Arthog celebrates 60 years of evolution
Arthog, the outdoor education centre in Wales owned and run by Telford & Wrekin Council, celebrates 60 years since being opened as an adventure destination for tens of thousands of school children where they take part in outdoor pursuits and challenges that they are unlikely to tackle at home or school.
The centre at Arthog has a special place in the hearts of many Telford and Wrekin people (with memories made for life and skills nurtured) and it continues to go from strength to strength, providing a huge enrichment for every generation.
“Outdoor education experiences add real value to the development of our children and young people. A visit to Arthog should be seen as central to their education”, explains Councillor Shirley Reynolds (Labour), Telford & Wrekin’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young people and Families.
“We are very keen for our borough’s children to learn by experience. There are many things they can learn by coming to Arthog that no school or amount of textbooks could teach”, Cllr Reynolds adds.
“We’ve climbed a mountain, we’ve also climbed a cliff, we went canoeing and we did lots of activities. My favourite one has been climbing the cliff. Because I went two time: The first time I couldn’t do it and wanted to cry. But the second time I actually could and I laughed through it. It just boosted in my confidence a bit.” – says a student from Sir Alexander Fleming school in Telford, who went to Arthog Mid-May this year.
Speaking of Arthog benefits, Cllr Reynolds highlights: “Being active, combining mental and physical challenges, working in teams, forming friendships in this beautiful setting in the Welsh hills makes for a unique experience that stays for lifetime.
“So many people in our borough have precious memories of how they went to Arthog as a child, I am one of them. Walking through these mountains …I don’t remember it being wet and horrible. I remember it being fantastic!”
So what does the future hold for Arthog? Cllr Reynolds wants it to “continue for at least another 60 years”:
“It’s so important that our Council continues to improve and develop Arthog, so even more people can enjoy what it has to offer. We are committed to investing in this centre to ensure it provides for Telford and Wrekin generations.
“And it’s not only children coming to Arthog but adults can take advantage of this facility as well. It helps build that team-building ethos in your organisation and skills you might not even know you’ve got”.
Cllr Reynolds shares her birthday message: “Happy Birthday, Arthog! Thank you to all our staff working at the centre or connected with it, to our kitchen, cleaning employees, our centre leaders, our fantastic schools we work with, all of them and many others keep this amazing facility evolving.”
And “evolution” is the key, as Mark Youd, Centre Manager of Arthog Outdoor Education Centre points out. “We are celebrating this month the 60th year of evolution of Arthog Outdoor Education Centre. The way it has evolved and grown over the years is part of the centre’s character.”
He explains “Year by year, we are continuing the momentum of Arthog’s evolution, developing our facilities, expanding our staff team, our capabilities and building on those strong foundations that have been put in place for the past 60 years.
“We have huge support from the public, we couldn’t do it without them- returning schools, group leaders, who all remember Arthog, how it has been here as a child themselves and now they are bringing others in.”
Mark welcomes the investment into Arthog that the Council is keen to continue: “There has been lots of investment into Arthog over the past years, and I hope it continues, to keep the facility looking great and to meet the needs of all our users for the future.
“We want more people from all walks of lives, from all abilities to come and experience life at Arthog, at the beach, in the mountains, away from technology – it’s life changing.”
So, how will people “from all walks of lives, from all abilities” be encouraged to come to Arthog?
Rob Wilson, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Telford & Wrekin Council has an answer: “As we look forward to the next 60 years, I am coordinating a project looking to get more diversity involved in Arthog.
“So far, we’ve engaged with a couple of schools in our borough to have student ambassadors from their Year 9 and Year 10 visiting Arthog. The ambassadors will enjoy a wide range of activities at the centre, such as rock climbing, canoeing and will be able to come up with plans to get other diverse young people involved with Arthog.
“Next year we will extend this programme so more schools and diverse young people in our borough can benefit from the outdoor opportunities offered by Telford & Wrekin Council.”
Over the past 60 years of being a full time outdoor education centre, Arthog has hosted well over 100,000 people.
Demand for places continues to rise and the facilities and activities on offer are increasingly being used by a broader spectrum of user groups.
The centre is open to children and young people as well as adults, places can be booked by calling 01341 250455 or by visiting www.arthog.co.uk