Popular centre is set to close

Freiston Centre for Environmental Education, set to close due to funding cuts.
Freiston Centre for Environmental Education, set to close due to funding cuts.
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A popular education centre used by children from south Lincolnshire schools for more than 40 years is to close, with the loss of seven jobs.

Freiston Centre for Environmental Education near Boston is set to shut on August 31 following a funding axe by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC).

The centre, in Church Road, provides specialist outdoors activities and educational events for all ages – but has been particuarly popular with children’s groups and school trips.

On-site facilities include a climbing tower, food technology centre, archery range, small woodland and aerial ropes course. They also organise off-site activities, including bushcraft and orienteering.

Former employee Susan Skinner, who was made redundant in April, said: “I worked there for 24 years and think it’s so sad it may close. It’s been going since 1973 and makes a huge difference to the children who use it, especially the special needs schools who come every week.”

A resident, who asked not to be named, added: “It’s a fantastic facility for education and encouraging healthy outdoors activities.”

In a statement Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for Children’s Services at LCC, said: “In this difficult financial climate when we have to find substantial savings, we have to prioritise those essential frontline services.

“The Freiston Centre is managed for us by the CfBT Education Trust and has provided valuable experiences to children for a number of years. But this isn’t one of our statutory services and we have to protect those essential services such as safeguarding, fostering and adoption, ahead of any other funding support.

“The centre relies on a subsidy from the council and is in need of significant investment to keep it open – we cannot afford this when frontline services are under such pressure.

“We will be exploring potential opportunities with providers within the market place to keep the centre open to deliver new services.”

LCC says it has to find £120 million savings over the next few years.