Earl of Wessex to open Devon's new world class outdoor education centre

Haven Banks

Date: Thursday 18 July 2013

The Earl of Wessex will officially open Devon County Council's new world class outdoor education and training centre in Exeter.

The Earl will visit the £5.6 million centre at Haven Banks on Exeter's quayside on July 22 at 1.50pm.

He will see the classrooms and facilities as well as watching students kayaking and sailing on the River Exe and climbing and descending the power fan within the new climbing enclosure.

Tower The centre itself was officially handed over last month and activities have already begun. It replaces the existing, outdated activity centre on the canal basin. Devon County Council is funding the building and, in a pioneering partnership, it will be run by Exeter College on a day-to-day basis.

The existing activity centre currently provides outdoor education courses for more than 25,000 young people a year. They include courses for sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, climbing, caving, orienteering, archery, raft building, team building and first aid at Haven Banks and locations around Devon.

The new centre will increase the take-up by providing a contemporary hub for outdoor adventure activities for young people and adults from Exeter and Devon and across the region.

Devon County Council leader, John Hart, said: "This is another major investment in Exeter by Devon County Council which will only serve to boost the economy of the city.

"It is the biggest single sum ever to be allocated from the proceeds of the sale of Exeter Airport. The new centre will provide 21st century facilities for a wide range of activities for both young people and adults in the growing sector of adventure pursuits. It is a major boost for Exeter and I am delighted that we have been able to enter into a long-term partnership with Exeter College to run the whole operation."

Classroom Centre manager Ben Hedden said: "This facility provides Exeter and the wider community with recreational and educational facilities which are second to none. They will allow us to further engage young people and adults of every ability in the positive, adventurous activities we already provide. Our former facilities served us well for over 25 years. But the new centre offers state-of-the-art facilities which will complement and extend the professional courses and activities we provide."

Exeter College Principal, Richard Atkins, said: "Exeter College is delighted to be working as a strategic partner with Devon County Council establishing a world-class outdoor education and training centre for the people of Devon.

Climbing Wall "This new centre will enable us to offer an innovative approach to education and training, with provision that will encompass the individual needs of a wide range of students, including those who are currently disengaged from education through to professionals undertaking training and development in leadership and management.

"We are looking forward to managing this new centre which will be an outstanding learning environment benefiting a wide range of learners from across Devon in this exciting and growing sector and we delighted that the Earl of Wessex is able to officially open the centre."

Representatives from contractors Midas Construction and project managers NPS Property Services will be at the opening. Midas said: "This is a wonderful project and Midas is very proud to be associated with what will become a landmark building that will benefit so many young people in the Westcountry."

Local county councillor Roy Hill said: "I'm delighted this first class facility is opening in the heart of Exeter and that so many young people across the county will be able to participate in the activities on offer."

Click here to view pictures from the visit

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