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Education centre bids to make more friends
SUPPORTERS of an outdoor education centre near Oxford are getting together to give something back.
Staff and volunteers at the Hill End Centre in Eynsham Road, Farmoor, are forming a friends group to help develop the centre and the courses it offers.
The centre provides activities, training and other facilities for young people.
It has been open since the 1950s, and adults with fond memories of time spent there are among the volunteers.
Site manager Selby Dickinson said: “We are doing this in response to demand from people who want to get involved.
“It’s been going for a long time, and we have parents who turn up to drop their kids off and they tell us they remember coming here themselves. They have fond memories, and they want to give something back.”
He said volunteers could get involved with any aspect of the development of Hill End, from education through to the physical maintenance of the site.
He said: “There are lots of exciting opportunities for them to do things on the site – it could be anything.
“It’s 65 acres of the most beautiful Oxfordshire countryside and it’s right on Oxford’s doorstep.”
To find out how volunteers want to get involved, an evening at the centre is being planned for Thursday, February 28.
Staff and volunteers will gather at 5pm for tea and cake, a formal planning session will be held between 5.30pm and 6.30pm, and a light supper will be supplied afterwards.
Lesley Williams, from the Oxfordshire Outdoor Learning Trust, said: “Ultimately, we expect to establish the Friends of Hill End, but what format thatshould take will be open to debate.”
Jan Harding, a teacher at the centre, said extra pairs of hands would be very welcome.
She said: “The friends group is being formed to help support what we’re already doing and help us create a centre of excellence. “They can help us develop programmes and the site itself.
“The site is absolutely fantastic. The variety of wildlife we get here is brilliant for the children, who feel like they’re in the middle of nowhere when they come here.”
The Hill End Centre is managed and run by Oxfordshire County Council.
Directions and information are available online at oxfordshire.gov.uk, and anyone wanting to get involved is invited to turn up on February 28.