18 November 2010
Outdoor education is to be brought back into the heart of Caerphilly county borough communities, after Cabinet gave the initiative the green light recently (16th November).
Caerphilly County Borough Council's Cabinet agreed that to make outdoor education more accessible, efficient and economically viable across the county borough, it is necessary to bring outdoor educational opportunities to the heart of communities rather than at one relatively remote location, as is currently the case.
Cllr Lindsay Whittle, Leader of the Council said, "We are committed to providing a wide range of outdoor educational opportunities for people of all ages across our county borough, and the decision to re-locate these opportunities into the heart of our communities emphasizes this commitment".
He continued, "Ynys Hywel Activity Centre has been a fantastic asset to us and the Caerphilly county borough community for a number of years, and although the residential aspect of the centre will no longer be available to us, the first class activities the centre offered most certainly will. These facilities will now be much more accessible for more people, in a location more convenient to them".
By relocating the outdoor educational activities currently offered at Ynys Hywel Activity Centre, this is likely to create savings of £115,079 a year.
The Outdoor Education Team, currently working from Ynys Hywel, will now work closely with three teams within the council's Sports Development Service, known as Community Area Networks (CAN's). These teams are based at various locations across Caerphilly county borough and provide a wide and varied range of activities for residents to take part in at a location that is convenient to them.
Cllr Phil Bevan, Cabinet Member for Education and Leisure said, "We are confident that there are a number of advantages to merging our Outdoor Education Service with the CAN teams, which as well as being more economically viable also helps improve coordination and strengthen existing links with initiatives such as Healthy Schools, Eco Schools, 5x60 and Foundation Phase".
Cllr Whittle continued, "In these austere times, we must of course be mindful that as wonderful as it is to have residential facilities such as Ynys Hywel available to us, we must set this against the provision of core council services. This decision, I firmly believe will provide us with the best of both worlds – we will create significant financial savings through selling the Ynys Hywel building while continuing to provide a first class outdoor education service to our residents".
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