Hundreds of jobs will be lost if outdoor education centres are not allowed to reopen soon, says MP

Hundreds of jobs and hundreds of thousands of pounds will be lost from the county if outdoor education centres are not allowed to reopen soon, an MP has warned.

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson at PGL Boreatton
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson at PGL Boreatton

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson has stepped into the battle to save the centres.

Shropshire and Mid Wales are home to a number of centres such as the PGL site near Bashchurch, the Arthog centre in Wales and Manor Adventure Outdoor Centre in Culmington.

Mr Paterson has written to the Government’s education and health ministers saying the coronavirus risk of such a centre is less than that of a school.

It follows a visit to PGL Boreatton Park for talks with the national company’s CEO, Anthony Jones. Mr Jones said the centre, which has 900 beds, welcomed 34,000 young people to Shropshire in 2019 and employed 270 staff during the season.

“We have been closed since March and have had to make 91 people redundant,” he said. “Now we are now fighting to save the remaining 170 jobs.

“We are not asking to reopen now, or when lockdown ends, but simply that we can start planning to reopen for the middle of February next year. If we don’t get the go-ahead we will lose our 2021 season.”

Mr Vaughan Phillips, director of Manor Adventure added: "I am worried about the mental health of the young people who are missing out on the chance to get out into the countryside and enjoy what we offer. We are Covid-safe and ready to go.”

Mr Paterson said: “It is preposterous that these centres can not welcome young people who are already in a school bubble.

“It is absolutely vital the review of guidance on overnight school trips is accepted on November 30.”

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