Outdoor education centres in North Yorkshire saved 'from the jaws of death' with £4m investment
Bewerley Park was built in the 1940s and has been used by schoolchildren across North Yorkshire for decades. It offers activities including canoeing, rock climbing and orienteering so young people can learn life skills and have fun.
The council’s Outdoor Learning Service charges between £145 and £170 per night to attend Bewerley Park but the council said it has struggled to turn a profit since 2015 with the service losing money during some years. This year it hiked the charge by up to £30 a night due to inflationary pressures.
The council’s Conservative executive member for finance, Gareth Dadd, said the service was “on its knees” but the investment has rescued the two sites “from the jaws of death”.
He added: “We were ready to send bulldozers in. Let’s make no bones about it. Officers and staff have responded and come up with what is a sustainable business model. Credit to them all in developing that.”
Further works at Bewerley Park could take place at a later date with a decision expected by 2028. Cllr Dadd said any future expansion will be dependent on the success of the new accomodation block.
The council will still need to obtain planning permission for the work but it says the centres will remain open during construction.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Coun Annabel Wilkinson, added: “This is an exciting project. For decades both centres have proven very popular, being visited by generations of families. Thousands of children and young people visit the centres each year and leave with positive, happy memories.
“It’s vital that our centres continue to deliver wonderful experiences in a more modern environment.”