All About Us

RECONNECTING PEOPLE AND NATURE

Outdoors For You was founded in 2017 by people who share a passion for Scotland’s fantastic outdoors – and a belief in nature and active lifestyle ability to help humans to heal and to improve mental and physical wellbeing.

We are a non-profit organization based in Glasgow. Our service for all community groups, from the local to the asylum seekers, refugees, and EU migrants. The Outdoors For You team knows from our own experiences that reintroducing people to the great outdoors, even for a few short hours, can bestow huge benefits – helping us to feel fitter, happier and more alerts – and more able to assess and address our own issues.

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BENEFITS OF THE OUTDOORS

The evidence of the benefits of nature on mental and physical health is
numerous. If you spend just 90 minutes of your day outside in a wooded area, there will be a decrease of activity in the part of your brain typically associated with depression. Spending time in nature not only reduces blood pressure, anxiety, and increases happiness, but it reduces aggression, ADHD symptoms, improves pain control, the immune system, and—per a summary of research regarding the health benefits of nature—there's much more we don't know and are figuring out every day.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDER

"I was born and raised in Kurdistan. We are a mountain people, and nature and the outdoors have always been a big part of my life. When I was growing up there was war, and the mountains also represented safety and shelter. Since I arrived in Scotland my love for nature and the outdoors has just grown and grown. Now, a walk in the mountains or the forest is for fun and to enjoy the beautiful wildlife. Nature is also so therapeutic for me. It helps me to find peace and improves my general welling. It was these feelings that led me to set up Outdoors For You. I want to help others to rediscover the peace and tranquillity that comes from our connection with nature”
Razgar Hassan, Chief Executive, Outdoors For you

MEET OUR TEAM

Our amazing team comes from an array of backgrounds, skills and even countries
to form the weath of knowledge and passion that powers Outdoors For You.

Razgar

RAZGAR HASSAN

Founder - Chief Executive

Born in Kurdistan, Razgar arrived in Glasgow almost twenty years ago and is now a British citizen. He has a background working with minority ethnic groups and in social housing. He is also qualified to B.A. level in Education and Psychology.

Razgar has a lifelong passion for the outdoors and for yoga, meditation, hiking, walking and running. In 2017 he brought together his professional and academic background and his love for the outdoors when he set up Outdoors For You.

Maria

MARIA NYGREN

Co-Founder

Maria was born in Sweden and has lived in Scotland for eleven years. MA, MSC in
pharmacy, she loves the Scottish hills and takes every opportunity to enjoy the
outdoors by walking, running or maybe even skiing which has been a passion since a young age. She has also an interest in personal wellbeing and meditation.

At Outdoors For You, Maria coordinates the various tours and personally takes part in
most of our walks.

Freya

FREYA DARGAVEL

Activity Co-Ordinator

Freya joined the team in 2021 as Activity Coordinator, Freya has a background working in the refugee and homelessness sectors. She moved to Glasgow from Nottingham in 2018 and holds a BA Geography and MRes in Migrant and Social Justice. She has a passion for outdoor sports, especially watersports and spends her summers camping or in her kayak!

Paula

PAULA PHONENIX

Sign Language Interpreter

Paula is a qualified registered Sign Language Interpreter awarded with a PGD in Sign Language Interpreting Studies and Skills from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and NVQ Level 6 in BSL/Interpreting.

Besides her work for Outdoors For You, she developed and runs The Butterfly Project, which offers unique Self-Development programmes to the Deaf community.

Twig

ALEXANDER "TWIG" CHAMPION

Walking Artist

Champion is a Walking Artist - using walking tours to heighten or awaken experiences. He has led numerous walking tours, including: Sculpture Garden Tour, House for an Art
Lover, Art Walk Potry, ArtWalk Porty Festival, Glasgow Open House Art Tour and Meditative Sculpture Walks, Edinburgh

Kathy

KATHY MCNIEL

Active Board Member

BA Hons, Dip Ed, M Ed, M Phil, was a lecturer in Adult Education at Glasgow
University for thirteen years and has been retired for almost nine years.

Since retirement she has volunteered with several organisations that support refugees and asylum seekers.

Jean - New

JANE PENNINGTON

Eco Therapy Team

Jane is an experienced counselor who is passionate about nature and being outdoors.

They have worked for many years with marginalised people including asylum seekers and refugees and survivors of violence and they currently work in private practice and as a volunteer counselor for a LGBT community organisation.

Mahmoud

MAHMUD AL-GAILANI

Active Board Memebr

Mahmud is qualified in Community Education and Person Centred Counselling.

He works with a range of diverse communities in relation to equality issues and mental wellbeing and is one of the founding members of the Edinburgh ALMA project, an Art Therapy Charity that supports people living in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Charles

CHARLES GICHAGO

Active Board Member

Charles holds an MA(SocSci) Business and Management with Honours from the University of Glasgow. He has also worked within the Third Sector mostly with Refugees and Asylum seekers for over 8 years.

Jenifer Ma

JENIFER MARTIN

Active Board Member

Jenifer Martin has a BA in Hospitality Management, a Master's in Education and has taught English to students from all over the world during the past 25 years. Some of her other interests are business, languages, culture and podcasting. With a strong passion for travel, she loves meeting new people, exploring new and familiar places and visiting the Scottish islands whenever possible.