Covid-19 Residential Outdoor Education Centre Recovery Fund

The Scottish Government has announced a £2 million recovery fund to support the sustainability of residential outdoor centres in Scotland.

The Covid-19 Residential Outdoor Education Centre Recovery Fund is open to third and private sector centres that have been financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on residential stays. Centres must have been providing activities previously to be able to apply.

The funding aims to keep outdoor centres in business – allowing them to continue to benefit current and future generations of learners – and allow centre staff to support outdoor learning in schools and other formal education settings where appropriate. 

The fund, administered by YouthLink Scotland, will have two separate rounds, with round one now open for applications. Centres are invited to apply to round one for support with essential running costs. The deadline for applications to round one is 1pm on 11 December 2020.

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead said: "Residential outdoor education centres are facing severe challenges. As well as providing much-needed support, this fund will mean pupils can continue to benefit from outdoor learning, which is an important aspect of Scotland’s curriculum and can play a vital role in supporting children’s wellbeing and attainment.

“I hope this funding, along with third sector and youth work funding streams which are already available, alleviates some of the pressures and allows centres to offer meaningful experiences to young people.

“Funding on its own will not address all of the challenges facing the sector. We will continue to engage with local authorities to support the important role that outdoor education centres and their staff can play during the period when overnight residential stays are not permitted for public health reasons.”

Commenting on the launch of the fund, YouthLink Scotland CEO Tim Frew, said: 

“We welcome the launch of this fund, it will be crucial to the future of our outdoor residential centres, which are a key fabric of the Scotland’s wider education system, including youth work. Access to these opportunities is an important part of education recovery as we move through and past the pandemic.

“Outdoor learning contributes to young people’s health and wellbeing, builds essential life and work skills, while connecting them in a special way to their immediate environment and to the wider world and its issues. The value of outdoor learning cannot be underestimated so it is critical that we ensure the survival of our outdoor centres.”

For further information or help with your application form, please register for one of the applicant support sessions (see Guidance for Applicants for details) or contact: Jane Dailly, National Grants Manager, YouthLink Scotland.

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