A THREATENED outdoor education centre could be saved if community groups get the go-ahead to take over.

Dorset Scouts hope to take over the running of the Hengistbury Head education centre following the news that current operator Brockenhurst College is pulling out.

The college is currently in discussion with BCP Council about the future of the centre but users have already been asked to remove all their equipment before June 4.

The centre is already closed due to coronavirus restrictions and there are no plans to reopen it.

Scouts spokesman Brett Jones said: “Our local Sea Scouts have used the centre as a base for a number of years. Hundreds, if not thousands, of young people have developed a love of sailing and other water activities at the centre.

“The centre provides a unique facility for a wide range of water sports in an idyllic setting, with opportunities to train, have fun and obtain

qualifications – all within the safety of Christchurch Harbour.

“Everyone can agree that a facility like the Hengistbury Head Outdoor Education Centre has a positive effect on the physical and mental

wellbeing of our young people and the whole community.

“We have real experience of running a number of activity centres and campsites throughout Dorset. We see operating the Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre for the good of everyone in the community as a natural next step.”

The centre is also used by a number of adult groups including Bournemouth Outriggers Canoe Club, Hengistbury Head Adult Sailors Club, Pilgrim Bandits (Injured Servicemen) Charity, Pink Champagne (Breast Cancer) Dragon Boat Charity, Southbourne Canoe Club, 10th Mudeford Sea Scouts and 30th Bournemouth (Moordown) Sea Scouts.

All are represented by a users group, represented by Bill Howlett.

He said: “We were bitterly disappointed to learn that Brockenhurst College have decided to close Hengistbury Head Outdoor Education Centre. Many of our seven clubs will have to close if we are not allowed to continue to use the centre.

“Mental health is at the top of agendas at the present time and our members are at as much at risk as anyone else, particularly as many of them are recovering from life threatening illnesses. To be denied access to their favourite outside activities is unwise, to say the least.

“The Centre has also been providing invaluable support to adults and children with learning difficulties that cause serious behavioural difficulties. A couple of hours at the centre makes a huge difference and they do not now have access to this facility.”

Dorset Scouts are waiting for BCP Council to conclude discussions with Brockenhurst College but hope to enter into negotiations to take over the site in the near future.