Outdoor activity centre celebrates 20 years - what are your memories of it?
Ten thousand children will have fond memories of outdoor fun and games on the north Norfolk coast, thanks to a residential activity centre celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The National Trust’s Brancaster activity centre opened in 1998 following the conversion of cottages and a barn and has since welcomed more than 10,000 children. The centre offers a range of opportunities for children to enjoy including water sports, orienteering and seal trips to nearby Blakeney Point, all designed with fun and learning in mind.
Many of the children who have visited the centre might otherwise have not been able to enjoy outdoor experiences.
But the centre’s 20 years has not all be plain sailing as the building was extensively damaged by flooding during the tidal surge in December 2013.
But, following repair and restoration, the centre reopened in June 2015 and has been welcoming children ever since.
National Trust centre manager Tracey Sizeland said: “As we celebrate 20 years, it’s amazing to think how many children have made memories here.
“We have a great team of staff and volunteers who are committed to helping make a difference to children’s lives.
“We believe children deserve the chance to experience the outdoors and exposure to physical activity in the real world is an integral part of growing up.
“We also recognise that not all families can afford to send their children on school trips, but thanks to the continued generous support and donations to Brancaster’s bursary fund, over 1,000 children have been able to visit the centre who otherwise may not have had the opportunity.”
The bursary was created in memory of Caroline Gundle whose family wanted to raise funds for a cause that would support children. More than £60,000 has been raised through this bursary scheme since 2001, and it continues to receive regular donations.
With many schools visiting year after year, learning outside of the classroom is an approach that many teachers welcome. As well as building confidence and social skills, more children are getting the chance to learn about rare habitats while developing a deeper connection to the natural world, which they will carry forward into adulthood.