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MP tables motion in Parliament to support outdoor education centres

October 9, 2020 6:20 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament in support of struggling outdoor education centres in Cumbria and across the country.

The motion urges the Department for Education to change its current guidelines which prevent overnight educational visits.

It also calls for outdoor education centres to be included in a new package of financial support for the hospitality and leisure sector and for the Government to protect outdoor education charities.

According to trade body UK Outdoors, nearly 3,000 jobs have already been lost and many outdoor education facilities have permanently closed

Tim said: "With the furlough scheme coming to an end and the latest guidance advising against school visits, outdoor education centres have been left between a rock and a hard place.

"If the Government lets them go to the wall then it will not only be bad for jobs and the economy, but many young people will miss out on a fantastic life experience which will do wonders for their confidence and their mental health.

"We must do everything we can to back our local outdoor education centres."

Local charity, Bendrigg Trust which is a specialist disability outdoor education centre near Kendal has been closed to residential visits since April.

Nick Liley, the Principal of the Trust said: "The outdoor sector has been particularly hit hard by the pandemic. Bendrigg, along with many other outdoor centres need urgent funding as well as clarity from the government about when school residential visits can resume.

"This pandemic has also hit some families, in particular those with disabilities, really badly. People tell us that because of isolation and anxiety over the virus, it has affected both their physical and mental health and wellbeing, and I believe that we as a sector are well placed to be able to support with this."