Scotland’s outdoor education sector has issued a call to the Scottish Government to support outdoor residential centres or face losing them forever. The sector is asking Scottish Government to review its decision not to provide a financial support package to the sector, while it remains unable to operate as normal due to the impact of Covid-19.
A petition on behalf of the sector has been launched, gathering 500 signatures within hours of its publication and now standing at around 18,000.
On 14 August, the Scottish Government issued advice to local authorities that school residential trips should not take place until at least the Spring term in 2021. With no review date set, and no financial support package in place, it is feared that the closure of GirlGuiding Scotland’s centre, Nertherurd House.
YouthLink Scotland CEO Tim Frew, said: “Outdoor residential centres are a key fabric of the Scotland’s wider education system, including youth work. The positive impact of learning outdoors on young people’s health is well attested and as important part of education recovery as the return of schools. We support Scotland’s outdoor sector providers as they seek support to prevent closures.”
The #SaveYourOutdoorCentres campaign is urging all people in Scotland who have benefited from a residential experience over the years, as well as teachers, youth workers, support networks for young people with additional needs, and any parents and young participants who have recently benefited from a residential outdoor learning experience, or who were looking forward to their turn, to write to their MSPs and the Government and demand they #saveyouroutdoorcentres.
What you can do:
- Sign the petition.
- Write to your MSP and/or John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills. Template letter.
- Share both the petition and the template letter with your members, your service users, your boards, your staff, your stakeholders and ask them to sign petition and write to their MSPs.
- If you have SNP MSPs or Government Ministers in your network that you know well enough to have a conversation with, and you are willing, please talk to them about the importance of outdoor residential experiences and urge them to find a solution before the outdoor centre sector is decimated.
- Promote on your organisational and personal social media accounts to further raise awareness of the campaign.