Future of outdoor learning centre used by generations of Warwickshire youngsters hangs in the balance - The Leamington Observer

Future of outdoor learning centre used by generations of Warwickshire youngsters hangs in the balance

Leamington Editorial 16th Dec, 2020   0

THE FUTURE of an outdoor learning centre used by generations of Warwickshire youngsters hangs in the balance.

Since it was bought by Warwickshire County Council in 1971, young people across the county have visited Marle Hall in Llandudno for educational, adventure courses.

It is believed more than 60,000 people have used the 100 bed centre in north Wales since it opened.

But a group called Save Marle Hall claims the council has now proposed to close the site.

Warwickshire County Council has confirmed it is the subject of a consultation which will close on January 17.

Headteacher at Knightlow Primary School in Stretton, Jill Vavasour, said: “Marle Hall has changed the lives of generations of our children. It has taught them so much and given them a chance to see themselves in the most positive light. Through fantastic outdoor learning experiences, they have recognised their own strengths and character, developed resilience and fostered an awe-inspiring love for the wonder of the natural world.

“Marle Hall is an incredible educational opportunity for our children, but it is so much more than that. It is an absolute highlight of their childhood. It must be saved at all costs.”

The centre, along with all other outdoor learning centres across the UK, have been temporarily closed since March due to covid restrictions.

A review is due in February and centres are planning for an Easter reopening.

The group says as the country begins to recover from the impact of coronavirus, educational experiences will be more important than ever.

Chief executive of the Institute of Outdoor Learning, Andy Robinson said: “Outdoor education residentials play a vital role in the development of children and young people and as we begin to emerge from the constraints of the pandemic their capacity to build self-confidence, self-awareness and resilience is more needed than ever.

“The UK wide threat to the provision of such vital educational services is clear as many centres have had virtually no income since March 2020.

“Closure of a centre like Marle Hall is going to result in too many children and young people in Warwickshire not being able to access the benefits of high quality outdoor education for years to come as a decimated sector struggles to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

A Warwickshire County Council spokesman said: “Marle Hall is the subject of an ongoing consultation. We cannot comment any further at this stage.”


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