ONE of the men taking up the new leadership of an outdoor education centre used by Malvern school children has said he hopes to provide a secure long-term future for the service.
Gareth Davies and Richard Link were appointed by owners Worcestershire County Council as the new management team of Llanrug Outdoor Education Centre which is based in Snowdonia in Wales and is used by several schools in the county.
The centre has helped young people in Worcestershire for more than 30 years and offers them a unique learning experience away from home with activities including climbing, hill walking, canoeing, kayaking and more.
But its future was seriously in doubt when the county council’s cabinet asked private companies to bid to take over the site in an attempt to make much-needed savings in running costs.
This led to the launch of a campaign by schools in the county, which was supported by Malvern schools including The Chase, Dyson Perrins High School and Hanley Castle High School, to help keep the centre open.
While its future was left uncertain, Gareth and Richard – who are both directors at Llanrug – came forward as potential new providers for the centre and following a cabinet meeting held earlier this year council chiefs agreed to give the pair the keys.
The county council announced last month negotiations were being held with the view of officially handing the management of the centre to Gareth and Richard from early April.
Entering a new era, the centre now has a new name moving forward with the new title Arete Outdoor Centre and Mr Davies told the Observer the pair were excited to be taking on the management of the centre.
“This is a really exciting time for me and Richard and we can’t wait for the formalities to get ticked off so we get started,” he said.
“We just want to get the message out there that the centre is now secure and we would like to see more people use it in the future.
“It would have a been massive loss and a real disadvantage to children in Worcestershire if it had closed for good, especially given the fact its been established for more than 30 years and been a real benefit to youngsters.
“I think mine and Richard’s backgrounds and experiences will be able to combine well for the good of the centre moving forward.”
In terms of moving forward, Mr Davies said plans were being put in place for more schools to experience life at the centre and to introduce more outdoor courses for youngsters.
“We’ve started to speak to some schools about looking at a way forward such as ideas for new courses which the students can get involved in,” he added.
“And the other thing we’d like to do is to start speaking to schools in Worcestershire who haven’t yet had the benefit of using the facilities before. We’re keen to speak to them schools so they know what opportunities are available to them.
“This is something me and Richard have taken a long-term approach for and not a short-term one.”