurance policy is accurate from February 2020 and should be kept up to date by the IOG committee. However, the liability insurance policy is renewed and potentially updated each year so the latest policy detail should be confirmed with the Secretary before being relied upon.

Why does the group have liability insurance?

The group’s liability insurance is solely intended to cover the group’s event/trip organisers, committee and the group as a whole, in situations such as those where a claim is brought against people involved with the group, or the group itself. It is NOT intended to cover members as personal travel or accident insurance and does NOT cover activity-specific insurance, typically required by event organisers for things like kayaking or paddleboarding, for example. All IOG members and event organisers should carefully consider what additional insurance policies are needed for any IOG activity they are undertaking, over and above the group’s general liability insurance cover.

Does the group having liability insurance mean I don’t need personal insurance?

No, the group’s liability insurance is NOT a replacement for personal travel or accident insurance, which individual members are responsible for arranging when travelling or volunteering with the group. These types of personal insurance cover completely different things and, unlike the group’s liability insurance, an individual travel insurance policy may provide compensation in the event of the cancellation or curtailment of a trip (e.g. accommodation and travel costs) and potentially other additional items of cover such as emergency medical expenses and damage, loss or theft of baggage and personal property, to name a few. In addition, personal accident insurance is available to cover longer-term costs associated with unexpected accidents or injury. Confirmation of personal travel insurance for every attendee is required for any overseas travel with the group.

As an IOG event participant but not a registered IOG member, how does the group’s liability insurance affect me?

All attendees on an IOG overnight and/or overseas trip, are required by the group to be a registered IOG member for the duration of the trip. Similarly, only registered IOG members are permitted by the group to organise IOG events. Non-members and guests, therefore, are limited to only participating in local group events, where they will be covered by the liability insurance.

As an IOG member, what events I organise for the group can I expect to be covered by the group’s liability insurance policy?

The group’s liability insurance does NOT cover activity-specific insurance, typically required by event organisers for things like kayaking or paddleboarding, for example. All IOG members and event organisers should carefully consider what additional insurance policies are needed for any IOG activity they are undertaking, over and above the group’s general liability insurance cover.

That said, for the liability insurance cover, the group has declared to our insurance provider that our members (event organisers MUST be a registered IOG member and appropriately qualified to lead the activity) directly offer events in the following categories: Camping, Cycling/Mountain Biking, Dance/Drama, Orienteering/Hiking, Swimming/Water Sports (Canoeing, Kayaking, Dinghy Sailing, Windsurfing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, but NOT Yachting or any Motorised Water Sports such as, but not limited to, Water Skiing, Rib Rides, Jet Skis and the like).

The group has also declared that we may sub-contract activities in many other categories: Abseiling/Climbing, Archery, Assault Course, Canoeing/Kayaking, Caving/Potholing, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Rifle Shooting, Gymnastics/Trampolining, Corporate Hospitality / Teambuilding, Horse Riding, Management Training, Martial Arts, Off Road Driving Activities, Paintball, Quad Biking, Dinghy Sailing/Windsurfing, Scuba Diving, Sports Camp/Coaching, Skiing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding. For sub-contracted activities, the IOG event organiser must ensure that the third-party provider has both evidence of appropriate qualifications (see paragraph below) and also their own liability insurance to cover the activity with an indemnity limit at least equivalent to the group’s own public limit of indemnity – they should be able to provide a public liability certificate which confirms their public liability limit of indemnity, on request.

For any activities outside these general categories or where there is any confusion about which category applies, the group will need to discuss the activity with our insurance provider. For any questions about the policy coverage or to confirm what evidence of qualifications are required for each activity, please contact the Secretary to discuss – they can confirm specifics with the insurance provider, and find out if any additional premium applies.

As an IOG member, can I organise one of the sub-contractable activities listed above directly for the group, without sub-contracting it to another third-party provider?

Quite possibly. The group will need to discuss it with our insurance provider who will ask to see evidence of appropriate qualification for the IOG event leader(s) and may require us to pay an additional per-activity premium. This would only ensure the activity is covered by the group liability insurance policy – do also consider whether any additional activity-specific insurance will also be required, in addition. Please contact the Secretary to discuss.

As an IOG member, will the group’s liability insurance cover me for a non-group, personal activity e.g. if I went kayaking locally without the group?

No. The liability insurance covers IOG activities only and would be expected to appear on the group programme. If an activity is at all out of the ordinary, it should be brought to the attention of the Secretary who can help confirm the event is appropriately covered.

Does the group’s liability insurance policy impose any geographical restrictions on group trips?

Our liability insurance policy covers activities in the UK and Europe, though this might potentially be extended on a per-trip basis or an additional single trip policy could be taken out. All trips should adhere to UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice. By convention, the group notifies our insurance provider if we are planning to travel anywhere out of the ordinary, even though the destination is within mainland Europe. Please contact the Secretary to discuss.

As an IOG member organising a trip, is there anything I need to do related to the group’s liability insurance?

Check that your proposed trip is covered by the group’s liability insurance policy, following the coverage notes above. If there is any question at all, please contact the Secretary to discuss. Once confirmed, please ensure that you remind everyone participating in your trip that they must be a registered IOG member – contact the Membership Secretary, if you have any concerns – and also remind all attendees they should organise their own personal travel insurance. If travelling outside the UK, please confirm with each trip attendee individually in email/writing that they have arranged personal travel insurance cover for themselves – there must be absolutely no exceptions, as this is a requirement of the group’s liability insurance.

What is the public liability limit of indemnity provided by the group’s liability insurance policy?

The group can produce a Public Liability Certificate of Insurance on request confirming the group is covered for claims up to £5m arising from one occurrence (excluding terrorism or asbestos; an excess applies), though this can be extended on a per-event basis. Please contact the Secretary to discuss.