The Open Gates Outdoors Team 

The Open Gates Outdoors Team 

Open Gates Outdoors is a team effort. The company benefits from the variety of expertise of its freelancers and the breadth of professionalism and experience of its board of directors. Learn more about the collaboration behind Open Gates Outdoors. 

About George - Founder and Director 

About George - Founder and Director 

Let me share with you my knowledge of and passion for the outdoors in and around Sheffield. Activity with Open Gates Outdoors is more an awakening than a walk. The Open Gates Outdoors guarantee is that we will give you a greater sense of place. 

What our clients say  

“Fantastic outing. Challenging but not too much. Fulfilling, mindful and cathartic. George’s passion for what he does combined with his fantastic local knowledge made the activity interesting and interactive. Archer Project’s beneficiaries seemed to love the walk and thrive on the challenge.” 
 
Chris, Learning Mentor, Archer Project 

My Passion 

My Passion 

I am George Yates and I set up Open Gates Outdoors in May 2023. I was born in Sheffield and have lived in the City all my adult life. I was inspired to start Open Gates Outdoors because of two passions I have long held; first exploring and learning about the urban and rural environments in and around Sheffield, and second widening the diversity of those who benefit from this unique urban and rural environment. It is a matter of social justice that everyone has the opportunity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing by enjoying the outdoors. 

My interest in Sheffield 

My interest in Sheffield 

For as long as I can remember I have been intrigued by my home City and its surrounding area. I have always been fascinated to learn about its history by exploring and reading. I have been inspired by local history and guide books such as Hallamshire (Joseph Hunter 1819), Historic Hallamshire (David Hey), Chantry Land (Harold Armitage 1912), and the Annual Handbooks of Sheffield Clarion Ramblers (1921-1964). The urban and rural landscape in and around Sheffield is unique. There is so much to discover. 

My enjoyment of the outdoors 

My enjoyment of the outdoors 

I am an active fell runner and walker. I have been a member of Dark Peak Fell Runners for 25 years and am a member of the Fell Runners Association. I am also a member of The Rucksack Club, a national club of walkers climbers and mountaineers. Whenever I can I run, walk, or cycle and am constantly uplifted by what I discover and who I meet. 
 

My wellbeing  

My wellbeing  

This combination of a sense of place and exercise improves my wellbeing and self awareness. I am committed to supporting other people in benefiting in a similar way from the environment we are blessed with in and around Sheffield. 
 

My background 

My background 

Prior to setting up Open Gates Outdoors I worked in education in Sheffield for 16 years. My first role in education was 5 years as a learning mentor in a secondary school in north Sheffield helping students break down barriers to their learning. This role included leading the outdoor education programme which confirmed to me the power of the outdoors to give confidence and improve life chances.  
 
This was followed by teaching A level History, Politics and Sociology at a sixth form in north Sheffield for 11 years. Before working in education I was a corporate/commercial solicitor in Sheffield for ten years. My background of working for large employers in both the public and private sector enables me to appreciate what employers need from team activities and how their teams can benefit from being in the outdoors. 

My Qualifications 

My Qualifications 

I have been qualified by Mountain Training (on behalf of the British Mountaineering Council) to lead groups and individuals in Hill and Moorland Areas since 2007 and am experienced in leading school and adult groups.  
 
I am in the process of extending this qualification to summer mountain leader so Open Gates Outdoors will be qualified to take clients as groups or individuals into the high mountains. I am a member of the Mountain Training Association. 
 
I have completed training in Health Coaching accredited by the Personalised Care Institute (PCI) and am currently working towards a Level 5 certificate in Effective Coaching and Mentoring accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) which I will complete in January 2024. I have completed an Enhanced DBS check and hold an Enhanced DBS certificate. 

Open Gates Outdoors’ Non-Executive Directors  

Dan Stowers  

Dan is a partner in a national 100 law firm and has practiced law since his qualification in 1997. He specialises in financial crime and compliance and is also a freelance mountain leader. Dan brings invaluable advice and guidance on regulatory and compliance issues as well as outdoor leadership best practice. Dan practised as a laywer in Sheffield for many years and has significant knowledge of the commercial sector in Sheffield. 

Jack Leach  

Jack has over 25 years’ experience working in conservation, and land management in the Sheffield area. He has provided environmental education, training and volunteer supervision to many in Sheffield including corporate and community groups. Jack is an active volunteer in several community projects. 

James Parramore  

James is Managing Director Ross Care (a national provider and maintainer of equipment for the disabled and elderly). He joined Ross Care in 2011 and was appointed MD in 2015. James is a leading industry stakeholder as a member of National Wheelchair Advisory Group. James has over 30 years experience working in customer focused businesses, including Marks and Spencer in the UK and Myer in Australia. As well as commercial acumen, James has significant knowledge of the commercial sector in Sheffield. 

Maxine Blake  

Maxine worked as a teacher in Sheffield for over 35 years and has written two books on her experiences. Maxine currently works at Sheffield Hallam University training new teachers and has always been involved in community initiatives such as sports clubs and choirs. Maxine has significant insight into community activity in Sheffield including those supporting minorities. She also provides invaluable guidance on working with young people. 

Open Gates Outdoors’ Freelancers  

Dan Stowers  

Dan is a qualified Mountain Leader, Leader in Fell Running Fitness, National Navigation Award Scheme Tutor and fully remote first aid trained. Dan has significant experience in leading groups in the UK mountains. 
 
He is an avid fell runner having successfully competed in many fell and ultra-distance races including the Marsden to Edale "Trigger", Derwent Watershed, Dark Peak 30 (Peak District), Fellsman (Yorkshire Dales), Lakeland 50 (Lake District), Old County Tops (Lake District) numerous Saunders Mountain Marathons (Lake District & Howgills); the OMM, the LAMM and many other fell races. 
 
In 2018 Dan completed his Bob Graham Round in 21hrs 18m. He has a large amount of fell running experience and loves to assist others and share his knowledge on recces and attempts of the Bob Graham, as well as the Paddy Buckley Round in Snowdonia. 
 
Dan is currently working towards his Winter Mountain Leader Award. 

Dale Le Fevre  

Dale has 40 years’ experience of facilitating strategy games to corporates and to community groups and charities. He has also published several books and produced DVDs sharing his experiences in this field. Dale's New Games CD ROM has been published in 4 languages. 
 
Dale has devised and published the New Games Programme and more recently Playworks which specifically helps businesses improve team building and conflict resolution, among other issues. 
 
Dale has provided over 1,000 workshops centred on games to enhance team morale, cohesion, and leadership in over 35 countries including the US, Canada, India, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, Northern Ireland and Croatia. 

Penny Collier  

After many years as a University Lecturer, Penny retrained as a qualified Hill and Moorland Leader in 2023 and now makes her living outdoors leading walks, teaching navigation, supporting Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and delivering Bikeability training in schools. Penny is also a member of Dark Peak Fell Runners and the Rucksack Club, membership of which has led to many outdoor adventures including a successful completion of the Bob Graham Round in under 24 hours. 

Adam Batty  

Adam is a qualified forest school leader, facilitator, and community development worker. Adam has worked in the community sector for 15 years specialising in forest school education and developing skills and knowledge in effective group working using forest school principles. Adam is passionate about and experienced in creating outdoor activities and environments which enable corporate and other teams to use nature to develop and improve effectiveness. 

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