Exciting next steps for Cambridgeshire Outdoors Centres

A bold new vision will be set out for Cambridgeshire Outdoors three centres to ensure that they offer affordable, high quality outdoor and environmental education, contributing to our ambition to give all Cambridgeshire children the best start in life.

Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) has three outdoor learning centres; Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service (CEES) at Stibbington and Burwell House; which offer day and residential visits, adventurous and curriculum-based activity courses, outreach services and conference facilities.The core delivery of the Service is focused on children and young people, ensuring everyone has an amazing experience whilst developing personal resilience and making memories that last a lifetime.

 Over the last couple of years, a number of different options have been considered for the future management of the sites to ensure that they remain viable in the long term, continuing to improve outcomes for the children and young people from Cambridgeshire and beyond, today and for generations to come.

 On Friday 12 July the Commercial and Investment Committee will consider a recommendation that the Council retains all three centres. Business Improvement and Sales and Marketing plans will be developed to enhance and develop the work of the centres. The growing awareness of environmental issues such as climate change also offer an opportunity to develop products with practical experiences that complement the work being undertaken within our schools and ensure they play a greater role in helping the council to achieve its wider ambitions to tackle climate change.

Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee and member lead for the project, said: “Our extensive review of Cambridgeshire Outdoors has confirmed to us that the service is highly valued and makes a strong contribution to our ambition to provide ‘the best start for Cambridgeshire’s children’ by helping children and young people from Cambridgeshire and beyond to develop necessary life skills, personal resilience and appreciation of the wider community.

“However we do need to reduce subsidies for the centres and to move to a position of financial stability and will be putting together a package of investment to carry out some urgent repairs and to better market and promote the sites.

 “There is also more that could be done to enhance the social value of the centres by ensuring that they provide these life enhancing opportunities for all children including children in care and children with disabilities. With their focus on environmental education and outdoor exercise the centres also have the potential to make a greater contribution to our wider ambitions to tackle climate change and promote healthy lifestyles.”