Fresh hope for Doncaster study centre

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

A WORKING group has been set up to see if the field study centre at Austerfield, Doncaster, can be saved.

Bawtry Town Councillors are writing to their counterparts on Austerfield Parish Council expressing support and suggesting that a possible solution to the impending closure would be for the facility to be run by a team of volunteers, along the lines of Bawtry Community Library.

The well-used environmental centre, which has been attended by children and adults from across the borough since 1973, employed six members staff and received 10,000 children every year at its peak.

Cutbacks in 2012 saw Doncaster Council reduce the number of staff employed, and this year announced plans to close the study centre permanently.

Schools around the borough take children to the centre as part of the National Curriculum teaching in science, geography, history, physical and social development.

Pupils can visit for a day or use dormitories and tents for overnight stays.

The Austerfield community is looking into the feasibility of securing the future of the centre by setting up a social enterprise, in an effort to continue to offer environmental education to children.

Such a scheme would see the centre also used as a village community centre. A working group set up in Austerfield is continuing to discuss the situation to try to secure funding for the summer term and formulate a sustainable business plan.