Despite the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Arthog Outdoor Education Centres have ensured school children have still been able to get out and about, taking on challenges such as archery, climbing and canoeing.
Council services have collaborated to ensure activities can continue in a covid-safe way at schools, hubs such as Telford Town Park and at outdoor activity venues across Telford and Shropshire.
In some of the most difficult circumstances in living memory, the teams from Arthog Wales, Arthog Outreach and Sky Reach High Ropes have kept outdoor education an enjoyable reality for youngsters across Telford and Shropshire.
Now the council is spreading the word further, ensuring children at all the schools across Telford and Wrekin get the opportunity for some seriously fun outdoor activities, whilst learning at the same time!
The work of the Arthog teams this year has seen youngsters from across Telford and Wrekin enjoying canoeing on the Montgomery Canal and on Simpsons Pool.
Exploring the local fields and hedges, to make fire and hedgerow tea, walking up the Wrekin to explore its place in history, climbing and walking at Llanymynech, Grinshill, and Corbett Woods.
Team-building and tower climbing days were held on school grounds, while groups of children were taken on walks up Limekiln Lane and into Short Wood for a Stone Age experience which even included tracking the deer.
Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "The pandemic brought so many challenges to our outdoor education services but, rather than thinking of what we couldn’t do, we have been focusing on all the opportunities that are still out there – and even creating new ones.
"The collaborative approach of Arthog Wales, Arthog Outreach and Sky Reach High Ropes meant that our outdoor education services could continue despite the pandemic”.
"This has been essential in keeping children fit and well, particularly now at these challenging times.”
"I would like to thank all our staff involved in keeping these services going, and another massive ‘thank-you’ to all the schools who have booked activities with us throughout this time.”
Gail Butele, deputy head at Short Wood Primary School, said: "We currently have children on our pool with Martin (from Arthog Outreach) in a canoe and the joy in their responses is a delight to hear. The team have done a great job in helping us make that happen.”
Sarah Staniforth, acting head teacher at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, said: "Arthog Outreach offered us the opportunity to plan outdoor and adventurous activities that could happen locally.”
"The cherry on top of the cake for me was to see the Arthog Wales instructors at school collecting children for a day of fun adventures and children returning at the end of the day full of excitement and stories of what they had been up to.”
"Now more than ever, it is important for us to keep providing these opportunities for children to ensure that they keep health and active as well as contributing positively to their mental health and wellbeing.”
Any school interested in finding out more about Arthog activities or making a booking should email email@example.com.
Photo: Old Park Primary school children enjoying Arthog canoeing activities in December 2020