Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border has this week been part of the formation of a new cross party group of MPs and stakeholders in support of Outdoor Education.
Residential Outdoor Education Centres have not been able to open for school groups since March when the national lockdown came into force. The most recent Government guidelines state that there will be a complete ban on school residentials for 2020, and no further information for 2021 season will be provided until later this year. Many centres are facing possible closure, which may lead to many job losses in Cumbria and the surrounding area.
The newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Outdoor Learning, of which Dr Hudson is a Vice Chair, met for the first time this week. With representation from MPs from across the political spectrum and across the UK, the group has been formed to support the sector in these challenging times.
Speaking after the inaugural meeting Dr Hudson said, “I am delighted to be a part of this new cross party group. These outdoor centres provide such an important parallel education for young people and adults alike. It is so important that these centres are still there and viable as we move through the phases of lockdown so that this educational resource can be enjoyed in years to come. We will be pushing for the centres to be allowed to open for residential visits as soon as is feasible and in the meantime we are continuing to call for targeted financial support to protect this invaluable sector.”