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Community First takes up the reins as Oxenwood prepares for a bright future

Published 20 January 2020
Community First takes up the reins as Oxenwood prepares for a bright future

Young people will continue to enjoy the challenges and fun of outdoor education provision at Oxenwood as a new provider takes up the reins from today (1 October).

Community First will be the new provider at the Oxenwood site which offers a range of activities, including abseiling, kayaking and bushcraft survival skills.

The changes follow a successful business and land transfer from Wiltshire Council.

Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council and Cabinet Member for Finance said: "I am delighted this well-regarded venue will continue to be a real asset for young people providing challenging fun and activities. This has been an important process and I'm delighted we are onto the next chapter. We made it clear throughout these discussions that this was about handing over the future provision to others to achieve the most sustainable long-term provision.  We have achieved this and I am also pleased the current permanent employees will be transferring to the new owners.

"Oxenwood will continue to offer a range of exciting activities specifically designed for schools and I would encourage all schools to look at what is on offer.  It has taken time to get to this point and achieve the end result we wanted, I thank the patience of the staff and schools during this time."

Lynn Gibson, the Chief Executive of Community First said, "Oxenwood is a very magical place which has a special place in the hearts of generations of local people who have accessed it during their school years. We are so delighted to have been able to secure it as an Outdoor Education Centre for generations to come. As the leading youth support provider in the county it is an important venue for our Youth Action Wiltshire programmes. In order to retain this asset for the county it is crucial that schools continue to support the centre." and contact details for bookings and enquiries are telephone 01264 731274, email; enquires@oxenwoodcentre.com or ed@oxenwoodcentre.com

Doctor Martin Hamer, Chair of Community First said, "We have all worked collaboratively for many months to make this acquisition possible. We acknowledge the professional way in which both the political arm of the council and its Officers have worked with us to secure this deal.  Thanks are also due to all Community First staff and Trustees who have played a most valuable and important part in arriving at this tremendous outcome."

Oxenwood contact details for bookings and enquiries are telephone 01264 731274, email; enquires@oxenwoodcentre.com or ed@oxenwoodcentre.com

Braeside, Wiltshire's outdoor education centre at Devizes is poised to be taken over by new providers Classes Abroad in December. For Braeside activities call 01380 722637.

A decision for Wiltshire Council to cease its provision of outdoor education at the two sites was made in March 2018. The latest developments mean outdoor education can be sustained and potentially improved in the county at no cost to the council.

This has been an important process and I'm delighted we are onto the next chapter

Published 20 January 2020