Panshanger Park Forest School announces closure

PUBLISHED: 11:51 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:14 14 May 2018

Panshanger Park's Forest School

Panshanger Park's Forest School

Archant

A Welwyn Garden City activity school is closing down after failing to secure a new source of funding.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust announced this week that Panshanger Park Forest School will close for good in July.

The school, which is a Tarmac initiative delivered in partnership with the Trust, has now reached the end of the project funding provided by Tarmac, and the Trust and Tarmac have been unable to find the funding needed to secure its future.

It will continue to run for the summer term and will close from the end of July.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “We are sad that the school will be coming to an end but we are very proud of what we have achieved with the school and we would like to thank the local community for their support.”

Since it opened in February 2015, the school has welcomed over 1,700 local children to take part in activities that encourage creativity and exploration in the beautiful surroundings of Panshanger Park.

Residents took to the WHT Facebook page to express their sadness and anger.

Laura Keenan, of Panshanger, said: “My daughter went there last year and absolutely loved it. She wanted to go again.”

Tony Moule said: “With all the activity centres closed due to continued cuts no wonder kids and youngsters get bored and go off the rails.”

Sarajane Marchant said: “Becky and the team have worked very hard to make this a special place for children to experience the outside space on their doorstep so this is very sad.”

Despite the closure, the Trust and Tarmac will continue to work in partnership through the Panshanger People and Wildlife Project to welcome visitors to the park through volunteering opportunities and events such as the Festival of Wildlife.

Tarmac declined to comment on why it would not continue to fund the school but said it was “committed” to offering a different form of outdoor education at the park.

The spokesman added: “We are currently working with other parties to look at alternative models to keep this wonderful resource alive so more children can come along, be creative and learn about the natural environment.”

In November last year Cuffley Camp announced its closure due to cuts by Hertfordshire County Council.

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