£200,000 for Ufton Court Adventure
Ufton Court Educational Trust is a registered charity established in 2006, which aims to provide an inspirational historical home offering an innovative and challenging outdoor environmental education experience to young people.
Ufton Court Adventure is a residential centre based in the woods at Ufton Court that will provide those most in need with repeated access to residential outdoor adventure. Innovative programmes have been piloted over the last three years to develop confidence, independence and a positive attitude to challenge. As well as the physical challenges such as climbing, canoeing and mountain biking, time is created for reflection and discussion with experienced mentors. Young people are accompanied on their visits by teachers or youth workers who ensure that learning achieved during their visit is integrated back into their home and school lives.
The Charity has identified 1,843 disadvantaged children in West Berkshire who would benefit from repeated visits to Ufton Court.
As well as a £18,000 reactive grant the project received from Greenham Common Trust to help build one of seven accommodation log cabins, a further £200,000 was also awarded to Ufton Court Adventure under the Trust's CBIP funding stream towards the construction of the new outward bound adventure centre.
Mary Riall, Director of the Ufton Court Educational Trust, said; 'The grant from Greenham Common Trust has transformed the progress and impact of the project. We can now welcome young people, a year earlier than planned, to a complete and fully equipped site, that can be used throughout the year, enabling us to reach more young people and offer a higher quality experience.'
Simon Blomfield, manager of Ufton Court Adventure, added: "At Ufton Court Adventure, we aim to reach out to local children and young people who have difficulty accessing woodland environments because of limiting factors such as socio-economic, cultural or mobility reasons. By removing the desks, chairs, walls and the influx of technology that a child may face in the average day, we aim to captivate them through a journey of curiosity and exploration of themselves and their environment."
Their Royal Highnesses, The Earl and Countess of Wessex officially opened Ufton Court Adventure on May 6th 2014 as part of The Earl's 50th birthday tour
Children who have already visited Ufton Court Adventure had the following comments:
“I have taken away from the experience ... more confidence, believing in myself and carrying on.”
"I learned that I should not be scared to try new things, get to know new people and be able to talk to them"
"It has made me more confident to speak to people, inspired me to push for better GCSE grades and has helped improve the relationships I have with my family."
Ufton Court Adventure Changed Jade's life
(names have been changed to protect identities)
In November 2005, when she was 8, Jade’s father died and she went through a very difficult period when she found it hard to cope with every day things. Later, she described herself as feeling “cut-off from everything, different to everyone else, withdrawn and very sad.” These feelings led to loss of confidence both at home and school.
During her two following school years, Jade was given the opportunity to go on a residential trip to Rhos-Y-Gwaliau in North Wales, but didn’t go. She was worried about being away from mum for a whole week and the distance involved if she was homesick and needed to return home. The £195 cost, although reduced from £300, was prohibitive for her mum. In Year 6, Jade was also given the chance to spend two nights at Ufton Court during Easter holidays. The number of nights away, low cost and proximity to home made Ufton Court a more attractive opportunity than Rhos-Y-Gwaliau.
The experience was transforming, with mum describing Jade as much more confident after being away. Jade repeated the experience during the summer holidays, just before starting secondary school. She recognises the difference that her visits to Ufton Court have made to her – confidence, independence, new friends and the opportunity to experience new things. She also understands that the camp made her “face the world” and believe in herself enough to think about the future. At her secondary school, Jade talks about university, a career in journalism or teaching, and takes every opportunity that comes her way. Without opportunities like Ufton Court, Jade says, “I would never have come this far or achieved as much as I have.”
For more information on Ufton Court please visit www.uftoncourt.co.uk