THE much-loved Lake District outdoor centre set up for South Tyneside youngsters is to get an eco-friendly makeover.
Thurston Outdoor Education Centre near Coniston in the Lake District has given tens of thousands children from the borough a chance to take part in a range of adventure activities for decades.
Now the centre, which is owned and managed by South Tyneside Council, has been given a £243,750 National Lottery grant from Sport England’s Improvement Fund to bring in a raft of green energy measures.
These include solar panels, a ground-source heat pump, double glazing and water-saving measures.
The measures, which also received 25 per cent match funding from the council, will lead to energy savings of between 40 per cent and 50 per cent and result in savings of up to £20,000 a year.
The council said it is the only outdoor education centre in the country to receive this funding from Sport England and is currently being used as an exemplar to encourage similar centres across the UK to apply.
It said the funding will enable a series of environmental features to be implemented which will reduce energy costs and minimise the centre’s impact on the environment.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, lead member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “We know that Thurston holds a special place in the hearts of many local residents who have fond memories of learning new skills at the Centre.
“This innovative work will not only mean that Thurston is more energy efficient, it will also deliver real savings in running costs.”
Set in 43 acres of grounds on the shores of Lake Coniston, Thurston offers residential stays for South Tyneside schools and private groups.
It offers a range of outdoor pursuits including sailing, kayaking, walking and climbing.
To find out more about Thurston, visit www.thurston-oec.co.uk.