Eltham’s Wide Horizons children’s activity charity has launched an appeal to fight for its future after school cuts led to it announcing plans to pull out of its main centre on Bexley Road.
The charity, which can date its heritage back to the founding of a outdoor centre in Swanage, Dorset in 1929, was spun out of Greenwich and Lewisham councils in 2004 after they inherited the centres from the old Inner London Education Authority.
But cuts in school budgets have led to a drop in demand for its services. It is now appealing to the public for £100,000 to give it breathing space to implement a new business plan.
It plans to withdraw from four of its nine centres, including its Environment Centre in Eltham, to save money.
Thousands of children from Greenwich and Lewisham
The charity says that while the Bexley Road Environment Centre will be handed back to Greenwich Council, it will continue to operate day visits at its Woodland Centre in Shooters Hill and the Tump 53 Nature Reserve in Thamesmead, as well as running outreach services in locations such as Beckenham Place Park, Crystal Palace Park and green spaces within school grounds.
While the charity now operates across London and beyond, many of the thousands of children that use its services come from its home boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham. The two councils recently agreed a £1.3m refinancing package for the charity.
Its headquarters will move from Eltham to its residential centre in Wrotham, Kent as part of the restructuring. Residential centres near Swanage and Llangollen, north Wales, will also stay open.
Chief executive Peter Rogers says: “Wide Horizons is rightly proud of the outdoor education it delivers in fun, challenging and exciting ways and the real benefits this brings to children’s lives.
“We sincerely hope the public will get behind us to enable us to continue to deliver these opportunities to the most disadvantaged children.”
To find out more, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/save-wide-horizons.
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