Call to stop outdoor centres closing

Fordell Firs.Fordell Firs.
Fordell Firs.
Fife MSP Alex Rowley has written to Fife Council and the Scottish Government insisting urgent action is taken to help save outdoor education centres at risk of closure due to the covid crisis.

The Labour MSP has written to Fife Council asking if it has put in place or is it planning to put in place a recovery plan for outdoor education venues run by Fife Council or paid for through Fife Council.

Mr Rowley has also asked if the council has looked at what support they can give organisations such as Scouts Scotland who are based in Fife at Fordell Firs and are widely used by Fife schools and Fife groups.

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Mr Rowley said: “Many organisations in the sector have told me about how outdoor learning is a key part of their youth work, but the coronavirus crisis has left the sector in critical need of financial support.

“The sector is yet to receive the urgent support it requires to prevent the permanent closure of many of Scotland’s outdoor residential centres. With no residential overnight trips taking place, the main income stream is cut off for most centres.

“Organisations are having to make difficult decisions about whether or not to close their outdoor education centres as a result of the pandemic exacerbating financial difficulties. On top of those that have already closed, there is still a risk many further centres across Scotland could close for good.

“The Scottish Government need to come forward with a recovery plan for organisations like Scouts Scotland and Girlguiding Scotland given both are saying their outdoor facilities are at risk of closure.

"The survival of outdoor education is essential and the Scottish Government, working with local authorities, must do everything it can to ensure that survival.”