Lucy Gomes, who launched a petition to save the outdoor education centres at Oxenwood (near Marlborough) and Braeside (in Devizes) from closure by Wiltshire Council – and sale – has issued a progress report on moves that should keep both centres open and offering services to Wiltshire schoolchildren.
Ms Gomes is a local parent whose children had enjoyed their time at the centres.
First Oxenwood. After a very long drawn-out transfer process, Community First are a hair’s breadth from the successful takeover of the running of Oxenwood from Wiltshire Council. This is FANTASTIC news as it ensures the continuation of affordable, high quality outdoor education for the young people of Wiltshire at this amazing place. Community First is an amazing organisation and I wish them every success.
Now for Braeside. The previously successful bid from Lackham College was withdrawn and so it was back to the drawing board – which was incredibly frustrating for all concerned, especially the staff of Braeside.
The good news is that the closure of the Braeside site that a move to Lackham would have brought about, is now off the table and I understand that the site has been officially designated as being for education and recreation only.
Any change of use will be very difficult to bring about. This is great news. There are now two new bids under consideration from Wiltshire Council to take over the Devizes site.
It’s been a very long road and we are not there yet, but it looks like outdoor education in Wiltshire is set to continue – fingers crossed – at both Oxenwood AND Braeside.
Lucy Gomes’ report was posted on change.org – which hosted her petition – gathering 16,463 signatures.