AN outdoor education centre in Herefordshire has been saved from the threat of closure thanks to a new partnership.

Northamptonshire County Council currently owns the Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre and was seeking to sell it as a going concern.

The newly formed Longtown Outdoor Learning Trust has joined with the Wilson Foundation, a Northamptonshire-based youth development charity, to ensure the centre stays open.

The 70-bed residential outdoor education centre in the village at the foot of the Black Mountains specialises in providing outdoor adventure programmes for children and young people and employs 11 people from the community.

It is open all year and offers weekday and weekend programmes for schools, colleges, family groups and youth organisations.

Although the majority of the young people using the centre are from Northamptonshire, the centre is now providing courses for increasing numbers of schools and youth organisations from Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Powys and further afield including the cities of Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff.

All existing bookings will be honoured. The centre plans to improve and extend facilities and increase its summer capacity from spring next year.

Head of centre Mike Fawcett said: “Increasing numbers of schools from Herefordshire and the surrounding counties are using the centre because of our amazing location, fantastic grounds and ease of access (just over half an hour from Hereford). Over the last two years we have actively encouraged new schools and youth groups from the local area to come and experience the Longtown ‘magic’ as well as running more holiday day activities for local children.”

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