AN OUTDOOR education charity which works with disadvantaged children has made an urgent appeal for funding.

Wide Horizons, which has a centre in Swanage, needs to raise £200,000 to avoid the axe.

The charity works with children and young people from highly deprived areas, youngsters with special educational needs and those facing other disadvantages.

However, charity bosses, -citing increasing financial difficulties following a decline in business and rising costs - have warned they are at risk of closure.

Wide Horizons chief executive Peter Rogers said: "Wide Horizons is rightly proud of the outdoor education it delivers in fun, challenging and exciting ways and the real benefits this brings to children's lives.

"We sincerely hope the public will get behind us to enable us to continue to deliver these opportunities to the most disadvantaged children."

Tens of thousands of youngsters have been given the chance to experience outdoor learning adventures in and around Purbeck because of the charity's Townsend Centre in Swanage.

In order to survive, charity bosses are already closing some of their centres in London, Kent and Wales.

A Wide Horizons spokesman explained: "Support from the local community is urgently needed to secure the future of the charity and keep the remaining centres open. Wide Horizons are aspiring to raise £200k which will help them to become a slimmer, fitter, more effective charity.

"All the funds raised will be used to continue to deliver life changing adventure experiences for children and young people who may otherwise miss out."

The Townsend Centre is visited by thousands of children and young people every year.

The centre, which celebrates its 90th birthday in 2019, was originally set up by the Bournemouth Rotarians and since then, groups of children have been visiting from as far as London, Kent, Surrey and the Midlands on residential trips as well as being used by local schools from Dorset.

You can help by visiting the Wide Horizons crowdfunding page at