The Education Minister has secured funding to provide much needed support to Outdoor Education Centres.
These are centres that provide curricular relevant, residential outdoor learning opportunities for children and young people.
These settings offer vital educational opportunities for children and young people throughout Northern Ireland, but have had to significantly reduce their services as a direct result of the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.
Peter Weir said: “At a time when the risk of the spread of the virus remains too great to consider the reopening of these centres, it is essential that support is provided now to enable these services to respond to the needs of our children and young people as restrictions are eased and as we emerge from this pandemic.
“The funding I have secured will enable these centres 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 when appropriate.
“Our children and young people must be able to continue to experience the immersive, fun and educational opportunities that residential outdoor centres provide. This is particularly important at a time when they are likely to have had to spend considerable time indoors, which may have affected their physical and mental health and wellbeing.”
The COVID-19 Residential Outdoor Education Centre Relief Fund will be administered by the Education Authority’s (EA) Youth Service and will be open for applications from 22 January 2021.
Funding has been provided as part of the Executive’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Notes to editors:
- Residential Outdoor Education Centres provide vital educational opportunities for children and young people throughout Northern Ireland, benefiting them by becoming involved in the outdoor learning experience, developing resilience, risk awareness and independence.
- The fund is open to voluntary youth organisations that have routinely provided curricular relevant, residential outdoor learning opportunities for children and young people aged 4-24 years before April 2020, and that can demonstrate a negative financial impact as a result of a loss of residential activity since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Further information on the scheme is available at the EA youth services website @ https://www.eani.org.uk/news/ea-welcomes-1m-funding-for-residential-outdoor-education-centres
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