Kingswood — the leading educational activity services provider — has been selected as the preferred purchaser of the 50-acre former Earth Centre visitor attraction in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire.
Kingswood will undertake a multi-million pound investment programme to create a flagship residential educational activity centre on the site, which has been vacant since 2004. Kingswood's proposal is a natural continuation of the site's heritage as a centre for learning for children and young people, focused on environmental sustainability. The centre will attract UK and international schools and groups who will be eager to experience Kingswood's programmes and activities within the site's established parkland setting. Kingswood expects to create up to 200 jobs within 18 months of opening, from educational instruction through to IT support and catering, providing a welcome boost to the local economy.
The addition of a new Kingswood centre in Conisbrough, demonstrates Kingswood's continued commitment to expanding Learning Outside the Classroom and the provision of outdoor education services in the UK. This development follows the successful opening of Grosvenor Hall in Ashford in 2010. Kingswood has a 30-year track record and a portfolio of eight residential centres in the UK and one in France.
Kingswood plans to retain and refurbish the existing buildings as well as build new accommodation units for visiting students and teachers. The centre will initially feature accommodation for 400 pupils and teachers, an 11,000 sq foot indoor activity and sports hall, as well as classrooms for ICT, field studies and conferences. The centre will offer low height initiative exercises, a high adrenaline ropes park for team building activities and multiple options for evening entertainments, including indoor and outdoor amphitheatres and performing arts facilities.
Linda Addy, Kingswood Managing Director continued "We are delighted to have been successful in this tender process. We shall take great care in ensuring the facilities are affordable for local schools, so that teachers and pupils across Doncaster and South Yorkshire can take advantage of this important educational resource on their doorstep. We are keen to get local people involved and I will be organising meetings for local residents in April to outline our plans for the site and the local job opportunities it will create."
Matt Healey, Kingswood Head of Education added "For over three decades, Kingswood has helped to provide young people, and teachers alike, with the opportunity to explore and fulfil their potential. Listening to teachers' needs has helped us become industry leaders in meeting curriculum standards and teachers' objectives. As well as Kingswood's core programmes, we will offer an innovative high quality educational programme which will make the most of the site's facilities and its heritage as a centre of learning for environmental sustainability."
All Kingswood UK sites have been awarded prestigious Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badges by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, an organisation set up by the Department for Children, Schools and Families to promote and champion educational experiences outside the classroom.