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Outdoor centre set for £325,000 ‘green’ facelift

OUTWARD BOUND ... Coun Joan Atkinson with Ian Thurlbeck of Sport England. Inset, Thurston Outdoor Education Centre in the Lake District.

OUTWARD BOUND ... Coun Joan Atkinson with Ian Thurlbeck of Sport England. Inset, Thurston Outdoor Education Centre in the Lake District.

SOUTH Tyneside’s Lake District outdoor centre is to get a £325,000 “green” facelift.

The Thurston Outdoor Education Centre, on the east shore of Coniston Water, in the heart of the Lake District’s National Park, has been awarded £243,750 in National Lottery funding

South Tyneside Council has also invested 25 per cent match funding, bringing the project total to £325,000.

Two thousand children and young people from the borough use the centre – a former Victorian rural retreat on a 43-acre site – each year for residential and day-based packages, including team working and outward-bound activities.

The money, from Sport England’s improvement fund, has been awarded to sustainable projects that will help minimise a site’s impact on the environment.

The investment at Thurston will include the installation of hydroelectricity, ground source heat pumps, solar panels, insulation and improved water-saving measures.

Coun Joan Atkinson, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for children, young people and families, said: “We are delighted to have secured the crucial investment from Sport England.

“Thurston has played a big part in the lives of generations of young people from the borough. All of the work will ensure the centre is environmentally stable for the next 50 years.

“The wider programme of work will make Thurston more sustainable and reduce reliance and money spent on expensive carbon-based fuels.

“It will provide more opportunities for young people and residents, and also help them to learn how they can make environmentally-friendly changes in their community.”

By ensuring a facility is environmentally sustainable, sports clubs can save money on their running costs.

Sport England property director, Charles Johnston, said: “We know people have a better experience of sport when they have good facilities in which to play. This investment will ensure the people of South Tyneside will be able to develop a sporting habit for life, in a first-class, environmental sports facility.”

Schools, colleges or youth groups wanting further information about Thurston can call 0153 944 1218, or visit www.facebook.com/ThurstonOEC.

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