Brathay Trust - working with Wigans Outdoor Centres

date.png Thu 2nd Feb time.png 10:07

Council secures future of Lakeland outdoor centres

Wigan Council has secured the future of its two outdoor education centres in the Lake District thanks to an exciting new partnership with a national charity.



At its meeting on Thursday January 26 members of Wigan Council’s Cabinet decided to enter into an agreement with the Brathay Trust which means the twin centres of Low Bank Ground and Hinning House will be able to provide high-quality outdoor education experiences for years to come.

Low Bank Ground on the shores of Lake Conniston has been owned by Wigan Council since 1983 and Hinning House in the Duddon Valley has been a council property since the 1970s. The running of the centres has been subsidised at a cost of £200,000 per year.

 

However significant pressure council budgets prompted education chiefs to look at possible options for the future of the two centres.

The council must reduce its budgets by £66M over the next four years and the council’s cabinet has pledged to protect those vital front line services that people in our borough rely on.

 

Whilst selling the two facilities had been a distinct possibility, the council were determined to find a more creative solution as it has previously done with the borough’s libraries, swimming pools and leisure venues.

Cabinet heard that following an extensive tendering exercise Brathay Trust, which has bases in both the Lake District and Wigan, was identified as an ideal partner.

 

Brathay will now lease the centres for the next seven years and will keep the existing staff. As part of the contract Brathay will also take responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the buildings.

 

The agreement stipulates that the centres must be available for Wigan families.

Welcoming the move, Leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith says: “The Lake District may be relatively close to Wigan Borough but we are conscious that many children and young people from our borough would never have been or indeed have the chance to go. This was uppermost in our minds when we went to view Low Bank Ground nearly 26 years ago. From the many reports we have had back since about children and young people literally having the time of their lives at these centres it is clear we made the right decision to invest in them.
“I am therefore delighted that we can develop a partnership with Brathay that will enable future generations of local children to broaden their experiences by visiting the Lakes.”

Brathay Trust has 65 years’ experience working with children and young people on outdoor education projects.

The Trust Chief Executive, Godfrey Owen, says: “We’re delighted that we have been given the opportunity to manage the two centres and we will continue the invaluable work that Wigan Council has been doing in recent years. The partnership is expected to bring many benefits for children and young people in Wigan and it is a fantastic solution for both them and the council.”


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